Local Brewery Manager Calls out Ohio Republican Candidate Josh Mandel’s Shady Campaign Practices

Josh Mandel is a Republican running to become a US Senator for my home state of Ohio on what he describes as Pro-Trump platform. Over the past several months, I’ve watched as Mandel posts photos on social media of himself with service employees across the state as part of some sort of grassroots-looking campaign to make it appear as if he’s close to working class people.

And “close” is exactly what his pictures show. Typically the images involve Mandel hugging young women (who don’t always seem to be entirely comfortable with the arrangement) in the middle of a pandemic with no face masks on either of them. I don’t think I need to explain that part of Mandel’s pro-Trump position involves being outspokenly anti-mask. The overwhelmingly negative response from social media users has not at all dissuaded him from continuing to do this.

But maybe he’ll be pressured to stop, because this week, Mandel attracted attention when one of the owners of a local brewery “Inside the Five” in Perrysburgh, Ohio fired back at Mandel online after Mandel posted a picture on Twitter with one of the brewery’s employees who Mandel claimed came to work even though she was sick.

On August 24, four days later, brewery manager Jordan Nicole Veteto responded on Facebook, clearly frustrated about how Mandel represented his business. The following is posted from Facebook in its entirety, but I added paragraph breaks for readibility.

I’m exhausted. I’m exhausted from the public. I have debated sharing this or not, but after five days I have decided to. This post was NOT made by Inside the Five. Read the name at the top of the post. I will not say his name because he doesn’t deserve it. Do you know who this man is?

We, at Inside the Five (yes, I am the General Manager of the Perrysburg location) had no knowledge of who this man was, but we know him now. We did NOT ask for the post. We are NOT hiding anything. We do NOT condone sick employees working. ALL of our employees have signed the health department policy agreement when they were each hired. We take the safe and health of our employees and guests seriously. Our employees are not in fear of their jobs here. We do not penalize employees who call off sick. Employees have called off due to their children being sick and they are never penalized. We DO offer heath insurance to full time employees. Any employee who averages 35 hours weekly (in a world where we are short those willing to work, we have a lot of full time employees). Our employees DO have sick/vacation days they can take advantage of. This server came to work and began experiencing congestion. She was sent home BEFORE this went viral to be safe.

Have you ever woke up fine and started feeling congested in the middle of the day? I know I have. We have a shortage of kitchen employees, but our front of the house is staffed. This is an issue everywhere. We do our best to do the right thing at all times. I am proud to work at Inside the Five. I have been with the company since they opened in Sylvania in 2018. I have never worked for a company where the owners cared as much as Katie, Brandon, and Chris do. Our owners and their families are here for us, and in turn, we are here for them. They come into our restaurants and fill in when we need them to. We, at Inside the Five, are family. We genuinely enjoy what we do. I have been in the service industry since 2009.

The owners of Inside the Five have been the most amazing people to work for. You can believe what you want to believe. You can have your opinions. But understand, we WILL come back from this. We WILL continue to support our communities. We will do it all by keeping the health and safety of our employees and guests as top priority always. Remember, politicians and the media have their own agendas and will twist and turn and hurt anyone for their own personal gain. We have asked for this post to be removed and this man has ignored our request. We will not sink.

***EDIT*** this isn’t made to be a political post. Please, no back and fourth on politics. We are a small business trying to do the right things for and by our employees, guests, and community.

I find this to be a powerful and compelling message from a hard-working manager, as do many people I know in Ohio who have been sharing it today. Josh Mandel doesn’t think so. Mandel responded dismissively to Jordan on Twitter, accusing him of “giving into the woke mob.”

Ohio is hardly new to disgusting, exploitative politics by candidates from both parties. But this kind of dangerous, dismissive, and classist exploitation by a politician in my home state right in the middle of an incredibly difficult and ongoing pandemic makes me frustrated enough to highlight and preserve this moment.

Thank you for speaking up, Jordan. I can’t wait to visit your brewery next time I’m in town

And shame on you, Josh Mandel. You don’t deserve to win the seat you’re running for. It’s time for you to finally stop embarassing Ohio.

I study America’s immigration enforcement system. Assistant Professor at TRAC. Graduate of OSU Geography. Online at austinkocher.com.