Hey there happy Kampers! As we progress throughout the semester we grow ever closer to November. November is a month on many things: Thanksgiving (and consequently Thanksgiving Break), Veterans Day, Daylight Savings time ends, and, of course, the general election. On campus, the Clinton interns have been doing an awesome job getting people to register, but along with the privilege of voting in Knox County and the greater Ohio electorate comes the responsibility of making informed decisions for ourselves and the other people who live here.While a lot of Kenyon students are informed on the details of the presidential election, many of us haven’t taken the time to investigate the other candidates who will be on the ballot come November. This article aims to give you some very basic information about some representative you’ll be voting for in November and give you a couple ideas about places you might continue your investigation.
Senatorial Race: Rob Portman (R) v. Ted Strickland (D)
Rob Portman – “Commonsense Conservative for Ohio”
Senator Rob Portman is the Conservative incumbent in this race. He’s a Cincinnati native and a small business owner who, along with his brothers, operates the Golden Lamb Inn in Lebanon, Ohio. Portman has been in Politics since 1993. He served in the House of Representatives for twelve years, worked as the United States Trade Representative, and is currently finishing his first term in the Senate. Portman sits on the Senate Committie on Finance, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Budget, and Energy and Natural Resources¹. According to his campaign website, the issues he cares most passionately about are promoting small businesses, curbing government spending, reducing energy prices, preserving the 2nd Amendment, repealing Obamacare, and protecting unborn lives². Senator Portman has also been a champion for the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 known as CARA. CARA, signed into law this July, is a governmental effort to curb the increasing rates of drug abuse and drug related death in America. To this end, the law dictates that prison focus on drug rehabilitation, increasing monitoring of those at risk, and increasing the availability of naloxone, a drug that can counter the effects of a heroin overdose³.
Ted Strickland – “Ted Strickland for Senate, Ohio’s Heart and Soul”
Ted Strickland is the Democratic challenger. Originally from Scioto County, Strickland grew up impoverished, but managed to stay in school and eventually became a prison psychologist. Strickland has had a long career in politics serving as a member of the House of Representative for ten years and one term as the Governor of Ohio. During his tenure as Governor, Ohio’s economy collapsed along with the rest of the country. In order to balance the state’s budget, Strickland depleted the state’s rainy day fund from 1 billion dollars to .89 cents. Some blame this on the circumstances of the time for this dramatic drop while others observe that Ohio’s losses were greater that of other states and blame Strickland¹. The main issues Strickland’s pushing in his campaign are job’s with good pay, safe schools and community, national security, retirement security, healthcare, energy, corporate dominance of the political process and higher education. All of these issues and his plans to rectify them are detailed at length on his campaign website².
Congressional Race: Bob Gibbs (R) v. Roy Rich (D) v. Dan Phillip (I)
Bob Gibbs – “Taking on Washington, Standing Up for Us”
Congressman Bob Gibbs is the conservative incumbent in this race. Gibbs is a longtime resident of Holmes county where he raised his family and operated his business Hidden Hollow Farms. He’s been involved in politics since 1993, first serving on the state level he has since served three terms in the United States Congress. He currently sits on the Agriculture and Transportation and Infrastructure Committees¹. Some of the most recent bills he’s authored include the “Recreational Lands Self Defense Act” and the “Correct the Safety Analysis Act”. The Recreational Lands Self Defense Act seeks to protect citizens right to hunt wild game near water resources development projects. The Correct Safety Analysis Act seeks to change the safety regulations for cars and other motor vehicles in order to ensure they’re safe. As of yet neither Bill has been passed into law.²
Roy Rich – “Fighting for Your Rights”
Roy Rich is the democratic challenger. Rich worked in law enforcement in Cleveland, OH for 35 years, retiring in 2009 at the Rank of Commander. He decided to run for office because he doesn’t believe in Congressman Gibbs opinions and last cycle Gibbs ran unopposed. His positions are very consistent with those of the Democratic platform. He believes in equal rights, livable minimum wage, protecting the environment, affordable higher education, and universal healthcare. While he is a gun owner, he believes in background checks for all gun sales.¹
Dan Phillip – “Get Our House in Order”
Dan Phillip is an Independent in the race. There isn’t all that much information about Phillip on the interweb, but I managed to find some information about him on his website and Facebook page. Phillip is a businessman from Ashland who notably founded the Transformation Network, a nonprofit organization that serves as an alternative to welfare. In office he intends to focus on reducing the deficit, returning the agency to his electorate and protecting public interest¹. He best articulates his plans on his Facebook page when he said he’d like to see Washington:
“Dramatically reduce regulations, reward people who work, congress must quit stealing social security and medicare from those who have paid into it, improve college graduation rates, reduce student loan interest rates and start promoting the great things America has accomplished for our country as well as hundreds of millions of people around the world. Thank you God… Oh one other thing, hate mongers – stop dividing people into factions and groups! We are Americans and together, we the people, all make up the United States of America².”
That was a lot of information, but what’s been presented here has barely scratched the surface of what these candidates credentials are or what they stand for. Moreover, it did not discuss the third party candidates for Senator or the many state and local officials up for election. Most of the information used in this article came from the candidates official websites, but there are a lot of other resources available that can give you even more information. Ballotopedia.org is an awesome place to start. Via your dorms address, the site will show you exactly what your ballot will look like come November and it provides you with a little bit of information about the candidates. For information about candidates who have held office, govtrack.us is an incredibly detailed recourse. This site will tell you all the bills the candidate has been involved in, what committees they serve on, and where their views fall on the political spectrum in relation to their peers. Finally, I recommend you investigate opensecrets.org. This site will tell you how much money is going into a candidates campaign and where it’s coming from. These are by no means your only possible resources for information, but merely a suggestion of where you might kick off your political investigative journey.
So Kenyon College, let’s make democracy happen in little old Gambier. Through contemplation and investigation we can raise our awareness of who the candidates are, what their term in office might look like, and what sort of a representative we’d prefer. In November your vote will matter so, whomever you choose to support, I urge you to cast it thoughtfully.