OH Governor Primary Begins

Jim Renacci speaking at the We The People ConventionAll four expected GOP Governor candidates were agreed to come and were represented at a forum put on by the We The People Convention last month. They know the importance of gathering grassroots conservative support if their candidacy is going to go smoothly. Many of us are extremely disappointed in the current governor, John Kasich, regarding his one-sided Medicaid Expansion implementation, his dismissal of criticisms to Common Core, and his inability to promote party unity after the nomination of Donald Trump. Even those who did not support Trump in the primary eventually came around to voting for him, evidenced by his 8-point victory in Ohio despite the efforts of the governor and his party cronies. Three of the candidates had promotional videos to show, and while two of them featured President Trump, John Kasich was nowhere to be found.

On Saturday, June 24, three of the four candidates came in person to give an hour-long presentation on why they should be the next governor of Ohio. Lt. Gov Mary Taylor had a representative available who showed her video, but she was unable to attend due to a personal matter. The issue of her two 20-year-old sons’ heroin addiction has become public, and you can see an interview she has recently done for a Cincinnati news station where she talks about this and other topics. (http://www.wcpo.com/news/state/state-ohio/ohio-lt-gov-says-both-her-sons-are-in-recovery-for-heroin-addiction)

The other three candidates were able to make a 15-minute introduction, respond to five identical questions put forth by Tom Zawistowski of the We The People Convention, and then respond to random questions from the audience. Mike DeWine went first and talked about the governor’s job being that of leadership and management. He explained how he helped the Crime Lab to reduce it’s DNA identification time and also how drug addiction has effects beyond crime. Employers claim that they sometimes have difficulty find good candidates that don’t pass the drug test, and many children are in foster care because of their parents’ addiction. DeWine understands that one of the main attacks against him will be his age and extensive political experience. While acknowledging that he has been an elected official for decades, DeWine believes that this will only help him to be a better governor for the state of Ohio.

John Husted spoke next touting the spending cuts and greater efficiency of the Secretary of State’s office since he took over eight years ago. He is happy to be a “deplorable” in that he was raised with God and guns by a family that adopted him owing to the fact that his birth mother decided to carry her unplanned pregnancy to term. He sees that a strong work ethic is vital to a person’s success, but also there needs to be opportunities for employers to succeed. His home county has seen a 30% loss in income over the last ten years, a statistic not uncommon in many parts of Ohio. When President Obama said that Ohio and other states could not purge their voter roles in the manner they were doing it, he and other Secretaries of State filed a lawsuit which has worked it’s way up to the Supreme Court and will be heard in the next term.

Jim Renacci was the last to speak and he had a contingent of supporters at the event. He was one of the first Ohio elected official to endorse Donald Trump for President (going against the pressure to back Kasich) and he appears to have successfully tapped into the network of supporters who were actively working on behalf of the current president. Renacci began his life in Ohio as a CPA and a businessman, became Wadsworth’s mayor, ran an auto dealership that was subsequently closed after the Obama administration bailed out GM, and shortly thereafter won his seat in Congress in 2010. He touts his private sector experience as well as his “outsider” status in Columbus as reasons to support his candidacy. Renacci addressed what is likely to be his biggest hurdle in persuading conservatives to come to his side: his vote for the Maloney Amendment. This is popularly known as part of Obama’s transgender agenda, although the 42 Republicans who supported it have described it as a religious liberty bill. Renacci did the same when confronted with the question.

A couple weeks after the event, a survey was sent out to the attendees, and Jim Renacci was the favorite candidate with 61% of the vote, John Husted received 23% and Mike DeWine got 15%. Those who came to the event as Renacci supporters, were quite adamant as to their loyalty to their candidate and also identified themselves as early Trump supporters. No other candidate had that type of contingency as the remaining attendees were evaluating between two or three alternatives.

It seems from this early and grassroots-centered survey, as well as conversations with attendees and other Republicans, that 1) Renacci has the Trump support, 2) DeWine most strongly appeals to the established base, and 3) that leaves Husted and Taylor to fight it out among the constitutional conservative crowd. It’ll be an interesting campaign season.

Ohio Republicans Return Power to the Voter

People supporting a politician on a plank. Without the people, the politician will fall.For the first time in twelve years, Ohio Republican voters will decide their nominee for Governor. Before the Blackwell-Petro race of 2006, we have to go way back to 1986 to find the next contested Republican gubernatorial primary as the Ohio Republican Party leadership has chosen for themselves who should be in which statewide slot. Thanks to a new attitude in the Republican Party and under the leadership of Jane Timken, voters will pick the slate for the 2018 election.

The four expected Republican candidates for Ohio Governor were scheduled to appear last Saturday at the We The People Convention in Lewis Center, Ohio. Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor needed to attend to some family matters but hopes to reach out the attendees shortly, but the other three each gave presentations of about an hour. I will go over each of their speeches over the next week, but Attorney General Mike DeWine, Secretary of State John Husted, and US Representative Jim Renacci were all very well-received. They realize that the support of liberty-minded conservatives cannot be taken for granted in the election season.

In addition to the governor’s race, Ohio Secretary of State has two candidates, Frank LaRose and Dorothy Pelanda, as does the race for Treasurer, Clarence Mingo and Robert Sprague. Instead of having behind-the-scenes party leaders decide which pawn to place on which square, these candidates will have to persuade the Ohio Republican voters. This is a welcome development which hopefully ushers in a more welcoming engagement between the party and the people.

Costs of Citizenship

immigration and the lawOn Saturday, April 8, Totally Engaged Americans hosted former Ohio Representative Matt Lynch and Geauga County Commissioner Skip Claypool to discuss the ramifications of illegal immigration in Ohio. First of all, as conservatives frequently clarify but progressives never do, we are making a distinction between immigrants who are coming to this country through the legal process and those immigrants who are here unlawfully. In addition to that, this country has a problem with immigrants who have come here illegally and then who commit further crimes. In January, Rep. Jason Chaffetz had a notable observation during a House hearing.

The concern for many citizens in Ohio is the cost of illegal immigration as well as the integrity of the vote. The state of Ohio will grant a license to an undocumented resident, and with this license the person is unlikely to be questioned at the Boards of Elections. A recent audit found that over 300 non-citizens were registered to vote in Ohio (http://nbc4i.com/2017/02/27/ohio-secretary-of-state-investigation-found-non-citizens-registered-to-vote-cast-illegal-ballots/). This is a far different number than the stated “voter fraud never happens” claim that we hear so often.

As a state legislature, Lynch attempted to curtail some of these problems by preventing the state from issuing licenses to non-citizens. Despite a Republican-controlled legislature as well as Republicans in every state office, the legislation went nowhere. There is great social and political pressure to afford the voting privileges of citizens to those who simply reside in this state without having gone through the citizenship process. This pressure is felt by every officeholder in Columbus, including the three members of the Kasich administration (DeWine, Husted, and Taylor) who will likely vie for the 2018 gubernatorial nomination.

Ohio has another benefit for those living here as non-citizens: it provides discounted “in-state” tuition to Ohio colleges and universities. Of course, these discounts do come at a cost as Ohio tax dollars pick up the difference. If you add up the entire cost of illegal immigration, including the education, health care, and crime, Ohio costs total $1 billion each year.

With the new Trump administration, it is expected that a crack down on illegal immigration will come on a federal level. Two resources to consider when discussing upcoming policy changes are US 1373 and the book “Unfaithful Guardians.” The law stipulates in US 1373  that local governments must cooperate with federal officials when it comes to immigration policy. For those interested in the argument in favor of “sanctuary” cities, colleges, or states, you can read a proponent’s interpretation of this law (https://www.ilrc.org/sites/default/files/resources/fact_sheet_on_usc_1373_and_bja_funding_july_2016.pdf). Also Unfaithful Guardians is a book and website that explain the gradually encroaching of federal powers over state and individual sovereignty. It can become a tangled web when trying to discover why and how non-citizens began enjoying the rights and privileges of citizenship, but it is well worth the effort as the topic of illegal immigration will likely be very prominent in upcoming elections.

Stop the Sales Tax Rally

Sales Tax RallyIn the 10-degree cold on Friday afternoon, a rally was held outside of the Lorain County offices in Elyria to gather signatures to stop a .25% sales tax increase from going into effect.

If the commissioners felt they needed this raise, they could have made that argument to voters last fall before the tax was defeated by a 75-25 margin. If the commissioners were going to cut the sheriff’s office in this time when the heroin problem is increasing in the county, they could have persuaded many voters to support this tax increase in November. If Commissioner Lori Kokowski thought the sales tax wasn’t necessary before the election, what didn’t she understand about the Lorain County budget during her campaign? What will Commissioner Matt Lundy say during his campaign next year?

The problem many Lorain citizens have with this sales tax increase is the manner in which it was done. Opponents to the petition (who were also present at the rally, by the way) argue that the county government needs financing to do it’s job. That is not in dispute.

Sales Tax RallyThe half of the sales tax increase offered on Election Day was to go toward transportation initiatives. There were no cries of layoffs in the Sheriff’s Office, and certainly no effective communication strategy to explain this to voters. Again, Lori Kokowski initially OPPOSED the tax increase so what were voters supposed to think?

Voters are sick of politicians who campaign one way and then vote the opposite way once elected. The voters were asked to decide on the sales tax increase and given the information we had at the time, it was rejected overwhelmingly! How can we now trust the commissioners who don’t provide people with good information before the election and then suddenly decide to cut law enforcement after the election?

On Facebook, you can follow Citizens for a Better Lorain County to see petition signing locations across the area. These petitions will stop the sales tax increase so we can have the debate that we apparently should have been having throughout 2016. Do this quickly though, as signature sheets MUST be turned in by Friday, January 13.

Trump Takes Lorain County *UPDATED: Almost…

Lorain County City map for election

UPDATE: This was written before the official count, and when Lorain County added all of the provisional and absentee ballots, Hillary Clinton emerged the winner by 131 votes! Lorain County is still the type of county across the rust belt where voters flipped. In 2012, Barack Obama won by 20,000 votes and with a 56-42 margin. In 2016, Donald Trump eliminated that margin.

ORIGINAL: In the closest county race in Ohio, Donald Trump got about 400 more Lorain County votes, a difference of 0.28%, than did Hillary Clinton. Sen. Rob Portman also won the county, as did Rep. Bob Gibbs, not Rep. Jim Jordan (although he won his OH-04 district), State Rep. Nathan Manning and incoming State Rep. Dick Stein. Pat DeWine won the county on his way to the Ohio Supreme Court, and Stephen Evans was unopposed as Coroner.

Looking at the Lorain County map, first of all we have to understand that we are looking at a tie. Despite how red the county looks, we need to acknowledge the intense split between the rural and urban areas. This is not unlike state maps that we saw across the Upper Midwest states including Michigan and Wisconsin. Hillary Clinton only won seven of the 88 counties in Ohio, and they included some of the most populous. Similarly, Hillary Clinton won Oberlin by about 80% and and city of Lorain by near 70%. Elyria, another more populous area of Lorain County also saw a Clinton win although by a smaller margin.

Lorain County may have flipped in this particular election because of Trump victories in some swing areas like North Ridgeville, Sheffield Lake and Village, Amherst, and Vermillion. Additionally, there was an intensity not always seen with Republican victories in the villages and townships south of the turnpike (except for Oberlin, of course).

Unfortunately, the Trump coattails were not strong enough to carry other Lorain Republicans to a win. Connie Carr lost the County Commissioner’s race by about 3000 votes, a much closer race than has been seen during presidential election years. Krista Marinaro also came up short, as did Jessie Tower and Don Larson who were trying to win in districts which leaned heavily Democrat.

Many people within Totally Engaged Americans were quite active in their support for these candidates, and are looking forward to applying what we’ve learned to the next elections. Please join us for upcoming meetings and learn about conservatism and founding philosophies that make this country uniquely designed to protect – not grant – our liberties.

Hear from Trump, Portman Advocates

I Heart Voting buttonAs part of our Lorain County Candidate Forum in September, we were happy to hear from Tommie Patton for the Rob Portman campaign, and David Arrendondo, vice-chairman of the Lorain County Republican Party and advocate for the complete Republican ticket including Donald Trump. Lorain County hasn’t voted for a Republican presidential candidate since Ronald Reagan, but Donald Trump has stirred a lot of enthusiasm in both the rural areas as well as with some Democrats in the north. Rob Portman seems to have a more comfortable lead in the leads, but nothing can be taken for granted in this intense election cycle.

Rob Portman, Senate – Tommie Patton spoke of Portman as a common-sense conservative. He has been endorsed by the Teamsters, the Ohio Farm Workers, Fraternal Order of Police, NRA among others. He has worked on bi-partisan issues such as the Algae blooms in Lake Erie and the Addiction & Recovery Act which are important to many Ohio citizens. She finally reminded voters that the Senate confirms or rejects nominees to the Supreme Court and it is important for Republicans to hold the Senate.

David Arrendono spoke on behalf of the Republican ticket in 2016. Despite being a Rubio delegate and then a Ted Cruz supporter, Arrendondo is enthusiastically supporting Donald Trump for President. He cautioned against discord within the party by Republicans who are not supporting Trump by reminding everybody that judicial nominees and the entire Washington bureaucracy operates through direction of the President. The best way to promote a conservative agenda is to vote for Donald Trump.

We thank these advocates for giving their time on a Saturday morning to speak to our group. And to the reader… if you have read this far and watched the videos then you are one of the more engaged citizens in Lorain County. Please share this information and your thoughts with other voters and help our county become a more civic-minded community.

Wherever the people are well informed, they can be trusted with their own government.” Thomas Jefferson, 1789

Because the truth is, the country doesn’t need voters who have to be cajoled, enticed, or persuaded to cast a ballot. We need voters who wish to participate in the process.” Mike Rowe, 2016

Hear From Congressional Candidates

inside of CongressTotally Engaged Americans greatly appreciated the three congressional candidates who were involved in our Candidate’s Forum last month. Lorain County has three congressional districts: OH-04 is held by Rep. Jim Jordan and it stretches from western to the central part of the county; OH-07 is held by Rep. Bob Gibbs and the district goes from the southern through the eastern portion; and OH-09 is held by Rep. Marcy Kaptur and extends through northern Lorain County nearest the lake.

In attendance were Neil Lynch of Amherst speaking on behalf of Rep. Jordan; non-party candidate for OH-07 ,Dan Phillips; and Republican candidate for OH-09, Don Larson.

OH-04, Jim Jordan – Jordan has Economics and Law degrees before working in the Ohio House and Ohio Senate. In 2006, Jordan won election to Congress. Jordan believes in limited government so that individual liberties can be maximized, lower taxes because individuals and families can spend money better than Washington, and traditional family values.

OH-07, Dan Phillip – Phillip lives in Ashland and is founder of the Transformation Network which deals with workforce development and education in the midwest. This company does service work for manufacturers and then puts the money back into social services for the community. This company is fundamentally self-sufficient as the government should not be the first line of defense to solve local problems.

OH-09, Don Larson – Larson has spoken to our group before on environmental and energy issues, and he first pointed out the the most important office-holders in a person’s life should be the mayor and school superintendent. But unfortunately, the federal government has been taxing and spending the money earned by the American people. He advocates for a federal government that deals with federal, national issues and leaves the rest to local officials.

Again, we thank these candidates for giving their time on a Saturday morning to speak to our group. And to the reader… if you have read this far and watched the videos then you are one of the more engaged citizens in Lorain County. Please share this information and your thoughts with other voters and help our county become a more civic-minded community

Wherever the people are well informed, they can be trusted with their own government.” Thomas Jefferson, 1789

Because the truth is, the country doesn’t need voters who have to be cajoled, enticed, or persuaded to cast a ballot. We need voters who wish to participate in the process.” Mike Rowe, 2016