Ensuring we have a vibrant democracy means we need to have an engaged electorate, who feels their voice is heard and that their opinion matters. Ohio averages 52% voter turnout with highs near 70% in presidential years, and as low as 27% in non-presidential years. For comparison, most western democracies tend to have 77% turnout. There are several reforms that can ensure we are engaged in democracy:
Healthcare costs are going up far beyond the rate of inflation. The insurance industry is a profit motivated enterprise whose top priority is not ensuring someone gets the best possible healthcare, but making sure that insurance companies continue to make more money. There are a number of steps we can improve the overall health of Ohioans. This is also a point we could use to discourage young people from leaving the state.
We need to overhaul our tax structure to eliminate our regressive sales tax and convert that revenue into income taxes to ensure that the wealthiest among us pay their fair share.
We need to implement a sensible gun control solution as soon as possible. Guns were invented to kill people. While our constitution does permit us to bear arms, many seem to disregard the "well regulated" portion of the 2nd amendment. We need to a structure similar to what we have with motor vehicles, where every firearm is registered and gun owners are required to have a license which also requires the passing of a test. How many people need to die in a school, or outside a bar, or at a concert for gun owners to accept some inconvenience?
We need to ensure we are properly funding public education, and stop our failed experiments with for-profit charter schools that have just siphoned money from public education. We also need to recognize that while K-12 is important, we must also ensure affordable in-state tuition for Ohio colleges and universities, that we have sufficient trade school funding, and adequate training opportunities for adults whose careers are being automated away. Finally, we need to implement a universal publicly funded pre-K program for all children to ensure everyone has equal access to education.
Legalize. Regulate. Tax.
Finding the balance between an independent and unbiased judiciary vs an accountable judiciary has been a challenge throughout American history. Currently in Ohio justices must run for the office, which does hold them publicly accountable, but also requires them to raise significant amounts of money. Because a large volume of cash must be raised, this can cause their independence to become very questionable. The current "gold standard" is to have a commission with 3 lawyers elected from the state bar, 3 citizens selected by the governor and the chief justice who will chair the commission (AKA the "Missouri system"). This would hopefully achieve the proper balance of judicial independence and accountability.
We should move the administration of county parks from the judiciary to the county commissioners. A probate judge's term is 6 years long. This creates a lack of accountability that prevents the voice of voters being heard on something that can affect them regularly.
We need to repeal HB-6, which is one of the worst energy bills of the century. We need to stop subsidizing fossil fuels and focus on renewable energy and energy efficiency. There are also over 100,000 jobs in clean energy in Ohio, and to move Ohio forward we need to ensure that these jobs are kept and expanded. Also, to bring things local, climate change increases the risk of poor maple syrup production. If maple trees either produce less, or have a harder time surviving in our area, the industry we are famous for could be devastated.
We need to seriously reevaluate how we do police work, and what we expect our police forces to handle. Whether you are a Black or Brown individual, an immigrant fearful of being deported, or a rape victim fearful of not being believed, it is clear that police forces are failing the needs of arguably a majority of citizens who do not feel they are being served and protected.
Strong unions are key to both ensuring people make a fair wage and have safe working conditions. I will oppose all "right to work" laws, as well as any outsourcing of unionized government work to private corporations.
This pandemic has highlighted the need to ensure that we have broadband access everywhere in Ohio. We need to create a partnership with broadband providers to build out our infrastructure, which will both help those in need during this pandemic, and help Ohio compete for jobs and industry once the pandemic ends.
It's time to digitally broadcast all local meetings via the internet. The technology exists and is relatively cheap to both broadcast and store online. This allows those who cannot attend meetings in person to see meetings, and not necessarily be dependent on local press or meeting minutes which may not have information available promptly. This includes county commisioner meetings, township trustee meetings, and city councils.
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