Category: Updates & Perspectives

Kim McCarthy: Some Post-Election Thoughts

Hello, fellow lovers of humanity in District 73!  The election results are in, and yes, it looks like we’re currently mired in the same political rut as before, and our vision for a more just and compassionate society did not come to fruition. But that’s OK, and I want to share a few of my thoughts about why that is.

Firstly, I want to admit something to you all.  This loss crushed me.  It may be obvious that I am pretty darn passionate about my fights for justice, and have been for many years now.  This passion is what drives me, and it’s what led me to step up and run for a seat that was considered completely unwinnable at a -30 electoral spread deficit for anyone on the Democratic ticket.  If I was going to take this huge step, I *had* to believe I could do it.  How else could I have found the motivation and energy to go out canvassing nearly every day for 5 months straight?  So, yeah, it’s going to hurt when the final results come in.  And it did.  But, I am emerging out the other side from that initial blow, and that’s what brings me here to share my thoughts.

Personally, running for this seat challenged me in ways I have never experienced before. The public speaking, the policy questions, the intense scrutiny, the online harassment, the candidate forums…all of it put me in places that were quite unfamiliar to me at times. The nerves and constant schedule, plus the daily canvassing, plus my job, plus raising my kids, plus the needs of my home…let’s just say, it maxed me out. 🙂 So right now, I am grateful to be in the process of unwinding, taking a breath, and remembering what I used to do with my time. 

Could I have really won this seat?  Perhaps not.  But I tell you, I *know* what people want, and it certainly felt like I could win based on the feedback I was receiving at the doors of swing voters.  Obviously, we were coming from a deep, deep hole, and while we clawed it back over 10 points, it was not enough.

But, what DID we win?  We received the highest percentage of votes for a Democrat in this seat in recent memory – 40.2% (and the highest percentage for candidates on the Democratic ticket in the district).  Nearly 20,000 votes, out of almost 50K.  We kept Perales from hitting even 60% (a low bar for Republicans in this district), his worst performance ever!

We got to talk to literally thousands of people throughout the campaign and share our vision of a community that invests in its people, not in its CEO’s.  We got to imagine what a district looks like that values education and how we can and should invest in it.  We shared our stories about our broken health care system, and discussed what a more inclusive one could look like.  We talked about how our student debt is preventing our young kids from starting their lives off in a position to actually succeed and thrive with that education.  We stood beside striking professors at Wright State University in solidarity with their mission. We sat with military spouses and together with them, devised how to bring a fairer system for them to be able to both personally benefit and serve their fellow citizens in Ohio. We did such a good job identifying the problem and devising the solution, that Mr.’s Perales, Butler, Turner and Hackett all stood together to much fanfare to take credit for it (That bill is gathering dust right now, FYI.)  I sat with school superintendents and learned of the dysfunction that exists in Columbus, and how that is having such a negative impact on their ability to effectively teach our young ones.

In other words, we got to talk about the REAL issues we face on a daily basis.  The incumbent, however, does no such thing.  Visit his social media and you’ll be subjected to a host of pictures from events, but there is ZERO talk on policy or on any of the issues the people of our working and middle class face each day.  He actually grew indignant with me more than once during our candidate forums, and challenged my statement that many of the people of our district are actually struggling to stay afloat.  Out. Of. Touch.  So yes, what a disappointment to those of us who wanted to be represented over the next two years.

Our campaign also managed to shatter all previous fundraising records by orders of magnitude, raising just over $60,000 from hundreds of invested individuals.  Our pledge to not accept any corporate PAC money seemed to inspire regular folks to give what they could, and it worked, as we raised enough money to do what we needed to do.  For that, I am proud and grateful, and encouraged that a progressive Democrat can generate that kind of support in Greene County.

We knocked on more than 17,000 doors, with me personally doing about half of that number.  It was brutal work, but oh so rewarding.  Thank you to those who welcomed me at their door.  I heard you.

I know I am probably supposed to congratulate him, but it’s hard to go there when I found each interaction with him becoming more aggressive and disrespectful as we went along.  He was obviously not used to having a challenger, and his resentment at actually having to step up and answer to my campaign was palpable.  At our first forum, he actually thanked me for stepping up, acknowledged what a difficult job it was, and tried to be respectful.  Two forums later, he was using his three minutes intro time to slam me, misrepresent my platform and speak untruths about me.  Telling the students at Wright State and other voters that his opponent was a “foreigner,” or that I was “not an American” was another strategy he employed that I heard about regularly from people.

Then of course, there was the spitefully xenophobic mailer that he sent out at the last minute.  It’s nice to know we actually challenged a scandal-plagued Republican incumbent to the point that he spent thousands of dollars on trying to counteract my message.  It was a lame attempt to discredit me based on my heritage, and I obviously laughed at it, but it’s hard to say what impact it had on voters.  I like to think that the two mailers I sent out at the same time were able to counteract some of his ludicrously gross rhetoric.

Stopping to note: I would really like to see better opportunities for opponents to actually debate.  To talk real issues and offer real solutions.  The forums are great and all, but their ability to show the clear differences between the candidates is limited.  Or they at least become at times relatively superficial. It was frustrating to hear the incumbent declare certain untruths with conviction, and then have little ability to respond  It would be great if candidates could converse, argue and debate points directly with each, to bring out much more context to our understandings and approaches to the issues for the voters to see.

So,  I offer Mr. Perales a challenge – learn about the large majority of your district that is outside the world of the military.  There are more than 12,000 people in your district who live in poverty (many of them veterans).  Your schools are in serious trouble.  Beavercreek’s levy failed, and you are responsible for school funding. You need to solve this serious issue.  And then, of course, there is Wright State.  Stand up for your faculty and your students, and help bring about a solution.  Oh, and ask the Governor to fire the trustees responsible for losing $100 million of our tax dollars.

That is why we need you.  We need you fighting for us and our education, our health care, our jobs.  We don’t need a representative who leads with easy platitudes and the low-hanging political fruit of “I’m a patriot.” As if anyone who challenges your political policies and positions (the few that you seem to actually publicly have) isn’t?  We want a representative who doesn’t resort to identity politics for cheap votes, but instead takes the time to understand what his constituents want and need.  And that is help with REAL life matters that are stopping people from reaching their full potential.  And frankly, after *yet another* mass shooting last night, I find your blanket support of more guns in more places abhorrent.  Another example, yet again, of you being out of touch with what people want.

Our country is in crisis.  Politically, socially, civically, economically.  Having a representative who leads with fear and identity politics is really dangerous right now. We don’t need leaders like Mr. Perales when he calls people who have a differing perspective on issues as being “suspect.” We need leaders to step up and have the courage to embrace love, not hate, and implement serious and proven economic policies that will lessen the burden that such a large section of our population is carrying right now.  But, it is what it is.  He has two more years (unless he moves on to his next political job so his party can appoint someone else to finish his term, giving that new person the advantage of the incumbency.  It’s what they do.) and we are watching.   What we *can* do is hold him responsible for his actions, or lack of them, when it comes to his constituents and their needs.

To that end, I will continue on with our community-based efforts,  particularly though our grassroots group, Greene County Progressives.  We are a passionate group of regular people who have been working for the past two years to advance more progressive ideals in Greene County.  We have been building infrastructure, developing networks, and connecting with like-minded voters in a way to get them more involved.  We follow issues that affect us here, and we act on them when appropriate.  We smile and laugh together, and we do the grunt work of building a society that works for more than just the wealthy elite.  And we welcome YOU to join us.  We always need more voices and input.   We will formulate our strategy going forward at these monthly meetings (1st Sunday of each month, 4pm in Xenia).  Please like our page and join us!

This fight is far from over.  If you liked what you heard from our campaign, I encourage you to stay connected, and in fact, I would go further and say come out from behind the computer screen, and join us December 2nd.  We can’t make change so many of you have told me you want without enough people involved.  We need you.  Please consider becoming part of our team!

I will continue to post on this site, on our Facebook page and Twitter, sharing updates on issues that directly affect the business and concerns of our District 73, and the actions of our political representatives in general.  I will realign more of my focus again on the Greene County Commission meetings, because these give great insights into where Columbus is letting our communities down.  Those weekly meetings are Thursdays 1pm in Xenia, so I welcome you to attend these, as well.

I want to thank every last person who I encountered on this incredible journey.  Your support and kind words of encouragement really did give me the energy needed to keep up the brutal pace for so many months.  Even the haters – you gave me something to laugh about as I fell asleep each night… may you find peace!  😉

To my fellow women candidates – Theresa, Susan, Cyndi, Anne… being on this crazy trip with all of you made it SO much more enjoyable, and I thank you for your support and friendship. Your strength and courage was inspiring to me!  I refuse to let any of you disappear from my life!

To the 40.2% of voters who put their faith in me – thank you.  I promise you your support was not in vain, and that I will carry that encouragement with me, and forward with you, in the coming days ahead.

To my amazing and incredible inner team – I salute each of you.  Dorothee, Kevin, Andy, Larry, Tana, Jordan, Dave, Ryan, Marylin, Susan, Ed, Jim, Gary, Jim, Mark, Terry, Mike, Brian, Shawn.  You survived Kim under pressure, some of you more so than others, and for that, you have my eternal devotion.  We did amazing things, and I look forward to doing more of that in the future with you.

To my family – my three beautiful children – Arden, Simon and Julian.  Thank you for the sacrifices you made, and for all of your love and support of what I have been trying to do here.  May my service inspire you to make your own path of goodness in the world as you grow!

We fell short this time, but our campaign, with your help and support, opened up important conversations about many serious issues that our great state of Ohio is facing.  I will forever be grateful that I was able to step up and offer people a vision of what we could be – a more cooperative and just society that focuses on putting people first.  Our first seeds have been planted.  Thank you.

Rick Perales’ Mystery Money – Fails To Comply With Campaign Finance Reporting Requirements

Our campaign has to comply with the Secretary of State’s office with regards to campaign finance laws. Basically, we have to disclose all income coming in, and all expenses incurred. Our most recent filing deadline was just last week.

Upon examination of my opponent’s reports for this period, I found that in his official Expenditure report, he has listed approximately 40% of his entire expenses under the classification of “Reimbursement.” These amounts represent checks he has paid himself from his campaign funds. There is no other detail regarding these payments. The legally required accompanying receipts and documents as to these expenditures are all missing. So it is unclear what these funds have been spent on. As a professional accountant, I know that this is an unacceptable classification for an expense, and the fact that it makes up such a large proportion of total expenses is yet another reason for concern.

I reached out to the Ohio Secretary of State’s office for clarification on this, and I was told that this classification was indeed too vague, and outside of the rules. They said that when the report is audited, my opponent’s campaign will be asked for clarification and to provide documentation to support his claims — at some point over THE NEXT YEAR.

So I guess when Mr. Perales recently stated publicly that “if anyone has any issues, problems, questions,” regarding his campaign finances, that “It’s all out there. We have visibility,” he was not being entirely forthcoming.

Meanwhile, my opponent gets to examine my campaign and see every last detail of my expenses, because our campaign strives for public transparency of money in our politics, while you and I do not get that same option in regards to his financial activities. In contrast, my Treasurer is a dedicated and detail-orientated individual who has worked hard to be in complete compliance with election law at all times. You will see the results of her efforts in our lodged reports.

Mr. Perales likes to claim repeatedly that I am not experienced enough for this job. Apparently, he is not experienced enough even after 16 years in public office to know how to properly lodge his reports with the required transparency. If the experience he claims I’m lacking is in how to appear deceptively vague in one’s financial accountability, or in how to lodge reports that look like they’ve been completed by amateurs, then he can keep that experience for himself.

It should be reiterated these reports are not optional. They are required both by law and by the basic standards of an open and democratically accountable government. Mr. Perales has chaffed at my campaign’s ongoing emphasis on focusing on the sources of where money comes and goes in politics, insisting that he’s not influenced by money. “I’m not going to do anything different if you give me money, and that’s what’s alleged here.”

That very well may be the case, but the principles of American governance are not founded upon the idea of simply trusting power to do the right thing, but holding those with it to a higher standard of accountability and transparency.

And it is not just my opponent’s report filings that are questionable, but he also openly and consistently solicits donations to “cover expenses fulfilling the duties of State Representative.” Now this may be technically legal, but it seems highly inappropriate at the very least to have one’s campaign fundraising configured in a way that could very easily be utilized as a pay-to-play slot machine for the purchasing of political favors. Mr. Perales also states that he will use contributions “in a responsible and efficient manner, as if it was my own money.” Considering he’s using so much of it as personal and unaccountable “reimbursements” to himself, I guess that’s literally the case.

Mr. Perales asserts that “anyone out there that knows me, knows that I am not influenced by money.” That may be the case, but as a public official it is not about having the confidence of the people who personally know you, but of the mass majority of your constituents who don’t. The fact of the matter is that, thanks to the lack of proper disclosure in his reports, we can’t tell one way or another. As President Reagan once famously insisted, “Trust, but verify.” For it is from behind this kind of lack of transparency where the cancerous rot of corruption takes seed.

Oh, and while we are talking campaign finance, on the other side of the ledger, it was inspiring to see that we have had over 200 individual donations to our campaign during the last reporting period. Mr. Perales had less than 100, with a number of them coming from corporate PACs. In fact, we have received during this campaign donations from well over 300 different people, almost three times as many as my opponent, with many of his being from corporate PACs.  A HUGE THANK YOU to those of you who have chosen to support our campaign financially! We have broken all existing fundraising records for candidates for this office by orders of magnitude, and we couldn’t have done it without your help! And I will gladly show you where we have spent your money. Every last cent.

You will find my complete financial disclosures, as well as Mr. Perales’ deficient ones on the Ohio Secretary of State’s website:
https://www.sos.state.oh.us/campaign-finance/search/

Our state government has become infested with one corrupt pay-to-play scam after another. There is a reason why Ohio, after decades of one party rule by Mr. Perales’ party, has gotten such terrible rankings when it comes to public accountability….

Ohio Gets D+ Grade in 2015 State Integrity Investigation (A struggle to obtain public records from state officials)

Enough is enough. It’s time for a new direction.

Once again, the choice becomes clear. A vote for me is a vote for open and honest government, and for representation that will fight against the culture of corruption plaguing our politics, not enable it.

VOTE KIM this November 6!

Privatizing Telecommunications at the Expense of Public Safety

One of the issues my campaign is focused on that doesn’t get a lot of attention, especially from the incumbent, is regarding telecommunication policy. Ohio, like so many other GOP-controlled states, has seen constant moves to ‘deregulate’ these vitally essential services. Done in the name of increasing “competition” and lowering prices, it almost always has the complete opposite effect.

A more troubling impact of these deregulatory policies isn’t just one consumer pricing, but with public safety. Telecommunications is not a consumer luxury. It is a vital necessity to the workings of our modern society, and no more so than in times of emergency.

We’ve seen the tragic consequences when these services are ‘deregulated’ and privatized, to operate based on the wants of corporate profits rather than the needs of our public citizenry. The elimination of Net Neutrality by the GOP and Trump administration already saw its first casualties when California first responders had their networks shut off by a private, for-profit corporation while they were in the midst of fighting historically widespread fires, all because that company wanted to make some more money.

“Verizon Throttled Fire Department’s “Unlimited” Data During Calif. Wildfire (Fire department had to pay twice as much to lift throttling during wildfire response)”

The situation in Florida with Hurricane Michael has become even more stark, as the GOP’s deregulation of its state telecommunications systems have left thousands stranded and out of contact with safety and rescue efforts.

Donald Trump’s Republican FCC chair is also working to drastically curtail, if not eliminate, the essential Lifeline program, created by the Reagan administration, which helps connect poor and marginalized communities to vital telecommunications services, and has proven essential in times of emergencies in the the past, including saving lives during Hurricane Katrina.

“Cutting Off Communication For Puerto Rican Hurricane Victims Is Just Cruel”

As telecommunications policy expert Harold Feld explained in a recent interview regarding on how “GOP Telecom Deregulation Haunts the Florida Panhandle Recovery After Michael” , Trump’s FCC is also eliminating the regulations that were put into place after the disastrous performance by Verizon in providing necessary communications services after all the copper land lines were swept away by SuperStorm Sandy.
 
And yet, as Feld describes, like Florida, “some 37 states have lifted similar decades-old telecommunications requirements, thanks to legislation encouraged by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a privately-funded partnership between major corporations and (mostly) Republican state lawmakers…The Republicans’ deregulate-at-all-costs efforts…may now be costing lives in Florida, as many in rural areas, as of late last week, remained unaccounted for, weeks after the storm.”

Unfortunately, here in Ohio, the ideology of my opponent and his party is to continue this deregulatory process. This is a dangerously reckless path, as the recent tragic examples in Florida and elsewhere have made clear. For what my opponent calls “eliminating burdensome regulations” is just corporate lobbyist-speak for doing away with the PROTECTIONS we as citizens need from having a Hurricane Sandy or Florida-style telecommunications disaster happen to us.

This is why it is so important that we have *good* government. A government that is not beholden to a few corporate special interests, but is one that works for the public’s needs and interests. As Abraham Lincoln so astutely noted, there is a reason we have government, and it is to do the things we can’t do on our own…

‘The legitimate object of Government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do at all, or cannot do so well, for themselves in their separate and individual capacities.”

There are few realms more in need of Mr. Lincoln’s dictum than in our internet and telecommunications services. We can’t run our own internet, our own phone service, our own public safety networks. We rely on a vast interlinked technical infrastructure, and we jeopardize our safety and security when we allow a small handful of private corporations to control those networks in the name of personal profit over public need.

We’ve seen the tragic results of this. When I’m in the Statehouse I won’t be taking money from these corporate lobbyists like my opponent does. I’ll be fighting them when they try to turn Ohio’s telecommunications networks into their private cash machine at the expense of the safety and well-being of Ohio’s citizens. What has been happening in Florida, in California, in Puerto Rico, and elsewhere when it comes to these vital services, will NOT be happening in Ohio if I have anything to do with it.

Let’s have policies and protections that put the needs of People First!

VOTE KIM McCARTHY for your Ohio State Representative
Election Day – November 6th

Helping Our Schools Get The Representation They Need

As part of my candidacy for this state representative seat, I have made it a point to sit down with as many local elected officials and stakeholders as possible, so as to better understand their needs and the nature of their relationship with the state. Meeting with the four school superintendents of District 73 (Bellbrook, Beavercreek, Fairborn, Yellow Springs) as well as administrators from the Greene County Educational Service Center, revealed much to me about what those current relationships are like, and what I could do, as the next State Representative, to make them better.

Over and over, I listened to them share their stories and ideas on how they are striving to improve the learning conditions for our children, as well as the struggles and impediments they face in accomplishing that. We really are fortunate to have such dedicated and passionate leaders, as they help guide our districts into the future. The way they are able to make do with what they are given is an incredible testament to them, and as a mother of three school aged children, I am grateful for their continued leadership under less than ideal conditions.

Of all the stories and insights shared with me, perhaps the one that most sticks out is one that a local school superintendent shared with me. He had been asked by a state lawmaker to read over a 200 page bill and to provide him with his appraisal of the bill, with less than a day’s notice to do it. This superintendent spent nearly 3 hours that evening looking over the bill, and reported back to the lawmaker his opinion, that this was *not* a good bill, and it would not be effective at addressing the issues it claimed to be resolving. The response he received back? He was thanked for spending so much of his personal time on it, but unfortunately, this lawmaker was going to have to vote for it anyway, because he had already promised the author of the bill his vote, in exchange for their vote on a bill of his own that was coming up.

This is what a broken system looks like, one that ensures that our laws are not going to be beneficial for those whom they claim to be for. This is not, nor should not, be how our democracy is supposed to work.

Our schools and our kids deserve our full attention. My opponent likes to continually lament the proportion of the state budget that is dedicated to our children’s schools. Since the constitutional mandate to provide “a thorough and efficient system of common schools throughout the state” belongs to Columbus, I would think that the education of our children should rightfully so be THE priority of our Statehouse. It should not be used as a mechanism for balancing a budget, just because our teachers don’t have the high-powered lobbyists that are available to other industries.

There was definitely an overall high level of frustration that I sensed between the administrators, and the lawmakers in Columbus. As someone long active in community affairs, I know that the wealth of knowledge regarding any particular issue is going to be found on the front lines, with those who show up every day and do what needs to be done.

When I am elected, I will work to offer our school administrators and educators the respect that they deserve. I will continue to listen to their experiences and use them to help form policy, as opposed to pushing laws from an office far removed from any classroom, without regard to those who have to enforce these new rules on a daily basis.

Wright State, Wrong Leadership

This past Friday morning, October 19th, I attended the first public meeting of the Wright State University Board of Trustees for the 2018/19 school year. The room was packed with members and supporters of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), all there to speak up on their position in regards to their ongoing contract negotiations with the administration. I was proud to sit amongst the leaders of not just the AAUP, but also the AFL-CIO, as they attempted to avert a possible labor strike that could cripple WSU if allowed to occur.

Three women ultimately spoke directly to the board on behalf of the faculty during the meeting, and each delivered an impassioned and straight-to-the-point speech that made it quite clear a line has been drawn. Tenure as a bedrock for maintaining the integrity of institutions of higher learning is not up for negotiation. Any  attempts to weaken the academic mission of the university will not be tolerated. How impressive it is that these professionals are willing to stand strong against these attempts to weaken their ability to effectively educate our people! Wright State is the hub of innovation in District 73. We must keep its standards high, and we must not allow our educational institutions to fall victim to attempts to corporatize their mission. Having a board of trustees that are business people, and not educators and academics, is an invitation for disaster. And nowhere is that more evident than what we’ve seen happen right here at WSU.

I also found it very interesting that there were NO Greene County elected officials at this extremely important meeting. Their Democratic counterparts from Montgomery County were in attendance, though. How is it that these officials from the neighboring county understand how important this institution is to our future, when our own Greene County Republican officials cannot?

The choice is clear. Democrats work for you. They work for your schools and for your future. For OUR future. These Republicans work for themselves. They work to break up unions and weaken labor and environmental protections, all the while undermining our institutions of education at seemingly every turn. One only has to look at what has happened to Wright State over the previous eight years under Republican state control, to say nothing of the precipitous slide in in the quality of Ohio’s public education system over that same period, to know where my opponent’s party’s priorities lie.

I stand with the hard-working faculty at Wright State, and supporting them and the needs of the students they serve. I demand that those who created this financial disaster be punished for that mistake, and it not be taken out on the people who make WSU what it is, people who had nothing to do with creating the mess in the first place. We must put people first.

Watch Video of the meeting 


Dayton ABC 22Now News Report on the meeting

Cox Media Group Voters Guide – Kim McCarthy Questions & Answers

Cox Media recently asked a series of questions of local candidates for publication on their various media outlets, including the Dayton Daily News, WHIO TV and Radio, the Springfield News-Sun and the (Butler County) Journal-News.

Cox Media Group Voters Guide

The following are those questions, and Kim McCarthy’s responses in full….

What are the two biggest challenges facing the state and how would you deal with them?

Arguably the two biggest challenges are 1) The unaffordability of healthcare and prescription drugs and 2) The growing inequality within our society. Regarding healthcare, expanding and protecting Medicaid is not enough. We need to move to an expanded Medicare For All system that allows all Ohioans to invest in their health. Because it costs us, workers and employers, too much not to do so. Bad healthcare leads to health problems going from bad to worse, to medical conditions that only get more expensive to treat, unnecessarily costing us even more. Switching to Medicare For All provides opportunities for the state to negotiate drug prices in bulk, keeping costs down for the taxpayer, and relieves employers of the burden of managing workers’ access to health care.

Income inequality is another issue that is critical. The stock market might be booming at the moment, but that doesn’t help the 70% of American workers now living paycheck-to-paycheck, or the 40% of Americans who report being unable to meet an unexpected expense. This is Ohio’s reality: our state has shamefully slipped below the average median ranking in a dozen different national economic performance categories. Ohio’s lawmakers have switched Ohio’s taxation from income and capital gains taxes more onto sales and property taxes that unfairly burden the working and middles classes and fixed income seniors, and have made Ohio one of only six states that have no corporate income taxes. These changes have damaged the ability of local schools, municipalities, and counties to do their jobs, including trying to meet all of the state-required unfunded mandates, including high stakes testing in schools. The result is that our schools and local communities continually have to keep coming back to the voters asking for property tax money to fulfill those responsibilities. It’s time for those who have gained the most from living in Ohio, the wealthiest of individuals and corporations, to pay their fair share.

What would you do to bring jobs to Ohio? Do you support JobsOhio? What changes would you make to it?

JobsOhio, according to its newest annual report, used $1.15 billion last year to create 32,200 jobs. This means they spent $35,714 for each job, and created only .015% of new jobs in the US in 2017. The Columbus Dispatch found that 34 JobsOhio employees get six-figure salaries, while Ohio has dropped to 33rd in the nation in job growth. JobsOhio is a wasteful scheme that pays a few people very well with public money. To create jobs we must change the tax code and put more money in more hands, to drive up consumer demand, which is what really builds the economy. The disastrous supply side theory has failed. We must provide statewide Medicare For All, to free business from the crushing cost of private health insurance. This will let employers hire more people and pay them better. As an experienced small business owner, I know the burden employer based health insurance puts on business, and the relief Medicare for All would provide employers and workers.

Ohio must invest in education to create and keep good jobs. We need more people with the skills to fill 21st century jobs. Relief from Ohio’s worst-in-the-nation student debt is essential to our future. This huge debt keeps people from supporting local economies, damaging growth in communities. We can create jobs by updating Ohio’s infrastructure, making high speed internet available and accessible statewide. Affordable high speed broadband helps local economies; its availability stimulates investment. Just as we invested in electrification and built the economy a century ago, we need world class internet to compete economically now. This means open platform internet with net neutrality, not one controlled by a few corporations who would play favorites. World-class internet attracts high tech and green jobs, and helps small businesses compete with big corporations. We need more small local employers. They often offer better, more satisfying jobs for workers, and are more committed to communities, since they actually live in them. We must work with one of our region’s most important assets, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, to develop green tech. The Base is vital to our government’s R&D and plays a key role in national security. As Defense Department reports make clear, climate change is a serious threat to national security. Confronting it with the creative and tech assets of our region, partnering with the Base to find answers to our problems, can be a huge economic driver and can place Ohio at the forefront of global environmental sustainability.

21 states have passed minimum wage increases since 2014. What do you think the minimum wage should be in Ohio?

I can’t say what an exact number would be for Ohio, as I would need more research to better determine that. But many studies have shown that at least $15 an hour is needed for a person working a full time job to support themselves and their families. However, figures that may be relevant for one state, say a Washington or California, states with different costs of living, are not going to be the same as for Ohio. One thing I do know, however, is that the current minimum wage is inadequate and definitely needs to be raised. Raising the minimum wage would not just help the needs of those individual employees, but would help support the wider economy by putting more money in the hands of working and middle class families, money which will be spent on food, medical expenses, and the purchasing of a whole range of consumer goods and services from local businesses. The evidence is in that raising wages doesn’t depress local economies, but rather it stimulates them, thus resulting in more jobs.

What is your plan for resolving concerns about the skills gap many Ohio business leaders complain about?

I’ve already touched on some of this in my earlier answer regarding how to support job growth in our state. I also address some of the core issues involved with this in my answers regarding improving our educational system, since those remain a key factor towards bridging that gap. Investing in education locally and on a statewide level is a major key towards enhancing Ohio’s ability to create and retain good quality jobs. We need more people with creative and critical thinking and learning skills to fulfill the requirements of the jobs of the 21st century. Leaving Ohio’s massive student debt problem unaddressed is a serious impediment towards encouraging students to want to invest themselves here in Ohio into the education and training necessary to meet the needs of the jobs of tomorrow. We need a public educational system that incentivizes this kind of investment, not deters it. We also have to work with business and industry in understanding and preparing for the needs of the next generation, as most of the jobs of the future don’t even exist yet. We need an educational system that prepares our students to be more adaptable than any previous generation for living and thriving in a new world of change and progress.

Ohio has consistently cut income taxes over more than a decade. Do you support further reductions or increases in the state income tax? Why?

Reinforcing what I’ve already elaborated on in my earlier answer to the first question, I do not support further cuts in income taxes, and strongly support a fair tax code where everyone pays their fair share. ‘Trickle down’ supply side economics is a demonstrable failure, and continuing to pursue these kinds of economic policies in the face of the facts at hand is a fool’s errand. (What was that again, about the definition of insanity?). By reduction of income taxes on the wealthiest, Ohio has shifted the tax burden onto sales and property taxes, affecting our hardest working citizens and our seniors, while at the same time cutting the legs out from under the ability of our schools, health departments, counties and cities to carry out the duties they are REQUIRED to fulfill by the state.

Should Medicaid expansion continue or not? Under what restrictions?

Medicaid expansion definitely needs to continue. It’s been a good thing in that it has provided access to healthcare to over 725,000 Ohioans who had not previously had coverage, including over 70,000 veterans. Frankly, healthcare for our citizens should not be a political issue. Disease does not recognize class or political affiliation. Untreated infectious diseases threaten us all. Untreated medical conditions become more serious and much more expensive to treat, eventually costing all of us. Uncompensated health care means that doctors and hospitals have to increase their charges to insured or directly paying patients. It is this cycle which is why we end up with $25 dollar aspirins, and an overnight stay in a hospital costing more than a luxury cruise.

So yes, it is a good thing – but it is not enough. To really solve the bulk of our healthcare accessibility and affordability problems, we need a Medicare For All, single payer insurance system (akin to what every other industrialized nation in the world has). Such a system has been shown to demonstrably reduce costs and improve outcomes, particularly in comparison to our current system, which is by far the most expensive in the world, and yet has middling to below average health benefit outcomes for the money spent.

Heroin and opiate addiction have become a major issue in the state. The death tolls are rising and more families are impacted. What ideas do you have to deal with the crisis?

First off we need to be sure that Medicaid expansion continues, if not an actual Medicare For All system, so that we have the medical and counseling tools to help those in need, as well as defend our communities from ravaging effects this epidemic is causing. A Medicare For All health insurance system would provide patients more options to treating their afflictions than just drugs. Also, medicinal marijuana has been shown to be an effect treatment for opioid addiction. This should be made available to those in need of treatment. Secondly, we need to move the fight against opioids out from the criminal system and into the realm of public health treatment. Criminalizing addiction is not helping solve the problem. We throw way too many people into prisons, but no matter how many people are incarcerated, the drug problems in society continue on unchanged. Incarceration is extremely expensive and simply throws good money after bad. We also need to recognize what are some of the social and economic causes for this rampant epidemic of addiction. It’s not a stretch to see how a sense of hopelessness in the face of the lack of opportunities and good jobs in the midst of communities gutted out by deindustrialization, inescapable debt among many, etc, can leave people feeling there is no recourse out from their situations, leaving them to turn to pain-numbing escapism through drugs.

K-12 education in Ohio is all over the place when it comes to success. There are very successful public schools and failing ones. What ideas do you have to improve education in Ohio?

We need to be far less dependent on these current ‘teaching to the test’ practices, which is empty education. All students learn is how to take tests, and not the permanent learning skills for the kinds of creative and critical thinking they will need to manage and thrive in the future. After all, most of the jobs of the future don’t even exist yet, and our students will need to be more adaptable to living in a new world than any generation before us. This is also why our educational institutions should be working more closely with those in business and industry in regards to how some of our curriculum is directed. We also need to change our policy of threatening schools with state takeovers, or be undermining them by moving students to charter schools and as a result, taking yet more money from them instead of providing the needed support. One only has to meet with school administrators and teachers like I have to understand that no school system wants to poorly serve its students. Teachers very much want their students to succeed. We need to show those districts and those teachers that their efforts are appreciated, and we should be working with those that are struggling, often through little fault of their own, rather than being quick to place the blame on those on the front lines of this effort.

How do you feel about the current system of ranking schools based on test performance? Performance on statewide tests consistently show that districts that serve affluent communities perform better than those with high concentrations of poverty. How do we improve educational outcomes for all students regardless of wealth? And how do we hold districts accountable in a way that doesn’t just measure wealth?

For thirty years citizens and our state courts have viewed our responsibility to fund schools as a joint one, to be managed equitably regardless of the wealth of the district. As long as the local property tax is the main funding source for our schools, we will never solve the problems of equal opportunity for students throughout the state, in which educational opportunity (and often the resulting performance outcomes) is based on where they happen to live. I am in agreement with the Ohio Supreme Court rulings insist that schools no longer be funded primarily by property taxes, and that there should be a more equitable statewide distribution of funds. All the while I believe that we should still allow more well-to-do localities the ability to improve themselves as they choose over a requisite baseline. Resources for our schools would be improved as well through readjusting our current tax code in ways I’ve talked about in earlier answers, and by stopping the drain of vast amounts of public money through the lack of accountability of charter schools.

Some argue the best way to close race- and income-based achievement gaps is increased funding for preschool programs. The group Groundwork Ohio argues that a child’s academic preparedness entering kindergarten is one of the greatest predictors of his or her success, yet preschool funding gets 6 percent of what the state spends on higher education. What are your thoughts on this? Do you have other ideas on how to improve kindergarten readiness for children, especially low-income children?

This all goes back to my points shared in previous questions regarding our school funding and support issues. As much as I’m obviously for comprehensive and quality learning for our children, the effectiveness of these pre-school early learning programs is negated if we simply move these children into school systems that are suffering due to lack of resources and educational opportunities, thanks to current inequalities in our school funding system in our state. These are also services that tend to be needed more in communities and districts that are less affluent, where the parents of children are less able to be in a position to support the early educational development of their children. Solving the bigger picture regarding the issues of school support are the way to better support these kinds of pre-K initiatives.

What is your position on school choice? What role do you think charters and private schools should play in the educational landscape?

The Ohio Constitution requires our state to fulfill its responsibility of funding “a thorough and efficient system of common schools throughout the state.” Charter and private schools are two very different things and play very different roles in our overall system of education. For instance, communities have water systems that are paid for by public funds and private funds. Citizens can choose to use the water from their public water supply or can purchase water from other sources. If a person decides to drink bottled water that is their choice, but the public water system remains for everyone else. In the same way, private schools can provide a valuable measuring stick to evaluate public schools, but they do not compete against the public system by draining tax dollars from them. Charter schools are not the same. They DO drain money from the system. They are also subject to some pretty hit or miss supervision, as well as performance and financial oversight, as the infamous ECOT debacle demonstrates. That failed endeavor was politically promoted and protected by my opponent’s party for years, as they funneled over $1 BILLION dollars of Ohio taxpayer money into this collapsed enterprise of corruption and cronyism.

How does Ohio need to improve higher education and deal with affordability and attracting students?

Back in 1870 with the founding of land grant colleges like the Ohio State University, the idea was to make higher education available to all by providing low or free tuition. This is the idea we need to work our way back to. By using our public community colleges and universities as a base, we can move towards markedly reducing tuition, and thus dramatically expand the talent base here in the state, making Ohio a much more attractive place for innovative industries. We here in the Dayton area are living proof of how this can make a difference. Charles F. Kettering, who came off a family farm in central Ohio, was able to earn an engineering degree at a very low cost, and he changed Dayton and all of America because of the opportunity that gave him. As the saying goes, education doesn’t cost, it pays. Or as a popular bumper sticker notes, “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.”

What makes you more qualified than your opponent(s) to hold this office?

I’m more qualified than my opponent because I am in touch with what people need in District 73. I have spent years on the ground, looking into the issues we face, organizing people to demand more and hold elected officials accountable for their decisions. I know how to listen and how to empathize with others, and put myself into their shoes. It helps me see the bigger picture, and it helps me, together with the involved parties, come up with a solution that meets the needs of the problem.

Having run a small business in Greene County for more than 20 years, I know what it takes to be successful, and I know what kind of impact the state has on a business’s ability to be successful. I know what it’s like to have employees. I know what it’s like to motivate and lead. My hands on approach, where I treat each person as the important individual that they are, helps bring solutions to the front. My accounting background gives me the fiscal skills necessary when it comes to budgets and cost analysis in the Statehouse. My current position with a CPA helps me see what local businesses are up against when it comes to taxes and regulations imposed by Columbus.

I have spent my time during the campaign meeting with local stakeholders and various leaders and officials. This has given me a great understanding of the struggles different departments are facing. I’ve learned even more knocking on doors six days a week, listening to people where they live.

I have spent years advocating for our communities, and have stood up repeatedly to actions by politicians where they are not acting in the best interest of the public. I have shown I have the courage needed as a citizen to advocate for those whose voices are not being heard. I intend to carry that same dedication to Columbus, once elected. My commitment to not accepting any corporate PAC money shows that this claim is not just a platitude. I am dedicated to doing everything I can to serve my fellow Greene County’ers, and to help make the lives of everyday Ohioans better.

Ohio is establishing its medical marijuana program. Do you support full legalization? If so, under what circumstances? If not, why not?

I support the legalization of marijuana. Examples from Colorado and numerous other states from around the country show that many of the concerns people have had about legalization never came to pass. These states provide us good, working templates on how best to properly administer it. The rate of use is almost totally unaffected by legalization, except now we won’t be incarcerating people at taxpayer expense for no good outcome. We are seeing that it doesn’t increase crime, it actually reduces it by taking it out of the realm of the underground criminality that feeds off its illegality. Legalization can also result in large increases in state revenues. A 2018 Colorado State University study found that in just the one county of Pueblo, marijuana legalization had a net positive impact of over $35 million, and dispelled many myths of its supposed harms, finding no evidence of increased use by youth, or adding to homelessness or other socio-economic problems. Fears about legal marijuana harming property values not only didn’t come to pass, but the study found the exact opposite effect, with communities where it was legalized experiencing a 6% INCREASE in housing values.

Regarding medicinal marijuana, though I’m a supporter of it, Ohio’s recent bill authorizing it doesn’t look like the kind of legislation that we should have to provide the medical relief people are in need of. It seems more about establishing state sanctioned monopolies, with the likely result of making a handful of people wealthy, rather than actually and effectively providing the resources people need, thanks to all the restrictions on licensing for its processing and dispensing. For instance, approving the allocation of only ONE dispensary to serve THREE counties? The burden that puts on those who have difficulty traveling, some of whom are those who need this medication the most, is unhelpful. We don’t put those kinds of restrictions on pharmacies that sell opioids, so why for medicinal cannabis?

What is your stance on abortion issues?

I am not a supporter of abortion, personally. But this is bigger than my personal opinion. Abortion is a legal medical procedure in this country. I strongly support the Supreme Court decision that declared it unconstitutional to deny women the right to choose their own reproductive destiny. I also strongly support a small government that stays out of this very difficult and personal decision, and believe that a woman, her family, and her doctor are the only people who should be entering into this conversation.

Research and the experience of other countries who have successfully reduced the number of abortions performed shows us that there are three components involved in solving this problem: you need to educate people regarding contraception, there needs to be meaningful access to birth control, and you need safe and legal access to the procedure. Almost every single legislative effort on the part of my opponent and his party is to do the exact opposite of these things. We need to approach this problem with science and empirical evidence, rather than fact-less ideologies.

Given recent school shootings, what do you think Ohio can do to make schools safer?

School shootings cannot be isolated from the community as a whole. Gun violence is a societal problem, not just a school problem, and one that needs serious addressing outside the domain of school issues. I am completely opposed to recent proposals for the arming of teachers, as well as one idea by my opponent’s House colleague to allow students themselves to be armed. These propositions for allowing more firearms in schools are NOT helpful, and will only serve to make the school environment MORE dangerous. However, there are certainly some practical things that can be done in terms of making schools more secure in regards to the epidemic of gun violence, including requiring safety locks, secure doors, the ability to isolate a shooter, etc. My opponent introduced such bills in the 130th and 131st General Assembly. However, he couldn’t even get them to committee. Any legislation I would introduce I’ll fight for all the way.

Ohio has passed a lot of gun issues in recent years. Do you favor gun rights stand your ground, CCW, etc? Do you favor gun restrictions, universal background checks, bump stock ban, assault weapons ban, etc?

I support people’s rights to own firearms, particularly for hunting and personal protection, and I also support any practical legislation that helps to reduce the gun violence problem that our country is experiencing. This is a multi-faceted problem that will not be fixed by gun control legislation alone. I would call for more research into this epidemic, so that we can actually address the situation with knowledge, not just speculation. We need to recognize that the epidemic of gun violence is a public safety issue, not a political one. Responsible gun owners know that supporting the Second Amendment goes hand in hand with common-sense solutions towards reducing gun violence. That said, working towards those solutions has become very difficult, thanks to the outsized influence of special interest lobbies that are not concerned with actually solving the problem, but simply maintaining the status quo for their own economic benefit. And continuing on as ‘business as usual,’ and throwing up our hands with the attitude that there’s nothing we can do about this rampant epidemic of gun violence, one that has no equal anywhere else in the world outside a war zone, is not acceptable.

As for specific legislative measures, I oppose are the so-called ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws. And like the solid majority of Americans, I support universal background checks and bans on bump stocks. I also oppose arming teachers, and especially allowing students to carry firearms in schools. We could and probably should use the requirements of CCW as a model for more general gun safety legislation.

Schools, cities and counties continue to complain that state funding has been cut, forcing them to cut services and/or raise local taxes. How will you work with local governments?

This is one of the primary reasons I chose to stand up and run for office in the first place. My ongoing civic involvement in participating in my county meetings and learning more about local governing issues, made it clear to me that a good number of the problems we are facing today in managing our communities are the result of the ongoing reduction of monies being made available through the state’s Local Government Fund. The current Republican-controlled government in Columbus put a freeze on dispensing this money as a result of the Great Recession, supposedly in the name of balancing the state budget. But now this fund is sitting on billions of dollars of surplus money, and the state is still not returning this money back to the local communities from where it came, and where it is desperately needed. I intend on being an outspoken advocate in Columbus for the needs of our local communities, and will work with our local school and government officials to create a strong, united and informed coalition that will work for a state legislative agenda based on real local needs.

What else do you want the voters to know about you and your campaign?

I grew up in Australia, and my perspective of having been raised in another country helps show me where we need to improve, and allows me to think outside of the box when it comes to real solutions. Becoming an American means that you accept and understand the IDEA of America. One of the most inspiring and animating ideas of America is that power flows up from the people. I have always loved the fact that America was founded by a rebellion against government being a tool to confer privilege on insiders. That principle seems to have been lost and I want to help work to restore it. When I was seen by the Greene County Commission, not as a citizen inquiring into the operation of MY government, but as a critic that needed to be silenced, I could tell that those in power were more interested in serving themselves rather than the citizenry whom they are entrusted to serve. That is unacceptable to me. I’m running because I believe in America, and in the ideals and principles that have guided those who have strove to improve and expand its freedoms and opportunities for its citizens, working to ensure that the promise of the Pledge, that our nation stands for the liberty and justice of ALL, is actually fulfilled.

I have refused to take any corporate PAC money, and have relied totally on contributions from individuals. I have knocked on thousands of doors and learned so much about what everyday people think and what they need. I have explained my own views to people and have received incredibly valuable feedback. I will take that knowledge and those perspectives with me to Columbus. I don’t think anybody owes me their vote. Therefore, I have enough respect to ask for their vote. That’s how it’s supposed to work, and it’s what I am doing here – asking my fellow citizens for the honor of having their vote, so that I can provide representation that addresses the real needs of the people who live and work in our community – representation that puts People First!

New Report on the Benefits of Single Payer Health Care in Ohio

I’m looking very much forward to the upcoming release of the new report from SPAN Ohio (Single Payer Action Network Ohio) featuring an “Economic Analysis of Single Payer Health Care in Ohio: Context, Savings, Costs, Financing.” Based on a comprehensive new paper from Gerald Friedman, professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, the report will detail the savings both in lives and finances that single payer healthcare will provide Ohio.

An Ohio Healthcare Plan will:

— Save $25 billion per year in overall healthcare spending for Ohio.

— 95% of Ohioans will see a significant increase in disposable income. Most individuals will save an average of $2300 in 2019. The largest savings will go to working families and middle-income households.

— Eliminate Medicare Part B premiums for Medicare recipients and end copays for drug coverage and office visits.

— Eliminate current wasteful bureaucratic administration costs of $20.6 billion that will be used to expand healthcare to all Ohioans.

— Provide health care to all Ohio employees, giving small businesses, previously unable to provide such benefits, access to the same employee pool of qualified workers that large businesses enjoy.

As I’ve long argued, implementing this kind of single payer health insurance system would be a huge boon to business throughout the state. Businesses that have been providing health care benefits will enjoy a savings in real dollars that can be reinvested in salaries, research, expansion, or jobs, making Ohio more business friendly to corporations from other states or countries. The report will also note another point I have repeatedly made, that such a system will better allow freedom of movement of Ohio workers so they can start a business or change jobs without fear of losing health insurance, encouraging more entrepreneurship and competition for quality workers (and increase the quality of those workers).

The report will show that “The question then is not whether Ohio can afford single payer because a single-payer plan is cheaper than continuing with the status quo. Rather the question is whether the people of Ohio can continue to pay for an inefficient and wasteful health care system that often fails to care for them.”

Yet right now in Ohio and America, we continue to sadly and needlessly live through story after story like this one relayed here in this New York Times article on being “Held Hostage By Health Insurance”

“Health insurance rules my life. It decides my jobs, my aspirations, my retirement plans and, potentially, my citizenship.”

I know we can certainly afford one that is more effective and less wasteful with our money, and that when I get to the Statehouse, one of my priorities will be supporting the effort to make Ohio a leader in providing the kind of healthcare coverage Ohioans desperately need, and that our economy can not only afford, but would thrive in.

Learn more about my perspectives on this preeminently important issue of having healthcare for all Ohioans (an issue my opponent seems to have little to nothing to say about).

The People With Kim McCarthy Address The Greene County Tea Party

Kim McCarthy was invited to participate and address the Greene County Tea Party at their annual Candidate’s Forum in Xenia. Due to scheduling conflicts Kim was not able to attend in person. Representing Kim in her absence were The People With Kim McCarthy’s campaign aids Andy Valeri and Ed Lacy.

We would like to thank Greene County Tea Party organizer Carolyn Uecker for organizing the event, and president Denny Crouch, with whom Andy & Ed had some fruitful and inspiring conversation with, demonstrating that when going beyond the partisan noise and rancor, there were a number of shared principles between the aims and goals of Kim’s effort with those of the GCTP. It also showed that opportunities to breach the politically manipulated divide between people, especially our neighbors here in Greene County, can and should be taken advantage of when possible. But this cannot happen without honest and frank, but respectful, discussion about the problems and issues we face, and how best to solve them.

The following is a transcript of campaign policy and communication manager Andy Valeri’s address to the Greene County Tea Party on behalf of Kim and her campaign….

My name is Andy Valeri, and I’m here on behalf of Kim McCarthy, candidate for the Ohio House of Representatives for the 73rd District, and her campaign to put People First in our politics. Kim apologizes for not being able to make it in person, and thanks the organizers for providing this opportunity for citizens to be more directly connected to their representatives, and engage more fully in our electoral process.

Kim’s campaign is dedicated to the these same principles and values of civic participation, and of local accountability in our politics. It’s why she is running to be the representative for the people of western Greene County. She’s tired of seeing the needs of our local communities go unaddressed, if not outright ignored, by our state government. Years of continual disinvestment has hurt our schools, our infrastructure and our community services, and we have to turn that around. It’s why Kim is stepping up now, because we need good people in office who actually want to serve their communities and make them stronger.

Just as a quick background, Kim is a professional accountant, who is a long time small business owner and entrepreneur here in the region. She is the mother of three school aged children, and has been a resident of Greene County for nearly a quarter century since moving here from Australia. And she is a proud American citizen by choice.

Kim has long been socially and politically active in her community. She is a leader in bringing people together to address and solve common problems. She has spent countless hours engaged with the goings ons of local government, talking with school administrators, military families, veterans, police chiefs, teachers and educators, local government officials, small business owners, and literally thousands of people at their doors, learning directly about their needs and concerns, and how the state is failing to properly address those needs.

Limited time here prevents me from offering more detail right now about Kim’s ideas and vision, but let it be said that we find it rewarding to be able to address an event sponsored by the the Tea Party; an organization that is named after a rebellion by local business owners against concentrated, unaccountable corporate power in bed with an unaccountable state. For the American Revolution was, if anything, a rebellion against the idea of government as a tool to confer privilege on insiders.

This campaign represents that same spirit and purpose. It is why Kim takes NO corporate PAC money or special interest money. This allows her to honestly and openly challenge the culture of corruption that infests our government today, and to serve the interests and well being of ALL of her constituents. She is not beholden to those who want to use their money to override the needs of our communities, or to make those needs subservient to the desires or orders of any political party leadership. She is not doing this for personal career advancement. She is doing this because she cares, and because people are hurting, because this work needs to be done, because these needs have to be addressed – and she’s taking the point in doing just that.

For that I hope you will support Kim McCarthy and her effort to have REAL representation that finally puts WE THE PEOPLE FIRST.

Kim McCarthy Proposes Expanding Public Access To Legislator Voting Records

Kim McCarthy, in conjunction with her participation in the League of Women Voters candidates panel on Tuesday, October 9 in Beavercreek, has announced her commitment to working for more accountability in our state governance, blasting the Republican House Leadership for “hiding legislators’ voting records.”

“One of the reasons I am running is I’m tired of our representatives not being held accountable for what they are actually doing, or not doing. Unfortunately in Ohio, legislative public records are still being made available in ways more fitting to the 1990’s than to our data-driven 2.0 online world. Modern technology allows us to do a much better job, but the state shows no interest in doing so.” When in the House, McCarthy will push for a House Resolution requiring these changes to be made, and the comprehensive voting records of legislators be made directly accessible to citizens.

As McCarthy became more involved in her local Greene County politics, she discovered that it was impossible to go to a single source to check her legislators’ voting records. “How can the ordinary citizen find out what their representatives are doing without direct access to their voting record?” said McCarthy. The Ohio Constitution requires that votes on all bills be recorded so citizens can tell whether representatives are acting in the public interest, or in the interests of lobbyists and donors. But by making it difficult to simply pull up a legislator’s voting record on a single site, the professional politicians cheat the voters and dishonor the clear intent of the Ohio Constitution. “

But it is not just final votes on passage of a bill, but a representative’s vote on amendments that are even more important for the informed citizen to know. “This allows a politician to say that they supported a measure, but they actually voted to gut it during the amendment process. The voter has almost no way of knowing this. Committee votes are even harder to access.

At the present time, recorded votes are difficult to access. A citizen has to go to the Legislative website, look up a particular piece of legislation, and then track down the vote for passage. They would then be able to see the recorded vote. Citizens would then have to repeat this process maybe 50 to 100 times for every single bill to piece together that legislator’s voting record. This cheats Ohioans of their democratic birthright.  

A fix to this would be relatively simple. It just takes the political will. One would think a state that prides itself on invention and innovation could accomplish something this technically simple when it comes to serving the public interest. If a little, citizen-driven non-profit like VoteSmart.org can do this, the great state of Ohio certainly can. Citizens should not have to depend on private organizations to get public information. The Ohio Statehouse has been in the control of the GOP for the duration of the rise of the internet and the digital age. Perhaps one of the reasons that control has been maintained is because of the unnecessary difficulty for citizens to find out what their legislators are actually doing.

It’s time to end the culture of corruption that allows career politicians to hide their work from the people,” McCarthy said. “This issue is about the right of the citizen to know what their government is doing. One thing is for sure. I’ll make sure that MY voting record will be available whether the House does its duty or not.”

Kim McCarthy Endorses Ohio’s County Commissioners Plan

Kim McCarthy announced her support for Ohio’s county governments today by delivering a letter to the Greene County Commissioners endorsing the County Commissioners Association of Ohio (CCAO) policy statement, “Stronger Counties. Stronger Partnership. Stronger Ohio.”

According to McCarthy and the CCAO, the enormous and continuing cutbacks to county funding by the state have had a profound negative effect on the quality and availability of vital services in Greene County, and in counties across the state.

“This is not a partisan issue,” said McCarthy. “I’m determined to work beyond partisan divides to serve the real needs of the people of Greene County in the Ohio Statehouse McCarthy is not concerned that the board consists entirely of officials who are Republicans. This is important work, and party affiliations have to be set aside to accomplish what the people of Ohio need.  This is about working together for our communities, regardless of party.”

Kim McCarthy has actively monitored the functioning of the Greene County board of commissioners, attending its meetings and participating in public comment on issues relevant to Greene County residents, as well as issues before the board. She observed that county governments were not being properly funded. “I became aware of this problem through my involvement with the Greene County Commission over the years, and this was one of the things that inspired me to run for the state legislature,” said McCarthy.

When the CCAO issued its policy statement, the statement made it clear that local issues being confronted by those in Greene County were similar to those being confronted by counties all across the state. “The state’s revenue policy decisions, coupled with our growing costs, have created an environment where many counties have had to deplete reserves, delay capital projects and struggle to provide the services that Ohioans need. In many instances, while the state was cutting taxes, counties were forced to raise taxes to continue their state mandated functions,” said CCAO First Vice President Julie Ehemann. The mandates Ehemann refers to include schools, policing, and infrastructure. The state legislature has repeatedly acted to cripple county functioning, by reducing or ending taxes that affect the very wealthiest Ohioans, leading to a greater burden for the middle class.

In 2017, state lawmakers passed a $7.8 billion transportation bill with no funding designated for local governments. Although state funding to counties reduced some in the wake of the bursting housing bubble and ensuing market crash of 2008, The CCAO’s report shows that beginning in 2011, support for counties was reduced drastically, falling to less than half of what it had been in the previous decade. These cuts forced counties and municipalities to seek revenue from county sales taxes and steep hikes in local property taxes. More than half of Ohio’s counties have increased sales taxes to the maximum amount that Ohio allows counties to charge, 1.5 percent, on top of what the state of Ohio already charges. These are regressive taxes that weigh heaviest on those least able to afford them.

The unjust property tax-based school funding system in Ohio has long ago been declared unconstitutional by our state’s Supreme Court.The wealthiest regions suffer financially from this systemic neglect, but middle class and poor communities suffer even more harshly from it. Despite the constitutional requirement to reform, those in Columbus have left local school districts to fend for themselves by asking for more property tax money from local residents.

Outgoing Governor John Kasich has made clear that the state government will not disburse money from Ohio’s massive nine-figure budget surplus to local governments. We urge Governor Kasich to reconsider this stance, and offer some of the people’s money back to local and county governments, so that they can serve the needs of the people of Ohio.

Cities and counties have had drastic funding cuts from the state, and are struggling to maintain decent services for the people in Ohio’s communities. Some of our streets and roads are reminiscent of those in eastern Europe during the Soviet era. Schools are using ancient textbooks in some places, and asking financially pressed families to bear the burden of contributing out-of-pocket for classroom supplies. This flight from responsibility by the state is especially galling in light of the Ohio’s current fiscal situation.

“The state has a rainy day fund in excess of 2.7 billion dollars. Well, it’s raining hard right now on Ohio’s municipalities, particularly with the strain from the ongoing opioid crisis and urgent infrastructure needs. When I get to Columbus, I’ll work to see the state return this taxpayer money to Ohio’s counties. This kind of negligence by the state has to end,” McCarthy said.

Read The Original CCAO Announcement

Read The CCAO Report, “Stronger Counties. Stronger Partnership. Stronger Ohio”

Wright State AAUP Endorses Kim McCarthy For The Ohio House

We’re pleased to announce that the American Association of University Professors-Wright State University Political Action Committee (AAUP-WSU PAC) and its allied SmartALEC(k)PAC have endorsed Kim McCarthy for Ohio State Representative from the seventy-third district. Both organizations rely entirely on voluntary contributions and were created to support candidates who support public higher education and collective bargaining rights.

Their decisions to endorse Kim were made after a thorough review of her positions, and in acknowledgment of her support for restoring proper state funding to Ohio’s valuable public colleges and universities, and for focusing Ohio’s public education funding on academic instruction, rather than bloated administrative costs and other non-academic initiatives and enterprises.

Ohio’s universities are drivers of our state’s economy, as well as its technical and cultural enrichment. The recent trend of managing public higher education as if it were a private business ignores the inherent value of education to the well being of our state, and degrades the functional health of these institutions. States that do not value higher education are impoverished by the lack of it. Kim McCarthy believes that Ohio should be a leader in a spectrum of innovation, invention, and creativity, which is one reason that she welcomes this endorsement.

“Wright State University is a flagship educational institution in the seventy-third district,” said McCarthy, “and my opponent has neglected it while focusing his attention on Wright Patterson Air Force Base, which is a federal institution not accountable to the state legislature.”

“Although he is a member of the Higher Education committee in the State house, he really has been AWOL on the urgent issues at Wright State,” she said, “He’s put forth no meaningful leadership or input. Wright Patterson is an essentially important economic factor in our district, but it is a federal institution, and outside Mr. Perales’s purview.”

“He should have been working on problems that Ohio’s public colleges and universities need to have addressed. Our district’s and our state’s future prospects depend on Wright State’s success. I intend to advocate for public education in the state house, which is why I am honored to have this endorsement.”

Dr. Martin Kich, who coordinates the AAUP-WSU and SmartALEC(k) PACs, states, “There is an indisputable connection between the steep decline in state subsidy to public colleges and universities and the dramatic increase in student loan debt. It is time to support candidates, like Kim McCarthy, who are willing to address this issue head-on. Our public colleges and universities are major economic drivers and exist for the public good. They are being undermined by corporatization, privatization, and all sorts of supposed alternatives to adequate state support that are not working as intended and do not serve the public interest.”

For more on the AAUP-WSU, visit their website and their Facebook page

A Personal Story From Inside Ohio’s Private Prison System

Recently a woman from our region contacted me in regards to my stance concerning private prisons. She agreed with my points about how fundamentally corrupt the whole operating premise of incarceration for profit is, and how destructive to people in practice these corporate prisons can be. In fact, she knows this through firsthand experience, having shared with me a powerful, enlightening, and disturbing story about her own dealings with these institutions in regards to the treatment, and even unknown fate, of her son.

I’m sharing her note with you here because this is something we should all be aware of and which is being done in our name, and with our tax dollars. (I am posting this with the writer’s permission and support, and with the names and specific locations redacted in order to protect the person incarcerated from additional retaliatory abuse). We cannot begin to change this situation unless we understand what is happening. Only then can we effectively argue for necessary reforms, and the abolition of incarceration-for-profit as a business model in our economy and society. This is something I plan on doing when serving as your representative in our Statehouse.

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Good day Ms. McCarthy.

I am a registered [voter] and your stance against private prisons excited me. I am a veteran and a taxpaying citizen. Unfortunately, my son became addicted to opioids and turned to selling to support his habit. He has been in a private prison [in Ohio] for a very long year now. Every time I complain he is thrown in segregation, and there is a free-for-all in there…drugs, gangs, violence. He was almost killed in January after being attacked by a gang, and Care Flight’ed after the staff ignored his injuries.

My son has never been in prison before, but boy did I learn fast how awful a private prison is. They are overcrowded. Staff are paid poorly and undertrained, and I have literally spent hundreds of dollars on clothing and food. I complained about him being put back in the same exact unit after almost being killed rather than being transferred, and now the staff allows the inmates to steal all his belongings. He was just put into segregation again after my complaints about a correction officer damaging his TV. This is something I pay for because there is a huge waiting list for even GED classes. The last time he was put in set [administrative segregation, or ‘the hole’ as it is sometimes referred to] was approximately 4 weeks ago, and every bit of clothing was stolen, rather than the COs securing his belongings. I spent hundreds of dollars through a company that I have to shop through to get him basics; things like underwear, socks, sweats, shoes. I spoke with him yesterday and once again he begged the COs to secure his belongings because he was thrown in seg for a minor infraction-being out of place. He will come out in 21 days with a pair of prison issued underwear and nothing else because once again everything was stolen because his belongings were not secured, and his bunk is right in front of the COs office. I will have the privilege of spending hundreds of dollars again in 4 months as he is also on package restriction for 90 days.

I want my son to get help. I hoped he would have access to drug abuse counseling, classes, etc. But I fear he will be out in a few years far worse than when he went in. He now has a huge scar on his face after the surgeries he had to have, and I am terrified he won’t come home at all. You have my vote for this reason. Thank you so much and God bless you!