Category: Updates & Perspectives

Helping Our Military Spouses Help Teach Our Children

My campaign recently provided the following story to some of our local press, in regards to my conversations with some of our local educators, many of whom whose skills and talents are being misdirected, or in cases like this, wastefully neglected. And I’m finding this sadly most common among some of our military personal serving here at Wright-Patterson AFB.

For me, supporting the military, at the state level, means supporting the needs and capabilities of the *entire* family of our service personnel. Though the state does not have jurisdiction over the military, we *do* have the ability to help provide for the needs of these families, and especially when the fulfillment of those needs benefit all of us here, especially our children and their education.

No story better spotlights this truth than that of Bri McKinnon and her family. When I’m in the Statehouse, she and those like her will know that I’m there to help change this situation. I want to help make it possible for them to not only secure employment to supplement their family income, but to help make it possible for them to fulfill their calling of service to others as well. This is what supporting our service personnel is really about.

Kim McCarthy, candidate for State Representative in Ohio District 73, met with military spouses in effort to assist overcoming ‘red tape’ to help family financial burden

“Sorry, there is nothing I can do for you.”

This is what Bri McKinnon, wife of 2nd Lieutenant Monte McKinnon at WPAFB, has heard more times than she can count.

McKinnon, 26, is a teacher nearing her completion of a Master’s Degree in Special Education from Washington University. Her resume and experience are stellar, but her desire to teach special-needs children goes well beyond her educational background.

“I am on fire for Special Education. I do not say that lightly. I am ON FIRE. The thought that I could have the ability to influence, protect, guide, and love someone into being the best possible versions of themselves speaks to my heart. I have a passion for Title Schools because kids in these type of districts generally need the most help,” said McKinnon.

In fact, McKinnon said that the Fairborn School District basically hired her on the spot when she applied there, as they were trying to fill ten open positions for special education teachers.

One teensy little problem: McKinnon found out that in order to get the job she would have to take a lengthy college class and state exams that together cost in excess of $3,000.

The time involved, plus the fees for exams, meant for McKinnon that neither time nor money was on her side. Military families often live a life of moving base-to-base, state-to-state. That transience, complicated by limited income (many families use federal food stamps to make ends meet*), makes gaining temporary employment unrealistic, even if one is extremely qualified and motivated.

Kim McCarthy, candidate for State Representative in Ohio District 73, recently met with McKinnon and several other military spouses from WPAFB, in an outreach initiative to various groups in her district, in order to hear directly from her prospective constituents about their specific needs. Help with employment red tape was at the top of their list. McCarthy recorded their concerns and said, “Ohio should be offering military spouses an exemption from Ohio’s standard requirements, so long as they can prove that they have the qualifications from another state to do the job.”

McCarthy said if she is elected she will work toward an amicable agreement that both keeps our education system filled with the best possible teachers while considering the needs of military spouses and helps to work toward the better good of Ohio students.

McKinnon made it clear she is not looking for special treatment. Rather, she wants an affordable vetting system that addresses the specific needs of military spouses that equals that of permanent Ohio residents. She used the state of California, her family’s next likely move, as an example. “We literally have to take a free quiz about California to show we know some relevant information about the state and pay $50 and we get a license.”

“I am absolutely devastated at what military wives have to go through. We are being punished for serving our country,” said McKinnon about Ohio’s laws. “I am more than willing to jump 110% into (a school district that has vacancies for special-ed teachers).

McCarthy vowed to address the employment red tape for military spouses if elected State Representative for Ohio District 73. “Our children are suffering and not getting the education they need in order to be successful, while dedicated and passionate teachers are sitting at home because of red tape. This needs to change, and I plan to make it a priority if I’m elected.”

Gun Violence Is About More Than Guns

The epidemic of gun violence is about more than guns. This is a point made clear in the address that Dayton physician Dr. Matthew Noordsij-Jones delivered to the thousands in attendance at the March For Our Lives gathering in Dayton, Ohio in March of 2018. We are sharing some of the remarks made in his address, as our campaign believes these kinds of perspectives are essential for understanding the broader scope of this issue, of its causes, and just as importantly if not more so, its effects upon the people of our communities. This is an issue which has no easy, singular answers. But that should not prevent us from looking at the full scope of the problem as honestly and soberly as possible, and to no longer allow a few powerful special interests from preventing us from formulating solutions to this crisis. Doing nothing on this issue, one that is literally a matter of life and death for tens of thousands of Americans each year, is no longer an option.

As a primary care doctor in Dayton I see the daily toll that gun violence takes on our citizens both young and old. I have a middle age patient who is in what should be the prime of his life but can barely leave his house due to the PTSD he confronts every day from being shot and losing multiple fingers and much of the use of both of his hands. I see the families that are left behind from tragic loss of life from gun related suicides. As a father I see the stress that comes with knowing that my children must participate in active shooter drills. Just a week ago my preschool age daughter had to still as quietly as preschoolers can under the sink in their classroom because someone might bring a gun to their school. Don’t let people tell you that nothing can be done because we know that it can and anything else, as it was so eloquently put, is BS.

There are many things that we know about gun violence. On average 35,000 people die in the US every year due to gun violence. That is around 100 people every day. A recent study in the journal Pediatrics found that guns are now the third leading cause of death among children. This is about the same number of people that die from car accidents. No one says that nothing can be done about car accidents. In fact, we do research into deaths from car accidents and we have dramatically decreased the number of deaths. The CDC used to fund research into gun violence just as it funds road safety. Gun violence is, after all, a serious health and a safety threat. That is until one of its studies, published in 1993, found that guns in homes were associated with higher risk of homicide. Enter the NRA lobbying efforts that pushed for the Dickey amendment ending any CDC or NIH led gun violence research and lowering the CDC’s budget to limit this type of research. While there are still independent researchers trying to study gun violence across the United States their funding is limited and firearm injury research through the CDC and NIH screeched to a halt. It’s been 22 years. Along with an increase in federal gun violence research funding, the Dickey amendment needs to go. Even Representative Jay Dickey the lifetime NRA member who proposed the amendment came around to support gun violence research in an op-ed that was published in 2012 after the Aurora shooting. And don’t tell me that we cannot afford this research. In 2014, two people died in the United States from the Ebola virus and Congress appropriated $1.7 billion to study the threat. Just this year [there have been already] over 2,000 people who have been killed by guns in America. Which is the bigger health threat?

I would like to touch on mental illness as this can become scapegoat for much of the violence that has been done but it is an area in which we as a society need to do better. Violence has very complicated roots and mental illness alone is rarely the sole cause. Only 4% of gun violence in the United States is attributable to mental illness and people with serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, are more likely to be victims than perpetrators of violence. That said suicide causes over half of the gun deaths in our country every year. Evidence shows that because of the lethality of guns, 90% of firearm suicide attempts result in death. Those with mental illness make up the grand majority of suicides. We need better mental health treatment in this country.

There are other behaviors that do indicate an elevated risk of violence against others. Past violent behavior is the best predictor of future violence, regardless of a diagnosis of mental illness. Domestic violence, substance abuse, alcohol abuse, and illegal use of controlled substances also increase the risk of violence. One concrete action that we can take to decrease firearm deaths is the Extreme Risk Protection Order also known as the gun violence restraining order. This has already been done successfully in five states….

To borrow the eloquent writing of a dear friend of mine Dr. Mona Mangat. “Do not look away and do not lose hope. Look at the photos of every victim of every school shooting. Read their heart-wrenching stories. Feel the pain and agony of these parents and communities. Weep for them and then stand in solidarity with the children across America fighting to make America safer. This time can be different.”

We must insist on allowing and fully funding research on gun violence by the CDC and NIH because science must inform our public policy decisions. We must vote for legislators who are willing to put the lives of our children above their gun lobby contributions. We must vote for legislators who will support common sense gun legislation….We must vote for legislators who will increase access to health care including mental health care for every single American. We must hold our elected officials accountable. We owe this to our children.

Dr. Matthew Noordsij-Jones, “NJ”, is a local primary care physician and activist working at a community health center in north Dayton. He can be reached at mattnj78@gmail.com.

Moms Demand Action Recognizes Kim’s Campaign In Support of Ending Gun Violence

I’m really pleased to see our campaign receive recognition from Moms Demand Action, who know that I too stand with them in working towards gun violence prevention through more common sense gun safety in our society.

Gun violence prevention is about:

• Reducing and preventing gun violence is a public safety issue, not a political one. Over 35,000 Americans are killed every year by gun violence and thousands more are injured.
• Responsible gun owners know that supporting the Second Amendment goes hand in hand with common-sense solutions to reduce gun violence.
• Doing more to keep guns out of the hands of felons, domestic abusers and people with dangerous histories, knowing that respecting rights and protecting people go hand-in-hand.
• Common-sense public safety measures make our communities safer and save lives.

Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America is a grassroots movement of Americans fighting for new and stronger solutions to lax gun laws and loopholes. Since its inception after the tragedy at Sandy Hook School, Moms Demand Action has established a chapter in every state of the country and, along with Mayors Against Illegal Guns and the Everytown Survivor Network, is part of Everytown for Gun Safety, the largest gun violence prevention organization in the country with more than four million supporters.

Learn more about Everytown For Gun Safety and their plan for ending gun violence

Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Town Hall on Inequality In America

This is a really good discussion, one hosted by Sen. Bernie Sanders and viewed live online by over 1.7 million people, on the nature of inequality in America today and the threat it poses to us all and the well being of our nation. As the facts discussed in this informative program reveal, we can no longer afford the deceptive lies of “trickle down” economics and their unjust impacts upon the great majority of our citizens. History shows no nation can maintain itself in the face of such gross inequality, such as the kind we see in America today, a nation where a half dozen individuals have more wealth than 50% of the entire population combined.
 
This town hall focuses on not only the problem of inequality, but its root causes (*ahem* money controlling our politics <cough> and lack of real campaign finance reform <cough>), and the need for policies to redress it. It’s full of information which is essential for understanding the scope of this issue, and just how deep rooted its effects are upon our society. Some statistics are actually shocking. For instance, the fact that 44% of homeless people actually have jobs and are working! What does that say about the nature of the quality of jobs we have today, and the inability for people to live decent and dignified lives in today’s economy, one in which those providing meaningful living wages are becoming harder and harder to come by?
 

As President Franklin D. Roosevelt said decades ago, echoing many of the same realities brought to light in this town hall meeting…

“While the majority goes on about its great work without complaint, a noisy minority maintains an uproar of demands for special favors for special groups. There are pests who swarm through the lobbies of the Congress and the cocktail bars of Washington, representing these special groups as opposed to the basic interests of the Nation as a whole.”

And this is why I am working to represent YOU in the Statehouse! I will be a voice and a vote for renewing the kinds of policies we once had in place in this country, ones which resulted in the largest and biggest expansion of economic opportunity and a thriving middle class in our nation’s history. Ones which respected and supported the rights and well being of the American worker, and didn’t sell them out to a small group of financial elites through a rigged system designed to benefit themselves at the expense of everyone else. 

And this episode of the new podcast “Deconstructed,” by The Intercept’s Mehdi Hasan features a good interview with Sen. Bernie Sanders as they talk about poverty, inequality, media bias, and the 2020 presidential election.

LISTEN HERE

 

Meet Jordan Fisher, Campaign Manager For The People With Kim McCarthy

My name is Jordan Fisher. I’m both one of America’s most recent veterans, having recently completed my tour of duty in the United States Marine Corps, and the campaign manager for “The People With Kim McCarthy,” the organization dedicated to supporting Greene County’s Kim McCarthy in the effort to bring positive change to the representation for the citizens of the Ohio House 73rd District.

 As for my path here, I grew up in Dayton, attending High School at Chaminade Julienne in the heart of the city’s downtown. About a year after graduation, and while attending Sinclair Community College, I enlisted into the “world’s most toughest fighting force,” successfully becoming a Marine. During my tour of duty, I spent time on both of America’s shores training and serving in regular duties. Near the end of my enlistment, I was attached with an infantry company deploying to Okinawa, Japan, for a period of six months. I have recently completed just over four years of active duty service, slowly transitioning back to the familiar life I left behind. I ultimately decided to forgo a promising and honorable career in the Marine Corps, choosing instead to focus my deep desire towards public service towards my more “quieter” yet hefty interest in politics.

Upon my arrival back home in the Miami Valley, I immediately began to explore the local political situation, making my way around some of the local political party functions in search of opportunities as to where my interests and talents may best be of service. After meeting a number of an incredibly inspiring and motivated people, I ended up being introduced to Kim McCarthy. Her energy and drive really spoke to me, and her desire to lead and to work selflessly for the betterment of those around her displayed the kind of quality of leadership I know our citizens are in real need of today. A public servant who is truly that, a servant of the public, one willing to fight selflessly on their behalf. As a Marine, I take that kind of commitment to others seriously, and after spending a few hours with her, recognized the genuineness of it and couldn’t help but want to be a part of that commitment as well. To my excitement, I was invited to do that through service as her campaign manager.

In this role I will lead a group of like-minded individuals who all share in the desire to see the kinds of changes needed in order to better serve the people of her constituency within Greene County, and ultimately the beautiful state of Ohio. I am proud to be working with her as we undertake this empowering journey, entrusting in democracy to deliver the true representation that is so evidently needed.

Let’s get to work

Thoughts on FDR and the Fight for the Four Freedoms

– A Fight We Continue Today

This past January 30th, on the birthday of Franklin D. Roosevelt, it had me thinking about the Democratic Party – and more importantly, the America – that he represented. For in the face of the existential crisis of the Great Depression and the global war against fascism, FDR called upon us to overcome our fear and take action to defend and advance the finest American ideals.

“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”
– FDR

These ideals are encapsulated in his Four Freedoms – “Freedom of speech and expression, Freedom of worship, Freedom from want, Freedom from fear” – words which inspired and encouraged his fellow citizens not only to defend those ideals, but also to progressively advance them. They were taken to heart so much so that they were emblazoned upon every service medal awarded to our military veterans for service in the Second World War. It was the mission statement for what our troops were literally fighting for at the time.

“True individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.” – FDR

And now it is up to us to renew these vows, to pick up where that “Greatest Generation” left off, and work to see these ideals are made true and real for all Americans today. And that is what my campaign is about. I hope you will join me in the effort.

“If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships – the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world at peace.”
– FDR