Today, August 4th, marks one year since the Miami Valley experienced one of its darkest moments, for it was that evening when nine people were killed and many more injured as a result of a mass shooting in the Oregon District in downtown Dayton.
And while our collective attention this year has been focused for obvious reason on the pandemic which has altered practically every aspect of our lives, tragic anniversaries like this one only serve to remind us of another epidemic that has been afflicting our nation for years, even decades, and negatively altering the lives of millions of our citizens. And that is the epidemic of gun violence.
Though the shots fired on August 4th, 2019 ripped through the heart of the city of Dayton, it’s causes and effects were felt throughout our entire region, as not only was the Oregon District filled with people from around our region, but the gunman came from right here in our own Greene County community of Bellbrook.
This only serves to drive home the reality that gun violence knows no socioeconomic or racial barriers, it respects no boundaries based on family background or zip codes or any such superficial distinctions. It is why we must all come together to both recognize the depth of this problem, and stand up and demand real solutions to it. Business as usual in just allowing this to continue on, while those in positions of responsibility seem to just shrug their shoulders while 37,603 of our fellow citizens die every single year from this epidemic simply isn’t good enough. (Gun Violence In America – Policy & Research)
It’s why citizens from throughout the Miami Valley have been demanding of our leadership to “DO SOMETHING” in regards to stemming this epidemic of violence.
This is an epidemic for which I recognize there are no easy answers to, no quick fixes, no simple solutions. What I *do* recognize, however, is that political efforts to find those solutions have constantly been impeded by the presence of a politically and economically powerful weapons lobby, one that uses it’s leverage within our current campaign funding system to effectively squash any meaningful debate, let alone actual action, in our legislatures that attempts to actually redress this problem.
What do you call it when the *overwhelming* majority of citizens want things like universal background checks on all weapons purchases, the enactment of red flag laws, and other common sense proposals to reduce our nation’s gun violence epidemic. And yet making these overwhelming popular proposals into law continues to run into a buzzsaw of political obstruction, due to the undue influence of big business weapons manufacturers who use their lobbying power to derail these efforts. This is just yet one more example of the price our society pays for not bringing to heel the corrupting influence of money over our policymaking process. This is why I support organizations like Mom’s Demand Action, and why they recognize mine as a ‘gun sense’ campaign, because they’ve been demanding our legislators Do Something for years now, and know I’m committed to that effort, as well.
That is why now is the time for us not simply to remember those who’s lives were lost and forever altered and those who’s were forever altered by the tragic events of one year ago today, but to truly heed the call of the crowds who gathered together in the thousands afterwards to honor and remember the fallen, as they made their demands of their political leaders quite clear – *Do Something*
*For more on this, here is an address on the issue of gun violence by 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. — “Gun Violence Is About More Than Guns”
I was most pleased to be in attendance at the presentation honoring Fairborn resident and Air Force veteran Larry Litten in his hometown of Flushing, Ohio, as he was presented a memorial honoring him and his six other brothers for their combined 132 years of service to our country as members of the U.S. Air Force. They’re one of only two such families to have such a level of military service, and Im glad to have been able to play a small role in seeing that their service was recognized.
I first met Larry Litten and his wife Leona earlier in the year (back in those pre-COVID days) after my friend and supporter Katie Bradshaw told me the story of Larry and his family, and asked for my help in getting this Fairborn veteran the recognition he deserves. Katie met Larry and his brother Gerry when she interviewed them for the Wright State University Veteran Voices program. She was excited to discover that the two brothers had another *five* brothers who also had served in the USAF, and that the brothers had a combined total 132 years of service. There family is only one of two in the annals of the service to have such a history. Larry is rightfully proud of this and has wanted to have his family recognized in a permanent way for this, so that their legacy can be remembered for generations to come. Unfortunately, after many years of asking local elected officials for help, he still wasn’t any closer to making this dream a reality. I promised this 82-year old veteran that I would do what I could to help.
After raising more than $5,000 via a gofundme campaign I helped launch to aid the Litten’s endeavor, we had the resources we needed to start things moving to make these permanent commemorations a reality. With Katie’s help, the first goal was to have his family recognized locally in their beloved town of their birth, Flushing, Ohio.
So on July 29th, 2020, Katie and I made the three-hour drive to Larry’s hometown, and attended a small ceremony at the Victoria Read Public Library in Flushing, where there was dedicated a framed commemoration honoring the Litten brothers and their service. This will allow the community to learn more about their accomplishments, and to recognize with pride that their small town of 900 people produced a family who dedicated themselves to one of the highest years of collective service to the military on record. It was particularly meaningful for Larry and his family to have the ceremony at the local library, and the memorial to them permanently placed on display there, as the library serves as an important public resource and meeting space for the community, and thus will likely get more exposure and awareness there.
All in all it was a truly lovely day. And while many aspects of running for office are difficult, it is events like this, ones where I am able to help members of the district and participate in some small way in their lives, that are often the most immediately rewarding, and that strengthen the foundation of our communities through acknowledgement of the sacrifices made by those for all of us.
We look forward to the next project in this effort, the dedication of a memorial bench at the USAF Museum commemorating the Litten’s brother’s service to our country. Stay tuned for details!
For more on the Litten Brothers and their history of service, see my earlier post on
“Honoring a Local Veteran and His Family’s Extraordinary Service”
Literally THE main reason I am running for office, and why I do all the work I do in my community, is because I can see the influence that corporate entities have over our legislative bodies. We will NEVER be able to effectively address the problems we face if we don’t have people in office who are prepared to stand up against their undemocratic influence.
Want school funding fixed? Want better health care? Want the climate crisis addressed?
It’s not going to happen while companies like FirstEnergy are able to buy our elected officials. I am running to offer an alternative to this sort of politician.
It appears my opponent was being groomed by Larry Householder to help him retain his power in the Statehouse, as evidenced by his financial support of his campaign in multiple ways.
When asked for a comment, Lampton told the Xenia Gazette that he would donate the $13,292.35 he received from Larry Householder (the maximum contribution allowable) to charity. That’s wonderful to hear. But he has to donate *all* of it. This includes the $1,000 he received directly from the corporation at the center of this whole bribery scandal in the first place – FirstEnergy.
Why hasn’t he posted his statement on his website or Facebook page? Why isn’t he answering the questions he is being asked by voters?
My opponent shares practically nothing via his websites; no platform stances, no policy ideas, no commentary on current events, almost nothing really. On his Facebook page he’s made maybe half a dozen or so posts all year, and they’re usually of the ‘happy holidays’ variety.
Perhaps that honor was enhanced by the $13,000 in cash he received from the political arms of this organization, an organization which has also been busy since 2018 funneling a whopping $440,000 to Generation Now, the PAC which was behind the corrupt HB6 propaganda campaign, and which has been directly targeted in the recent federal criminal indictments against Ohio’s GOP leadership and their racketeering and bribery scandal. This money is dirty as well and must be donated to charity.
Generation Now was run by criminally indicted Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder’s long time political strategist Jeff Longstreth (himself now under criminal indictment as well), and was the bankrolling source for another of their dark money front groups, the Growth & Opportunity PAC, which lavished $1 MILLION dollars this past election cycle running political hit piece advertising on behalf of Larry Householder-backed candidates in their races against primary opponents. Mr. Lampton was one of five of the Householder-backed candidates receiving support from the Growth & Opportunity PAC (support made possible in part by that $440K from the IUOE), which used part of that million dollars to wage a deceptively dirty and brazenly untruthful campaign against Mr. Lampton’s opponent during the primary. (“Householder-Backed Candidates Eek Out Wins In GOP Primary Races”)
On top of this, Jeff Longstreth is also the owner of Constant Content Co. the media company that Mr. Lampton spent $55,000 of his campaign money, (BY FAR the largest expense of his entire campaign) to produce his media blitz during the primary campaign.
It’s like an (almost) legalized form of money laundering.
We need to send a clear message to corporate owners that Ohio politicians are NOT for sale. We are paying for their corruption monthly through higher utility bills. We must demand better. I am the only obvious choice for that “better.”
“Starting Jan. 1, 2021, Ohioans will have a new fee on their electric bills to pay for nuclear energy, coal plants and some solar projects. Meanwhile, subsidies for renewable energy and energy efficiency will fade…..
“The first group, Generation Now, hired blockers to stall signature collectors.
“Generation Now is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit. Because of the way the group was organized, it can receive unlimited contributions and doesn’t need to disclose them. Political activity is supposed to be limited, but the IRS has done little to enforce that, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
“Here’s what we do know: Generation Now’s principal office is the Columbus address of longtime Speaker Larry Householder adviser, Jeff Longstreth, according to records filed with the Ohio Secretary of State. Householder was a key proponent of the nuclear plant subsidies.
“Before the House Bill 6 fight, Generation Now contributed $1 million to pro-Householder Growth & Opportunity PAC. Both groups are registered to Eric Lycan, a Kentucky Republican political consultant.”
The news this week that the Ohio Speaker of the House, Larry Householder, has been arrested along with others on federal charges of racketeering, bribery, money laundering and conspiracy is shocking, to say the least. This man was elected by the people of Ohio to represent them. Instead, he chose to use the seat for his own personal gain. The criminal indictment against the Speaker reveals how he used $61 million of illegal contributions to build a “Team Householder” in the legislature, a group of representatives who could conspire to defraud the public. It reveals too how he acted to secure a $1.5 billion nuclear plant bailout for the FirstEnergy corporation, to be paid for by the taxpayers of Ohio, and to enhance his own power in the people’s Statehouse at the same time.
Even more disturbing for the people of Ohio’s 73rd District is that my opponent Brian Lampton accepted campaign contributions from two entities named in the federal criminal corruption charges – including the indicted Speaker of the House. Together these amounts totaled more than $14,200. In addition, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported that Householder is also tied to the Growth and Opportunity PAC, a dark money group that spent over $1 million in 5 Republican primary races – including the Republican primary race here in our own backyard in District 73, where Mr. Lampton was victorious thanks in part to a flood of mailers and other media advertisements produced by the Growth and Opportunity PAC in support of his campaign. Was Mr. Lampton being groomed to become the next member of Householder’s “team” of corrupt politicians? Were there any strings tied to those contributions? Will there be even more involved with this as the FBI connects more of the dots?
Even the appearance of potential corruption is unacceptable for elected officials, and so I call on Mr. Lampton to immediately give up the $14,292 he’s accepted from those referred to in the multi-felony indictment. Mr. Lampton needs to cut any ties he has with both Speaker Householder and reject any assistance and support from the dark money PACs that spend money on his behalf.
I also call on our current State Representative Rick Perales and the Ohio state legislature to repeal HB6 immediately. This bill was allegedly passed fraudulently, and as such, should be overturned without delay.
I agree with the FBI Special Agent in charge of this investigation, calling this a “shameful betrayal” of the public trust, and that every possible action to remedy the situation must be taken immediately, including the resignation of Speaker Householder. Frankly, I find it difficult to see how Mr. Lampton can in good faith continue to campaign for this seat, when the single largest supporters of his campaign are criminally indicted conspirators in the “largest bribery money laundering scheme in the state of Ohio.”
This crime represents a fundamental core reason I am running for office, to remove and replace the politicians from power who are abusing the trust of the people who elected them, and who are not serving anyone but themselves and the greed of their corporate patrons. I am running to restore your trust in government, to show you what a true representative of the people looks and acts like. I ask for your support so that we can clean the Statehouse of the rot that has obviously infiltrated the people’s house. It’s time we really “Drain the Swamp.”
Kim McCarthy, candidate for the Ohio House of Representatives for the 73rd District, condemns the recent attack upon the Greene County Democratic Headquarters in Xenia this past Saturday morning, in which five bullets were fired into its office. “Luckily, nobody was hurt," McCarthy said within the opening of her public statement yesterday on the incident. McCarthy put the attack in context in her statement, calling Donald Trump to account for his incendiary rhetoric against Democrats.
"Though we may never know for sure that this act of violence was committed because of President’s Trump continual inflammatory and divisive rhetoric against Democrats that he has been using since 2015, we cannot ignore the connection. He has explicitly framed the Democratic Party as ‘the enemy’ over and over again…Just a few days ago, he shared a video that began with the statement 'the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat.'"
Ohio State Representative candidate Kim McCarthy opposes the cuts in the state budget, aimed mostly against education and state support for health care, at a time when school districts across the state are scrambling to provide basic school services to their communities, and the worst pandemic in a century has killed tens of thousands of Americans in just the past three months.
"Any cuts to basic government services are wrong when they are already poorly funded, and these cuts are mean-spirited and extreme," said McCarthy when the cuts were announced by Governor DeWine.
"Nearly every K-12 school in Ohio depends on the distribution of taxpayer dollars back to communities, and these health care cuts hurt the poorest people in the state, even while CoViD-19 is sickening and killing people."
McCarthy also noted that “Since the failure of my own hometown school district’s levy for the second time, coupled with the recent cutbacks, ours and other local school districts have been left in an emergency funding situation. Therefore it is even more critical now that the state fulfill its obligations to fund our schools properly. Our state constitution requires it and the courts have been ordering it for over twenty years.”
Citing revenue shortfalls, on Tuesday, May 18, Governor DeWine announced nearly 800 million dollars in cuts to the state budget. The only department not affected by the cuts is the state prison system. DeWine suggested that because tax revenues are down during the current shutdown, it was necessary to cut services to the most vulnerable, despite the untouched 2.7 billion dollar Ohio rainy day fund, and despite the 200 million dollars in state revenue above expectations that had been collected as of February of 2020. Asked about the rainy day fund, DeWine said that he anticipates it will be needed in the future.
"Ohio should be using some of our rainy day fund to keep people healthy and educated. If a pandemic that has thrown millions of Americans out of work is not a rainy day, I think that the people of Ohio should be able to demand a definition of one from our government. Less than a third of the fund would close the gap, even if the governor wants to ignore the fact that much of the shortfall in revenue is a temporary result of delayed 2019 state income tax filings,” McCarthy explained.