Category Archives: State

OH Governor Primary Begins

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ohio Republicans Return Power to the Voter

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

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

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

Costs of Citizenship

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

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

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

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

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

Hear from Lorain’s State Rep Candidates

Ohio State Capitol BuildingTotally Engaged Americans greatly appreciated the three candidates who were involved in our Candidate’s Forum last month. Lorain County has three districts within it’s area: the 55th which covers portions of northeast and central Lorain County, the 56th which covers northern and western Lorain County, and the 57th covering southern and eastern Lorain County. The three Democrat candidates were not in attendance but we were happy to hear from the three Republicans in each race.

The State Representatives go to Columbus and work on key state issues such as the state taxes and the budget, as well as state-directed education, transportation, and environmental policy. We hope you can learn and share this information to your Lorain County family, friends and colleagues.

55th, Nathan Manning – Manning is the incumbent and was represented this day by Tyler Yalpe. He helped bring the business tax down to 0% for the first $250K and also helped keep personal income taxes the low. He passed a bill that allows wineries to sell in farmer’s markets and also to help insulin recipients with their prescriptions.

56th, Jessie Tower – Tower is a Lorain resident and has been an attorney and CPA since 1995. She had worked at the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services as a chief auditor and then assistant deputy director in the office of Children and Families. She is currently the director of the Tower Education Center getting children ready for kindergarten and coordinating after-school programs for school-age students.

57th, Dick Stein – Stein became involved with the tea party movement in Norwalk since 2009 when it began. He is a small business owner and has received endorsements from the NFIB, the CPA Society, and two right-to-life groups. His focus is on keeping job taxes and energy costs low as well limiting burdensome regulations to help spur economic growth, and to study the costs of healthcare to better manage price.

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

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

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

Become An Informed Voter!

Lorain County Board of ElectionsOhio’s primary is only six weeks away on Tuesday, March 15, and it should prove to be a very important and decisive day for the leading presidential candidates. But there are many other races on the ballot on both the Democrat and the Republican side, and many of us usually feel more and more disconnected as we moved down the ballot. Well, this is the OPPOSITE of how it should be! Those people further down the ballot are the ones who live closest to you and over whom you can have most influence. For this reason, let’s look at the Lorain County races (candidates list here) moving up-ballot!

Political Party

Many cities have wards which are the smallest political unit, but not everybody lives in a ward. Everybody in Lorain County does, however, live in one of 188 precincts.

Precinct Committee Chairmen are elected to office on the primary ballot as they only reflect the opinions of those who choose a political party. Some actually go unfilled, and many are unopposed. Primary challenges do exist this year, especially in Amherst and Elyria and then scattered throughout the county. These individuals make up the committee for the Lorain County Democrat or Republican Party.  It is their job to make sure the party is acting as a positive force within the county, and in a direction that correlates with the views of most voters. The split within the Republican Party has been well-documented can be characterized as conservative vs. establishment.

State Central Committee members make up the committee that directs and leads the statewide party. The Democrats don’t have seats up for election this year, but the Republican party (and Green Party) does. There is one male and one female from the 13th State Senate district, covering Lorain and Huron counties, who represent the party on the state level.

The female candidates are incumbent Joyce Houck and challenger Kirsten Penton Hill. The male candidates include incumbent Matt Cox and challengers David Moore and Michael Witte. Kirsten Penton Hill is the director of Totally Engaged Americans of Lorain County, and Michael Witte is a longtime member and is active with the Convention of States project. All three challengers, Kirsten, Michael, and David Moore, spoke at our candidate’s forum last month. Continue reading

Are Any State Issues Worth Supporting?

OhioIssuesComboLorain County TEA had a great meeting this morning to discuss the three statewide issues that will be on this November’s ballot. Each issue may have a favorable component in a general sense, but each seems to have some flaw that should cause concern to the Ohio voter. For those who want to cut to the chase without reading the analysis, a straw poll of attendees found majority support only for Issue 2, with a modest majority against Issue 1 and a strong majority against Issue 3. But let’s look at the the three issues separately: Issue 1 – Redistricting; Issue 2 – Anti-monopoly; Issue 3 – Legalization of marijuana. Continue reading

Matt Lynch tells it like it is, not the way we’d like it to be…

The Totally Engaged Americans of Lorain County, OH, invited former Ohio Representative, Matt Lynch, of Geauga County to speak at our monthly breakfast meeting today, April 11, 2015.

Matt_casual_web2We were there to hear Matt tell us what really happens in the Ohio legislature.  Matt was in the Ohio House for just a single term – three years -but it was long enough to learn how the “sausage” is made in today’s legislative bodies.

The 45+ members and visitors in the audience were a mixed bag of experienced politicos, novices and the in-betweeners – those of us who aren’t afraid of politics because we don’t know enough yet.

We are all on the side of the Constitution and expect our elected officials to love and respect the document as much as we do.  That’s what makes us “Conservatives.”  Matt Lynch is a conservative, like Jim Jordan is a conservative, like Ted Cruz is a conservative and maybe even Rand Paul is a conservative (albeit with very Libertarian tendencies).

After Matt ran us through the “school house rock” version of how a bill is created, he soon went deeper into the weeds to explain the committee and caucus systems, where a thoughtful, painstakingly-crafted and public-oriented bill can meet a brutal end without ever seeing the light of day, or coming up for a vote. Matt wanted us to know there’s a big difference between “what appears to happen and then what actually happens.”

As Chairman Kirsten Hill noted, the “Columbus Dispatch” identified Matt Lynch an “arch Conservative;” the word ‘arch’ normally connotes something evil but in our crowd Matt’s considered a hero.  It was, perhaps, political suicide for Matt to take on the GOP establishment…

…no, that’s not right.  It is the G.O.P. itself, the power of PARTY that either pushes a bill through or kills it where it lays.

We T.E.A. members learned more about the legislative – excuse me, the political process, than we expected to, but isn’t that what we wanted?  Absolutely!

Sure, Matt painted a dismal and disappointing picture of how a Republican committee chairman rules his Committee Kingdom, and then how a Republican House Speaker is ultimately controls what legislation gets through, but in the end it’s the Republican Governor who calls the shots.

What?!?!?!

As one audience member asked this morning, “What happened to the separation of powers?”   That’s an excellent question to pose to those very same people who, following their election, SWORE to uphold the Constitution – which has a very clearly marked line drawn between the administrative, the legislative and the judicial branches of our governments – AKA “separation of powers.”

Just in case I’ve left out something important from Matt’s talk this morning, and I have – you can listen to it here.     http://rufusputnam.com/TEA/4-11-15_TEA_Matt_Lynch.mp3

Matt tried not to leave us depressed, rather he wanted us better armed to win these political battles.  We know now who the enemy is and it won’t be as easy to pull the wool over our eyes in the future.

Most importantly, though, We The People owe it to the properly-vetted and upstanding candidates to support them with our time, our $$ as well as our vote.

The Good Ones won’t last, or be able to stand up to the political pressure the matt_lynch_radio_showparty machine puts on them if we don’t stand with them.

Get to know Matt Lynch through his radio program, too. If you can’t listen to his Wednesday 6:30-7:30 PM WHK 1420 Radio program live, all his programs are archived.