November 28, 2005

Reform Ohio, Really

It is expected that Dr. Bob Fitrakis, who has been working tirelessly to expose voting irregularities and fraud in my home state of Ohio, will announce his bid to become the Green Party's nominee for Ohio Governor tomorrow. He's running with a couple of other well-known Ohio Greens: Anita Rios (Lt. Governor) and Tim Kettler (Secretary of State), both of whom have also been active in exposing election fraud in Ohio and working to correct it. I think it's safe to expect that their campaign will focus heavily on election reform, an issue that all Greens care passionately about -- and rightfully so, since voting rights are the foundation of our democratic republic.

What's clear is that the Republicans will have work to do in Ohio if they want to keep the Governor's mansion. Governor Taft has brought scandal after scandal to Ohio. Secretary Blackwell, who will likely receive the Republican nomination for Governor, was the key figure in Ohio's most recent election irregularities. Sen. DeWine has angered the Republican base in Ohio by teaming up with the so-called Gang of Fourteen, and Congressman Bob Ney is being investigated for dirty dealings with Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff. I think all of this will make the next election difficult for Ohio Republicans, since Ohio voters have got to be getting tired of scandal after scandal all centered in Ohio.

But are the Democrats a better alternative? I'm sure everyone remembers Democratic attempts to keep Greens and other third party candidates off the ballots during the 2004 election, because the Democrats were afraid to give the American people the free choice we're entitled to. Doesn't it do a disservice to our democracy for us to take the position of Governor and Secretary of State from one party owned by corporations and special interests, only to give it to a party owned by other corporations and other special interests? Can we really be sure that Congressman Strickland is going to do any better with Ohio than Governor Taft has or Secretary Blackwell might, or isn't it possible that Strickland will spend his term as Governor the same way Taft did -- doing favors for his corporate buddies and special interest partners, while ignoring the needs of and bringing scandal after scandal to the people of Ohio?

It seems to me that Ohio needs a heavy dose of justice and accountability, and I think Dr. Fitrakis & Co. might be just what the doctor ordered. I'll be looking forward to learning more about the Ohio Green candidates and their plans for Ohio in the year to come.

(Hat tip to Ken Sain).