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Restore balance in the system

This Nov. 6, we will experience another election that will have long-term effects on the structure of the country. Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan have spent the last two years not only passing legislation that hurt most Americans but also systemically violating the democratic norms that uphold our democracy by ensuring we have a voice in the political process. As it stands, we have no way to assert our voice in the political process because the current system led by Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell has decided that the people do not matter and that the only guiding principle they have to follow is power. Thus, this next election is not necessarily about advancing specific policies but about restoring checks and balances to the political system. We cannot hope to provide healthcare for all Americans, achieve common sense gun reform, protect our environment or advance a nationwide living wage without checks and balances in our political system. 

We must vote between now and Nov. 6 to elect politicians from the county to the Senate who promise to restore balance to the system. As such, I have Ohio-specific recommendations for who will protect checks and balances and advocate for the people. Kevin Barnett (D, OH House 1) and Adam VanHo (D, OH Senate 27) are well-qualified for their positions and have made a great effort to be present in Wooster. Barnett has spent his campaign talking to members of the district and has attended most of the political protests and events in Wooster. VanHo is an attorney who worked as a prosecutor and has personally campaigned across the district listening and working for your vote. 

At the state level, Steve Dettlebach (D, attorney general), Kathleen Klyde (D, secretary of state), Zack Space (D, auditor) and Rob Richardson (D, treasurer), represent the strongest democratic ticket for statewide office in years, and have all sworn to protect the rights of the people and act as a balance to federal and state policies that hurt the people. For governor, Richard Cordray and Betty Sutton (D) will pursue consumer-friendly policies that will protect the people from corporations and the corrupt politicians who enable them; further, the governor will have veto power over the redistricting process; Cordray will ensure that Ohioans have the representation they deserve. The state supreme court is equally important, as it is completely Republican controlled and ineffective as a balancing body; Melody Stewart and Michael Donnelly will help restore that balance. 

At the federal level, Sherrod Brown is being challenged by our representative, Jim Renacci, who continues to stoop lower in his attempt to unseat Brown. Brown has been fighting for Ohioans since his first day in office, and he will continue to fight for the policies that benefit Ohioans, regardless of what party they originate from. For congress, Susan Palmer, a healthcare professional from Westlake, would provide a breath of fresh air to our district, where Renacci has missed the most votes of every congressman while representing us. Palmer will stand up to the policies coming from the White House in the spirit of checks and balances. 

Finally, State Issue 1 will bring much needed criminal justice reform to Ohio by changing sentencing for drug offenses and reducing the number of people incarcerated for minor possession offenses. While there are valid counterarguments to Issue 1, the legislature has failed to act thus far, and Ohio needs to move forward on issues of criminal justice. 

I have made these recommendations in the spirit of restoring balance to our government. Each one of these candidates has a plethora of more specific policy suggestions, and I recommend everyone research them before voting, but I believe they deserve your vote on that one quality alone. So please, go vote between now and Nov. 6 and bring along a friend who might otherwise not vote.

Jordan Griffith, a Contributing Writer for the Voice, can be reached for comment at

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