Delaware County residents received the opportunity to quiz Green Party gubernatorial candidate Constance Gadell-Newton, Ohio 12th Congressional District candidate Joe Manchik, and Ohio’s 19th Senatorial candidate Gary Cox on their viewpoints of current issues. All three candidates are up for election on Nov. 6.
The Green Party sponsored the town hall meeting Saturday evening at the Delaware Community Center YMCA/Ohio Army National Guard Readiness Center, 1121 S. Houk Road in Delaware.
Vietnam veteran and Ostrander Mayor Larry Crile, R, said it was an honor to moderate the event, though it had a limited turnout. He has been mayor of the small Delaware County community for 12 years.
“I’m actually used to limited groups. I prefer that,” he said. “I am very proud of the fact that I served in the military and served in the Vietnam War. When you basically lay in your own blood in defense of everybody’s right to speak, because that’s the process of the Constitution of government, I would be very hypocritical if I did not support and defend everybody’s right to have an opinion.”
According to ohiogreen.org, the Ohio Green Party’s key values are grassroots Democracy, social justice, equal opportunity, ecological wisdom, nonviolence, decentralization of wealth and power, community-based economics and economic justice, feminism and gender equity, respect for diversity, personal and global responsibility, and future focus and sustainability.
The first topic of the evening was the weakening of home rule by federal and state governments through funding cuts to local communities.
Gadell-Newton said she is a community activist and practicing criminal defense attorney and guardian ad litem in Franklin County, representing the best interest of children, defending the rights of low-income families, the rights of citizens against government oppression, human trafficking victims, and those struggling against drug addiction. She is co-chair of the Ohio Green Party.
Gadell-Newton said local people should be the ones who decide and not the federal or state governments.
“One thing we talk about is increasing local government funding,” she said. “We’re for community bills of rights. “We want communities to be able to decide whether big polluters are going to come and pollute the water or to keep them out. We want local control for our communities over a lot of the issues.”
Cox is an attorney who has worked for the Ohio Attorney General’s Office prosecuting corporate polluters. He helped form the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund and was once an organic vegetable farmer who supports a sustainable agriculture of Ohio farmers feeding Ohioans, instead of exporting overseas.
Cox said the more local the government, the more accountable it is.
“They decide if they are going fracking, how they’re going to have sewer sludge disposed of or if they’re going to have busing or going to have whatever the issue is instead of some top-down centralized government that sits in Columbus making decisions for all the townships and municipalities,” he said, giving the example of genetically modified seeds (GMO). “We don’t GMO seeds planted in Franklin County because they may drift, they may contaminate organic products, so we don’t want that in Franklin County. We don’t want the (Ohio) General Assembly to step in saying it’s a state concern and preempt the local decision.”
Manchik said he is running for Congress to take America back from the corrupt corporations. He owns and operates Manchik Engineering & Company, and he attended the Ohio Institute of Technology, which is now DeVry University.
Manchik said the local community should be the ones deciding on the local issues.
“Right now, there’s legislation being passed all the time to outlaw local control,” he said. “The main problem is all the corporate cash involved in politics today.”
Manchik said he is in total disagreement with the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizen United v. Federal Elections Commission, a landmark Constitutional law ruling in the regulation of campaign spending by large organizations.
“It basically legalized bribery throughout all three branches of our federal government and state legislature as well,” he said. “Corporations can come in and buy up the legislators to get the legislation passed to increase their corporate profits. That’s what controls our government.”
Manchik said there needs to be an Amendment added to the U.S. Constitution to reverse the ruling by the highest court in the land.
“We have the best government that money can buy,” Cox added to Manchik’s comment.
All three candidates stated that it is the policy of the Green Party that candidates do not accept corporate donations.
Other issues that the three agreed upon and support are Issue 1, universal health care with treatment options for people with mental health and substance abuse issues instead prison time, uniform funding for schools and extending the idea of a free education to include pre-K and college, and renewable clean energy. Manchik said he is not in favor of nuclear power, and he pointed at Chernobyl and Fukushima as examples.
Manchik added one solution to universal health care is U.S. House Bill 676, which would establish free health care for everyone but is stalled “because the Republicans and Democrats won’t talk about it.”
“It’s the same health care plan as Medicare and what Congress gets,” he said. “I would co-sponsor it and vote for it.”
For more information on the candidates, visit https://www.constanceforohio.org/ for Gadell-Newton, http://www.ccv.org/wp-content/uploads/Voter-Guide-Response-Gary-Cox.pdf or https://ballotpedia.org/Gary_Cox_(Ohio) for Cox, and https://ballotpedia.org/Joe_Manchik or https://www.facebook.com/JoeManchikForCongress/ for Manchik.
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.