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  • Shane Hoffman

The Campaign Promise

Our government is broken. We see this every day. Turn on the news, go to your favorite social media site, or open your newspaper. Hyper-partisan politics has created a near perpetual gridlock, even when quick and decisive action is required. The two parties seem more intent on gaining victories over one another than they are about making a better America.

As a member of the American Solidarity Party, I subscribe to the “Common Good, Common Ground, Common Sense” mantra. This means that our politicians need to spend more time seeking common ground. As President Kennedy said, “Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.” We need to work together to get that done. Rather than spend more time on mantras and quotes, I will simply lay out a list of the many reforms I would seek to pass through congress if entrusted with that responsibility by the voters of the buckeye state.

  1. Election reform

  2. Federal gerrymandering reform - We cannot allow politicians to draw political boundaries. It has created, in both Democrat and Republican controlled legislatures, boundaries designed to protect the power of the party rather than to reflect the will of the people.

  3. Ranked Choice Voting - People often refuse to vote for third party or independent candidates not because they don’t prefer them, but because they’re more afraid that a less desirable candidate will win if they don’t vote for the other major party’s candidate. Ranked choice voting is a huge step in getting rid of “the spoiler effect”. You rank the candidates in your order of preference. If no one has more than 50% of the vote, the candidate or candidates with the fewest first-place votes are eliminated and votes are re-tallied. This goes on until someone has obtained a majority. In addition to ending the spoiler effect, it can help eliminate costly runoff elections.

  4. We must modernize our election processes. It is an embarrassment that the greatest nation on the face of the Earth can’t use modern technology to perform one of its most important functions, electing its leaders. Other countries have been holding safe, secure, and modern elections for decades. Why can’t we? The 2020 election was NOT stolen. Regardless, we must modernize and create a fair, moral, and modern system.

  5. Investing in our most vulnerable.

  6. If you add “Children are our future” to “Hungry kids can’t learn”, you’ll recognize that feeding hungry children is not a handout, it’s an investment in our future. There are a couple of great bills in the works now. The recent Keep Kids Fed act was a great start. The Healthy Meals, Healthy Kids act is another great potential step, if passed. What these bills both lacked was a measure to ensure one of the smartest things done during the pandemic. Neither ensured that every kid in America would continue to receive a free breakfast and lunch at school. Hungry kids don’t do as well as their well fed classmates. That disparity shows up in many long-term and costly issues from addiction to absenteeism to chronic illness, incarceration and more. This investment will pay for itself over time in reductions to the safety net, increased productivity, and increased opportunity.

  7. Inflation is making it impossible for many families to make ends meet. One of the key areas this felt most is when families can’t feed themselves. Can we expect hungry people to be as productive as their well fed coworkers? Can we expect them to be fully invested in their work when they’re worried about their children going hungry? No. There are many federal programs from SNAP to WIC and other; less familiar acronyms that help feed our people. We must increase funding to these programs and invest heavily in our food banks. They are the front lines in the battle against hunger. This is another area where it should be a national embarrassment that we are not already doing a better job of this. There are underlying factors that need addressing as well, and we will discuss those later. In the meantime, we have to stop the bleeding.

  8. I will sum these up simply: Healthcare, education, affordable housing, living wages. How can a person experience a whole life without the basics? The answer is, they can’t. We have to fix that. How? I’m glad you asked.

  9. It’s the Economy, Stupid!

  10. For the last fifty plus years, the major parties have been deconstructing all of the safeguards put in place after the Great Depression. Men like Wright Patman worked very hard to undo the excess and greed in our system that created the conditions that brought the United States and the rest of the world into a global recession. Ever since then, the safeguards have been slowly chipped away and we have returned to the brink a mere hundred years later. The short sentence to end this statement: We need REAL anti-trust measures restored. This means renewed investment in the anti-trust department. This means breaking up the big banks. This means unwinding the mass consolidation of industries that saw shortages of food happen because just one plant got shut down. We need more cooperatives and fewer mega-corporations. Let’s keep money on Main Street, not Wall Street.

  11. The economy should exist to support people, not the other way around. You deserve to be at the heart of things, not at the feet. This means we need to find ways to invest in our people. We need family friendly businesses. Paid time off for the birth of a child or to care for a parent, spouse or other dependent. We need everyone to have sick time available.

  12. Above all, we need to tackle the fact that no corporation should be raking in record profits while their employees cannot make ends meet. This is a nearly unparalleled evil. Shareholders should not be getting richer while forcing their workers onto the welfare roles. An honest day’s work deserves a living wage. That is a wage that allows a person to eat a healthy diet, sleep in a warm, safe home, receive appropriate and timely health care, and have enough left over for a little entertainment and to provide the same for their family. That is not too much to ask.

We can make these changes. It won't be easy, but I promise you I will fight for these and maintain a scorecard of my activity in these arenas for you to check in on. I'm stepping into the breech. I need your help. Are you ready?

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