The people of southwestern Ohio are afraid. “I'm scared to death I'll lose my healthcare” lamented a 62-year old woman in Mt. Adams last evening. I hear the same concern in the voices of citizens in Amberley Village, Silverton, Anderson Township, Madeira, Milford, New Richmond, Georgetown, West Union, Hillsboro, Chillicothe, Waverly, and Portsmouth. Across Congressional District 2 everyone I meet tells me their story. The central theme of their stories is fear.
As a retired physician caring for the people of southwestern Ohio since 1989, I center myself with an open mind and heart, listening for the “heartbeat” of the person and her community. Identifying the problem and seeking a cure is what I've always practiced as a physician and continue to do as a private citizen and political candidate.
If we take the time to listen, what do the people of our district say?
Most fear losing access to affordable quality healthcare. Intuitively we all know that there is no “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” without a chance for good health. Even those folks comfortably ensconced in the privilege of golden corporate health insurance empathize with the health insecurity of their adult children or neighbors. Concern about a safety net for the vulnerable among us is important to most (especially those who attend Democrat meetings) but, surprisingly, disdained by the vitriolic elderly woman seated across from me at the Fayetteville Fire Department Fish Fry.
In addition to healthcare insecurity, across southwestern Ohio I hear concerns of widespread job insecurity, financial insecurity, environmental insecurity, educational insecurity, local services insecurity, peace insecurity, free press insecurity, social justice insecurity, Constitutional insecurity, gun violence insecurity, food insecurity, electoral insecurity... In other words, OUR GOVERNING LEADERS ARE FAILING US.
Senator Rob Portman and Representative Brad Wenstrup didn't start out to become villains, I'm sure. But when each made the decision to accept big money from corporations, powerful special interests, and the ultra-rich, they literally “sold their souls”. Their hands are tied by the checks in their back pockets and no amount of protest or phone calls will untie them.
The time has come to fire the Republican administration in the U.S.Congress and the state legislatures. In 20 months, November 2018, there will be a unique chance to rid ourselves of these “bought” politicians. It called a mid-term election. Please do something that, historically, few do—show up and vote!
But beware. Presently, new candidates are emerging to battle the status quo. Some arrive at the scene filled with personal ambition, ego, and a desire to rake in corporate donations. They have no track record of service to the community nor ability to listen to the needs of the people. Doesn't it sound like the same old thing?
To achieve leadership by quality elected officials we must identify and support quality candidates. Demand integrity, passion for the community demonstrated by a significant track record of service, ability to listen to constituents, innovative ideas, collaborative actions, and a fire within to fight for what's right. Those quality candidates will be asking YOU for support.
What does “support” mean?
If you don't wish your elected officials to accept special interest money then small donor investment is necessary to run a professional campaign. Mailings, advertisement, and a campaign manager are expensive. Log onto your candidate's website to start a $10-20 monthly recurring contribution over the next 20 months. http://EverhardforCongress.org
Volunteer to make phone calls and knock on doors to educate voters, become a precinct executive, attend parades, stuff envelopes, man the reception desk to forward phone calls, furnish refreshments, place signs, broadcast on social media, wear a campaign t-shirt at large events, and pass out literature.
VOTE! Every year. In the primaries and general elections. Update your ID and registration online or at the BMV. Vote during the early voting period (the month prior to the election) or by absentee ballot. Bring your neighbors, friends, your adult children, your elderly parents, and every person who wants to make a change to the ballot booth during early voting or on election day.
We the People, For a Change!