DCC Candidates Forum: Richard Cordray
Cordray says candidates can talk about Republican incompetence and corruption until they are blue in the face, but that won't get them elected unless and until people are talking about it in their communities. Republicans in Columbus have mismanaged our money - the coin investment was bizarre (no other government has ever done this), money was hidden in secret accounts, and now Republicans are trying to make up the losses by cutting benefits. Blackwell was Treasurer when all these abuses got started.
Cordray is running on his record as Franklin Country Treasurer. He has been recognized by national magazines, and he has safely collected and preserved the county's money. As State Treasurer, Cordray will be part of the team that manages State finances. The legislature may still be Republican, but Cordray expects the Democratic executive team to have veto power. The statistics about people leaving Ohio are terrible, much worse than other Midwestern states. The problem is the bad leadership in Columbus. Instead of solving problems, Republicans devise cynical, divisive social issues, such as banning gay adoption, which are not addressed to any real problem and solve nothing. Cordray will push hard on job creation and mandatory financial education in schools (to help people manage their money and debt), and will make Treasury operations more open and will not outsource Treasury functions, and will make sure that Treasury operations run properly.
Increasing the minimum wage will be on the ballot, and this is long overdue. The Republicans' action in recently raising the minimum wage to the still-too-low federal level shows that they are embarrassed, and embarrassment shows that they are ripe for defeat.
The TEL Amendment issue (Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell's proposed ballot issue to cap the growth of government funding) might sound good for five minutes, but once you learn more about it, it is terrible. Blackwell's own recent statements show that he doesn't fully understand his own proposal.
In the long term, Cordray supports public financing of campaigns.
Questions: As to school funding, Cordray points out that he is a lawyer and has taught Constitutional law courses at Ohio State University, in which he has taught students about this issue. The General Assembly has been rebuked by the courts four times on this issue. Cordray says we must prioritize expenditures, and must find a way to equalize poorer and richer counties as to their ability to finance education. It won't be easy.
On party discipline, Cordray does not believe in a muzzle, and (for example) objects to the Bush administration criticizing dissenters as unpatriotic. Democrats are not as unified in their message as Republicans, but their general focus on jobs and education is consistent. Cordray stresses affordable college tuition as an issue, and points out that Republicans have done nothing about it. Having an endorsed Democratic statewide slate is helpful.
Asked about Democratic candidate for Treasurer Hugh Quill, Cordray says that Quill is a good public official and a friend, but that Cordray should get our votes because of the accolades and praise he has won for the exceptional job that he has done.
Cordray's argument against the TEL Amendment (to cap growth in government spending): because we have been in a recession, this would be a terrible time to lock in government spending. There are times when government should make big investments in the future, and we can't afford to straight-jacket government with something like TEL. Also, TEL applies to local governments, and there it would interfere with the necessary ebb and flow of spending due to occasional large capital expenditures. It is a poorly thought out proposal, and the more it is discussed the more problems with it are recognized.
Cordray was a five-time Jeopardy champion back when there were "term limits" on the show.
Hugh Quill could not attend due to a family emergency, but a campaign spokesperson highlighted his candidacy: Quill is Montgomery County Treasurer; has won close, hard-fought elections there; and has risen in the ranks of the organization of county treasurers. The election of a Treasurer isn't a sexy thing, but it is tremendously important.