Ohio2006 Blog

News, analysis, and comments on Ohio elections.

Tuesday, August 8

Ohio House 67th: Ruppert (D) Pledges to Introduce Military Family Bill of Rights

The campaign of 67th Ohio House District candidate Jeff Ruppert sent me an email announcing an intriguing campaign pledge. Ruppert explains that men and women in the military "are facing new and difficult challenges," especially National Guard and Reservists "who have been called up for long periods of active duty in some of the world’s most dangerous combat zones." Unlike troops in past conflicts "who were mainly composed of single draftees," the modern all-volunteer military "is comprised of a majority of married personnel who have children." Many military families "fall well below the poverty line; in fact, the average soldier falls into the bottom 25% of American wage-earners." Also, "military families are most vulnerable when a wage earner is sent overseas," falling prey to "predatory lenders and financial schemes in their attempt to make ends meet." These families "deserve a renewed commitment by Ohioans and Ohio government to provide the security and support they deserve."

Accordingly, Ruppert is pledging to introduce an Ohio Military Family Bill of Rights during his first days in office. This would be modeled on the Military Families’ Bill of Rights created by Kentucky State Treasurer Jonathan Miller and passed in April, 2005. It provides that:
* Every military family shall be provided free, comprehensive financial education;
* No military family shall be subjected to predatory financial practices;
* All military families shall have access to counseling and emotional support when a family member is deployed, activated, or killed or disabled in action;
* Every military family shall be provided a safety net to protect them from a life of poverty;
* The spouse of a service member shall be able to take reasonable leave when his or her spouse has been deployed and shall be freed from administrative red tape to earn a living;
* Adequate and appropriate death benefits shall be provided for all veterans and members and retirees of the Reserve and the National Guard;
* The right of every National Guard member or Reservist called into active duty to receive supplemental income shall be encouraged through tax incentives to private employers and through state tax deductions for active service;
* Veterans and members of the National Guard and Reserve shall receive adequate and affordable health care for their entire lives;
* Job preferences for veterans shall be provided by the state and encouraged through tax incentives to private employers; and veterans shall be protected from penalties due to time spent in service; and
* Military families shall receive access to affordable higher education and occupational training, and shall receive help in identifying and obtaining other benefits that are available to them.
As Ruppert notes in his message, no matter what your view about the Iraq War, this kind of support for our troops and their families back home is something about which everyone can agree. I would love to see Democratic candidates all across Ohio join Ruppert in this pledge.

The 67th District is located in very conservative Warren County, just northeast of Cincinnati. Incumbent Rep. Tom Raga (R-Mason) is vacating this seat to run for lieutenant governor as running mate to Secretary of State Ken Blackwell. Ruppert, an attorney, is opposed by Republican party insider and former legislative aide Shannon Jones (R-Springsboro).

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