Ohio2006 Blog

News, analysis, and comments on Ohio elections.

Thursday, August 31

Ohio House 92nd: Phillips (D) Meets the Bloggers

On Monday afternoon I attended a Meet the Bloggers interview with 92nd Ohio House District candidate Debbie Phillips (D-Athens) at the new MTB space in Cleveland's Tower Press Building. Phillips was accompanied by campaign manager Kyle Smiddie After the interview the two of them went to a fundraising event hosted by Rep. Mike Foley (D-Cleveland) and Rep. Mike Skindell (D-Lakewood) at Massimo da Milano, benefitting both Phillips and 58th Ohio House District candidate Matthew Barrett (D-Amherst). Also in attendance at the interview were George Nemeth and Tim and Gloria Ferris.

I wrote about Phillips previously here. She is a city council member in Athens, home of Ohio University, as well as the founder and executive director (now on leave) of the Ohio Fair Schools Campaign. She has long been dedicated to public service through organizing and advocacy, but her entry into politics is fairly recent. Part of her determination to become a State Representative stems from her experiences when bringing schoolchildren and parents to the General Assembly as part of the activities of the Ohio Fair Schools Campaign. She found that many legislators were more interested in posing trick questions to make the visitors look bad than in really hearing what the parents and children had to say about the problems with school funding.

Arts and cultural tourism are important in her area because of Ohio University and Hocking College in Nelsonville. Athens, she said, is like a "company town" with OU as the big employer. The university has spawned a number of successful high-tech enterprises.

Phillips reported that she hears more about health care than anything else when she goes door-to-door. I asked whether protecting the environment is on the minds of voters, and she said that there is a problem in southeast Ohio with contamination of water with C8, a Teflon byproduct, from DuPont manufacturing operations. Testing is underway to determine the extent of adverse health effects. There is also a problem with childhood asthma as a result of coal-fired power plants.

Phillips said that Ted Strickland is very popular in her district (most of which is also in the 6th Congressional district), so part of her campaign message is that Strickland needs good people in the General Assembly. Strickland advocates public investment in clean energy technologies (wind, solar, bio-mass, ethanol, and clean coal) that will boost the Ohio economy and bring jobs. This resonates in her district because there's so much coal and agriculture, and Ohio University is a resource of research and development projects.

We spoke at considerable length about school funding. Phillips has a detailed knowledge of the issues and the challenges in that tangled area. She said that although various studies have been done, none have determined the cost per student of providing quality education. Therefore, this is something that must be accomplished first before the problem can be resolved.


At 12:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For Immediate Release
Contact: Jesse Derris, Ken Sunshine Consultants – (212) 691-2800

Sundance Film Fest Award-winning documentary
'AMERICAN BLACKOUT' Opening in Cleveland, Ohio

Winner of the Special Jury Prize at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival and hailed as "powerful" and "engrossing," director Ian Inaba's searing documentary feature American Blackout will open for an engagement in the Cleveland area September 8th-15th at the AMC Magic Johnson Randall Park Mall 12. The release is part of a nationwide theatrical rollout and grassroots DVD effort first launched in Atlanta.

Recently featured in the New York Times, American Blackout is a multi-year effort that chronicles the recurring patterns of minority disenfranchisement witnessed in the 2000 and 2004 elections.

American Blackout gains unprecedented access to one of the most controversial and dangerous politicians in America and examines the contemporary tactics used to control our democratic process and silence political dissent.

This film is a perfect hook for a feature looking at these formidable voting issues as we approach the 2006-midterm elections in November and with the recent debate in Congress over the renewal of the Voting Rights Act. It serves as an alarming wake-up call for voters that forces are actively conspiring to co-opt and even steal their votes.


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