I forgot to bring my tripod to this event, and didn’t even look for my camera which was in the bucket, so instead I used my phone to make a podcast. Tom McMasters did have his camera, and said he’d share his video, but his battery died during the questions, which were the most interesting part. I counted 45 to 50 people in the room and this time, they seemed to be mostly voters- not candidate entourages. The differences with this event were that they had an MC to read your bio before you spoke (unfortunately Sharen Neuhardt wasn’t there- because then she would have had to spend five minutes actually saying something since her typical campaign speech is her bio and nothing else) and that the questions from the audience weren’t filtered and were real issue questions. Ryan Steele, Olivia Freeman and me (David Esrati) were in attendance as was David Harlow. Mack Van Allen was a no-show again.
As often happens, the official timer was ignored- especially on the responses to the questions which were supposed to be :30 each. In honesty, you need at least a minute to say anything intelligent most of the time.
Since Fayette County is split into the 10th and 15th now, both sitting Congressmen, Steve Stivers and Mike Turner sent proxies from their offices. Turner’s proxy, Rob Secaur, didn’t speak for him, but did respond during the Q and A, Stivers’s proxy, Grant Shaffer, wasn’t so shy and did speak- mostly about how Stivers can’t be blamed for the gridlock, since he’s only been there 13 months. The Two Democrats running against Stivers didn’t come. It’s interesting that Turner sent a proxy to this event, and not to any other.
This was the second time David Harlow, the Libertarian candidate, spoke, and this time he did much better, although he’s still trying to channel Ross Perot. I sat next to John Anderson, who leaned over to me and thanked me for the fair writeup I gave him after I’d met him for the first time. I think he’s flattered by the John Wayne comparison.
The speeches were five minutes each, give or take. You can see the video that Tom McMasters shot of the 4 Dems and 1 R here: http://esrati.com/the-democratic-monarchy-of-montgomery-county-endorsed-dirty-money-tonight/8253/#comment-77365
The Fayette County Dems on Facebook warned us not to attend- that they can come hear us at a “Democratic event” which they are holding tonight, a dinner, that costs $15 per head to attend. For the record, I believe democracy happens where all views are welcome and it’s done in public- preferably without a door charge :-) I’ll be there with my family tonight.
By far the most interesting questions and answers, the most defining, were the ones about our rights being taken away via the Patriot Act and NDAA, “ObamaCare” and the “Department of Education/ what department would you cut” question. The what would you do for Fayette County question is the kind of question I despise- because it’s my belief that as national representatives it’s our job to do what’s right for the entire nation, not one group or another.
The Turner rep had a difficult job since Turner voted for the Patriot Act. You’ll have to listen to the podcast to hear the answers, I didn’t take enough notes to properly report on these for you.
For the record, I’m very worried about our civil rights being methodically stripped from us. I don’t think that videotaping police officers should be illegal, nor should peaceful protests. As the only person to be arrested and prosecuted on a first amendment case– by Mike Turner- I believe I’ve proven myself long ago as a protector of our first and fourth amendment rights.
My position for national, single payer health care instead of legislating legitimacy for health insurance companies wasn’t well received. I still stand by my statement that my Father (Dad on the comments) and I get much better care via the VA as Service Disabled Vets than we got with private insurance health care- and he used to get his treatment at the Cleveland Clinic.
The call for smaller government is one I agree with. But, the Department of Education, if run well would not be one I would cut. I think it’s time to change a lot of things in our public education- a longer school year, moving to entirely paperless systems, from open source e-textbooks to 100% online testing tools. If we don’t have every student with a laptop/tablet and full-time internet connectivity in the next four years, we’re doomed. The nonsense about charters, home schooling, vouchers and blaming teachers’ unions as the root of our failing public education system is a distraction. The root cause of under-achieving students has more to do with the economic condition of their parents than the schools they attend. When we return incentives to hire Americans into jobs that pay well, we will begin to see improvement in our schools. See my 35 to 1 pay ratio solution to fix this.
Had the question about what are you going to do for Fayette County been more specific- I would have had a better answer. It was sad hearing that in Sabina, 100 of the 400 homes were vacant due to foreclosure. Bringing back Glass-Stegall will help. Changing the responsibilities of the banks when they kick out the people will help too (see my Foreclosure video). I’m not a fan of pork projects and I believe that if we take the money out of politics, send the lobbyists home, and ask the Congressmen to write their own laws, we’ll be back to 6-page bills instead of 2,000-page ones. Our government is broken- as we all agreed in response to the very first question from the answer- the real question is, which candidate is going to give you the best representation in Congress, unfettered by the need to sell out to raise a million dollars every cycle, and willing to share his experiences with you daily?
None of these other candidates have spent the time I have sharing and discussing the issues with you. It’s up to you to decide who is the most committed.[podcast]http://esrati.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Fayette-County.mp3[/podcast]
Link to Record Herald article about the event (note, the Washington Court House Record Herald is the only newspaper that has covered this race).