Spring 2004 Tour
Indiana: St. Meinrad, Booneville
Illinois: Mt. Vernon, Oregon,
Arkansas: El Dorado
Mississippi: Europa, Starkville
North Carolina: Greensboro
Virginia: Waynesboro, Staunton
West Virginia: Beckley
Tours of 2004
Across the Heartland Tour
Spring Tour 2004
...10 states, 3,600 miles, and a bratwurst sandwich in Virginia
Joe talked at a Moral Theology class at St. Meinrad Seminary in St. Meinrad, Indiana. He said to the class that he is pro-life across the board. That is, he said he is against abortion, euthanasia, the death penalty, embryonic stem cell research. The Jasper (IN) Herald noted the candidates pro-life stance also sets him against poverty, pollution and anything else that can bring about premature death.
In Boon, Indiana, on Joes next stop, the candidate told Fox News he was running as a concerned parent. He said he was concerned about mounting levels of violence, drugs and sex in America. With the camera rolling, Schriner also told a group at 'Yesterdaze' Restaurant in Boon, that no matter how much he wanted their vote, brain sandwiches (an actual favorite menu item in southern Indiana) would not be served at his Inauguration dinner. I have my limits! Schriner laughed.
However, Schriner wasnt laughing when he caught up with another group in Mt. Vernon, Illinois on his next stop. Here the candidate walked in solidarity with a group of people from area churches during a Friday night protest-picket of a local Gentlemans Club that features exotic dancers. Rev. Ron Lash of Corinthians Baptist Church here told Schriner that the Club sends the wrong message to area youth and it was time the adults took a public stand.
And it is a stand of another sort that Bob Eddleman and other Knights of Columbus in Poplar Bluff, Missouri are taking. Eddleman told Schriner the Knights here spearheaded a drive recently to get a SAVE THE UNBORN gravestone designed and placed in front of Sacred Heart Church here.
Schriner told the Daily American Republic newspaper in Poplar Bluff that with abortion we are living in a modern day Holocaust.
The campaign then headed to Wichita where the night Schriner arrived, vice-president Dick Cheney gave a $1,000 a plate fundraiser at a posh downtown hotel here. The next morning, Schriner talked at Emilias Restaurant in Wichita for $4.50 a plate (and it was only that much if you got the bacon) event. Schriner talked to a Mens group from Hope Mennonite Church at Emilias, not about the campaign, but about a book hed recently written about his hometown: Americas Best Town (Bluffton, Ohio 45817). He explained his hometown is best, or at least one of the best, when it comes to civic participation, social justice outreach, diversity, environmental stewardship Often in America when we think best quality of life, we think affluence, climate, and so on, said Schriner. But shouldnt we be looking deeper than that?
After the talk, Schriner met with the director of a non-profit agency that is looking deeper at quality of life issues in the inner city of Wichita. Interfaith Ministries here has set up Go Zones, which are 15 block areas in the heart of the city. In each zone, churches from outlying areas twin with these inner city churches and with AmeriCorps volunteers to create a safety net network that the candidate said is one of the most creative models hes seen in the country.
Schriner then headed into Texas for a tour along Rt. 82.
He told a reporter for the Gainsville Daily Register that if we heal the family in America, we heal the country at its roots.
In Sherman, Texas the candidate met with Joan Smith, whose sons have been serving in the military in Afghanistan and Iraq. Later, when Mrs. Smith was interviewed by the Sherman newspaper about the likelihood of Schriner someday making it to D.C., she replied: They all thought Noah was crazy. And with that endorsement, Schriner continued east.
In Paris, Texas Schriner talked with city council candidate J.L. Nick Hammond who is running on a no-nonsense, basic platform. His campaign literature simply says he want to: Improve Basic City Services. And its getting back to basics, Schriner told Hammond, that his campaign was all about as well. Schriner explained for the past 12 years he has traveld America looking for basic, common sense people going the extra-mile to make a difference. And he wants to take these people to D.C. with him.
While in Paris, Schriner also picked up a postcard of a local museum to send to his friend Dale Way back in Bluffton, Ohio. (To put food on the table in between tours, Schriner will sometimes work with Dale, who is the town handyman.) Just the month prior, Dale had gone to Paris, France to visit the museums there. The candidate said he was torn between sending Dale the Paris, Texas museum postcard, or the Paris, Texas postcard picture of the Eiffel Tower with a cowboy hat on top. I hope the decisions in D.C. arent as tough, Schriner smiled.
Schriner then made a decision to drop down from Rt. 82 into Bastrop, Louisiana. Schriner told KTRY radio host Henry cotton there that modern farmers are using harmful chemical cocktails, in the form of herbicides and pesticides, that are tremendously depleting the soil and adding considerably to cancer rates across the country. The candidates agricultural platform calls for a sweeping shift to going back to growing organically and he has researched a number of models to help lead farming this way, en mass.
We headed into Mississippi, stopping first in Eupora (pop. 2,326). There we met with GlenMary Sister Alies Therese. (The GlenMary Sisters work throughout the rural south.)
Sr. Therese told me she has helped start a Friends & Neighbors project where town people, all town people (Hispanics, Blacks, Whites) are invited to weekly potluck, story telling, quilting to increase community building here. I also talked to Sisters GED class for the underprivileged, which is operated through her church, St. John Neuman here.
We then headed farther east, where I talked to a Catholic Student Association connected to Mississippi State University. I told the students, as president, I would work to end the U.S. Space Program. I told the students that we are spending literally trillions of dollars to explore Mars to see if there was ever any water on it, while children all over the world every day on this planet: are dying from drinking contaminated water in the Third World. Where do you think Jesus would put the money? I asked.
The next day on the personal website of the Catholic Student Associations Vocation Director, he wrote that I got him to thinking, social justice wise, about things in a light he otherwise wouldnt have. Note: The night I talked to the MSU students, their basketball team (ranked 4th in the nation) was playing the last home game of the season. I, light-heartedly during a prayer before the talk, asked God to consider letting MSU beat Vanderbilt by 10 that night.
A couple days later, a story appeared in MSUs campus paper The Reflector about my visit. One student at the talk told the reporter he was unimpressed, saying Id prayed for MSU to beat Vanderbilt. And we were playing Auburn, he said. Okay, maybe we do need some more consultants.
From Mississippi State University, we headed north to Greensboro College in North Carolina where I gave a talk to a Political Science class there.
Learning my lesson, I didnt pray about any of Greensboros sports teams, but rather talked about the current debate regarding: separation of church and state.
I said I didnt believe there should be a separation. I asked the class what a common sight is on every third, or fourth street corner in America. They said: churches.
I said if theres that many, that must mean spirituality is important to a lot of people in America. And if its important to a lot of people, wouldnt it make sense, average Joe common sense, that this spirituality influences government policy?
In Staunton, Virginia we had lunch and pressed some flesh in their downtown Brown Bag Express. Each week the menu changes, I was told. One of the employees, Tommy Tigert, who has strong political leanings he said, regularly proffers editorial comments on current affairs in between the list of food items. Whats more, each week there is a different theme (of all kinds) which the food items themselves reflect. For instance, this week was Shakespearean Week and one of the sandwiches was listed as: Et Tu Bratwurst.
While Tommy said he couldnt guarantee hed vote for me, he did say hed consider naming a sandwich, or two, after me. [And he made good the following week with: The average Brat for the average guy.]
Further into the mountains, we stopped in Beckley, West Virginia where we met with Fr. Samuel Malacaman who shares the same stance as us (and the Catholic Church) on one of the most debated issues of the day. Gay marriage.
He said in Gods Natural Order, man and woman were joined together for two things: the fostering of love and procreation. Fr. Malacaman said a gay union cant do the latter.
Also while in Beckley, I gave a short talk to the Ladies of St. Francis de Sales. I commended them on their work with Birthright to help end abortion, their prison ministry and the wonderful church library that they run. Having said all that, I paused, then I said something else. Something that, Im sure, will cost me a few votes in Beckley. I said just the day before Id met with a woman in Staunton, Virginia, who has been to Haiti twice as part of a sister church project. I told the women that this woman said here eyes had really been opened to the plight of the poor, and that she had been struck by how skinny most people in Haiti were because of lack of food. I then said to the group that, given this, I wondered if the $3,400 they were about to spend on a dishwasher for the church here was, oh, the best expenditure. I also said the $3,400 could go a long way in feeding some of those people in Haiti (Uganda, Biafra). And whatever happened to a little elbow grease and friendly community-building chatter while hand washing the church dishes anyway?
*I was just kidding earlier when I said earlier that we pander to everyone.
Summer Tour 2004:
Indiana: Shishewana, New Castle, Muncie, Decatur
Illinois: Tinley Park
Nebraska: North Platte
South Dakota: Brookings, De Smet, Rosebud Reservation
Wyoming: Rawlins, Rock Springs, laramie
Colorado: Julesburg, Denver, Arvada, Burlington
Utah: Salt Lake City, Wendover
California: Truckee, Morgan Hill, San Francisco
Pennsylvania: Edinboro, Union City, Cory, Warren
New York: Jamestown Gowanda, Buffalo, Batavia, Seneca Falls, Auburn, Utica, Fonda, Sarotoga Springs, Cobleskill, Oneonta, Corning
Vermont: Wilmington, Vergennes, Shelburne, Burlington, Montpelier, St. Johnsbury
New Hampshire: Lancaster, Berlin, Gorham, Concord, Warner
Maine: Sanford, Saco, Kennebunkport, Old Orchard Beach
Summer 2004 Tour
We launched a "Coast to Coast Tour."
In Shipshewana, Indiana (pop. 509), we toured a rather elaborate, and quite interactive, Amish-Mennonite Museum called "Menno-Hof." We learned, for instance, that Old Order Amish and Mennonites dress for simplicity, modesty and "their fashions never go out of style."
We stopped in Oregon, Illinois where, just a few days earlier, "higher than accepted" radium levels were found in a city well. The Byron Nuclear Power Plant is just north of here, incidentally. In a news release to the Oregon Republic newspaper I said we should be stridently questioning the merits of nuclear power and focusing a lot of effort on developing "green energy."
We did a whistle-stop even in Brookings, South Dakota. I told the Brookings Register newspaper that we should be making tangible amends to the Native Americans for, among other things, the land we stole. "If something has been stolen, you give it back -- no matter how many generations have passed," I said. I was also interviewed by the local ABC affiliate news this day as well.
In North Platte, Nebraska, I was interviewed by the North Platte Telegraph.
On the Rosebud Reservation in southern South Dakota, I talked wtih Pastor Ed Bausell of the Tiospaye Bible Baptist Chruch. He has worked among the Lakote Sioux here for the past 25 years.
In De Smet, South Dakota, we visited a "Little House on the Prairie" site. My wife Liz had read the kids all these books.
We did a whistle-stop event in Winnemucca, Nevada. I told the Humboldt Sun newspaper that I didn't want my children growing up in a world laced with pollution, global warming, ozone holes...
We stopped at the Historic Wendover (Utah) Airfield" where I met with Airfield manager Jim Peterson. This once "secret location" spans thee and a half million acres of desert and was used as a training base for bomber crews during World War II. Among these was the crew for the Enola Gay, who dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
We stopped in Cheyenne, Wyoming, not to campaign, but to go to the Wrangler Store. ("The place all the cowboys and cowgirls go," said a billboard.)
We stopped in San Francisco. We took in China town, then headed out to talk to people living on the streets here as we continue to research urban poverty in America.
Heading back east, we stopped in Lovelock, Nevada, where we passed out campaign fliers.
Back in Winnemucca, Nevada, we met with the mayor He said when he first became mayor 18 years ago, most streets were gravel, the downtown was a hodge-podge of residential trailers and the city government was lacking a bit of efficiency. Now he said the streets are paved, there is a solid, consistent downtown mercantile section and a much more well-oiled government.
Later in the day, I stumped at the Winnemucca Senior Center.
In Hebber City, Utah, we attended a seminar by a professor from Belerman University who talked about the life of the late monk, and author, Thomas Merton. The speaker said the Merton once wrote that war propaganda most always has it that: "The enemy's bombs are always from 'Hell,' while our bombs are always the instrument of 'Divne Justice."'
In Rawlins, Wyoming (pop. 9,000), I interviewed Dan Mika who runs the Parks Department and is on the Tree Advisory Board. He said Rawlins tries to be "hard on grass." That is, the area topography is high desert and green lawns waste water and chemical fertilizers, weed killers and pesticides are major sources of ground water pollution.
In Rawlins, I also met with Mark Williams, who is a fire expert with the Bureau of Land Management here. He said species diversity, and so on, is different for different forests in different parts of the country, and management should be tailored to fit each specific region.
I was interviewed by The Daily Times in Rawlins.
I met with Dave Chladeck, who teaches at the Cooperative High School in Rawlins for students struggling with regular high school -- because of pregnancy, drugs and alcohol, attention deficit disorder, oppositional behavior... The school uses a Boys Town Model that's short on reprimand and heavy on dialogue with the students. According to Chladeck, it works.
I met with Lauren Lambertson at the Bureau of Land Management in Rawlins. The Rawlins Field Office manages 4.2 million acres, which is hard to police. Ms. Lambertson said with the overgrazing of this land comes soil erosion and other eco-system damage.
We met with Robbie Goldman in downtown Denver, Colorado. he is part of a rather unique ministry called: Dry Bones (Book of Ezekiel). This is an outreach to the homeless youth in the city. We took a tour and met with some of the kids. Many here are into the "gutter punk lifestyle" that originally came out of L.A. and is steeped in drugs, prostitution and violence.
I gave a talk to members of a "Just Faith Group" at St. Joseph Catholic community in arvada, Colorado. I said we believed in a "consistent pro-life ethic" that has us not only concerned about ending abortion, but about ending conditions that lead to poverty, to pollution, to war, and any other things that can end life "prematurely."
We stopped in Burlington, Colorado, where we visited a quite impressive "Veterans Monument" adjacent to VFW Post 6491. Atop a stainless steel base with the names of area soldiers who have died in war, is an authentic Cobra helicopter acquired from the Department of Defense.
We stopped in Wilson (pop. 1,000) and the "Czech Capital of Kansas." There is a Czech dance hall downtown with the sign: "Czechs bounce."
We appeared on the front page of the Salina (KS) Journal. The reporter said we were "...bypassing the political parcheesi played by other candidates."
We stopped at the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in New Castle. In Indiana, basketball is a close second to: breathing. at the Hall, we learned the legendary James Dean, before he was a Hollywood "rebel," was a "rebel on the hardwood" fro the Fairmount (IN) Quakers in 1949.
In Decatur, Indiana (pop. 9,000) we met with Judge Jim Heimann and his family. Judge Heimann has been on the bench the past 14 years here, having run for office twice, literally. he said during his campaigns he has knocked on every door in his district, actually 'running' from door-to-door in a black suit -- and black tennis shoes.
We made a pit stop back in Ohio.
We did a whistle-stop event in front of a historic diner in downtown Edinboro, Pennsylvania. I also talked to jerry Caler of Edinboro. He made the Olympic Trials as a gymnast in 1964 and now volunteers at the Kid's Cafe here for latchkey kids, etc. He said perhaps the most poignant thing he's heard there is a youth saying: "Before I started coming down here, I didn't know you were supposed to eat three times a day."
In Warren, Pennsylvania, we met with Alan Kiser, a Constitution Party state coordinator, and candidate. Kiser has run for State Senator and for a House of Representative seat. He said his Party stands on Biblical values with a "Constitutional standard."
We participated in Warren, Pennsylvania's 4th of July Parade. We were also interviewed by the Warren Times Observer.
I toured the Phoenix House in Warren. it is a halfway house for men with drug and alcohol addiction. It was started by Jack Wells 18 years ago and is not connected to a county, or state, agency. Wells told me he estimates that some 500 men have come through here over the years and 50% have stayed sober.
In Warren, I also met with Vietnam veterans Gary Seymour and Joby McAulay. McAulay started the local chapter of Veterans of the Vietnam War, Inc. He also spearheaded the drive to get "The Moving Wall" (a 5/8th replica of The Wall in D.C.) to come to Warren recently. He said in this town of 9,000, there were 4,000 people there for the opening ceremony.
We headed north to Jamestown, New York, where we were interviewed by The Post-Journal there. I said I was concerned about violence in society, including to the unborn. In the evening, I met with Ken Vedder, 17, who has started a website for youth: teenpundit.com. His site offers space for political column and things like blogs for debates on such topis as religion, science, world politics, U.S. politics...
I did the WJTN "Jim Roselli Radio Show" out of Jamestown, New York. I said a key platform point of ours is: "You can't heal the country until you heal the family." Dr. Edward Hallowell, who was the next radio guest, and is a psychiatrist and instructor at Harvard University, leaned into the microphone and said: "That's right."
In Jamestown, I was also interviewed by Channel 8 News and then interviewed Dr. Rudolph Mueller who wrote the book: As Sick As It Gets (Healthcare in America). He said he's wrote the book because he's heard too many "horror stories" about healthcare in America. For instance, there was a woman who got a cut on her leg and it got infected. She didn't have healthcare insurance and waited, and waited... She developed gangrene and the leg had to be amputated.
In Gowanda, New York, I interviewed Officer Ron Russell. He bicycles a beat here as part of the town's Community Oriented Policing model. It's a throw back to the old days when officers walked a beat, and it is quite effective in fighting crime.
On the westside of Buffalo, in a rough neighborhood, we met with another doctor, Myron Glick M.D. He moved his family into the area and started the Jericho Road Clinic, using a minimal sliding fee scale. He helps because he believes it's his spiritual responsibility (he's Christian) to help.
We toured the Women's Rights National Historical Museum in Seneca Falls, New York. it was here in 1848 that the first Women's Rights Convention in U.S. history took place.
We stopped at the Harriet Tubman Home in Auburn, New York. Ms. Tubman escaped from slavery in 1849 from the Eastern Shroe of Maryland, then made 19 periolus trips South to help free some 300 other slaves from the "Jaws of Hell."
In Fonda, New York, I was interviewed by a reporter from The Amsterdam Recorder.
In Whitehall, New York, we learned this was the "birthplace f the U.S. Navy." In 1776, Congress ordered the contstruction of a fleet of ships here to counter an anticipated British invasion.
In Humberton, Vermont, we walked the grounds of the famous "Green Mountain Boys" battle. It was the only battle of the American Revolution that was fought totally on Vermont soil. The battle claimed 580 casualties, from both sides.
We met with Fr. Gerard Leclerc in Vergennes, Vermont. He was a priest in Bolivia for 20 years and said, except for Haiti, Bolivia is perhaps the poorest country in the world.
We toured the National Morgan Horse Museum in Shelburne, Vermont, today. The Morgan was the first horse bred in America. Later in the day, I told the Shelburne News that our platform calls for a return of the small family farm and a return to "small technology," like small tractors, these Morgan horses as plow animals (like they were used in the old days).
In Montpelier, Vermont, the state capitol, we met with Doug Wells, a represenative of Solar Works. He said across the country a type of solar system is starting to be installed where, once you've used what you've needed for the month, the excess goes back into the grid.
At St. Johnsbury House in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, I gave an impromtu "front porch" speech. The St. Johnsbury House is a home for seniors. I was later interviewed by the local Caledonian Record newspaper.
In St. Johnsbury, Vermont, I met with Fr. Joseph Towle who is a Maryknoll missionary and has spent the past 10 years filming the video series "Children of the Earth." He highlights youth from all over the world and proposes youth in America "adopt a country" each school year -- to bring the world closer together.
In East St. Johnsbury, Vermont, we met with Beth Ridley, a para-educator working with special needs children at the 3rd and 4th grade levels. She said the school employs a "team approach." For each student, there is usually some combination of a case worker, a physical therapist, classroom teacher, para-educator, mental health therapist... This apparently works quite well.
In Lancaster, New Hampshire, we talked with Dale Martin who works at the Common Grounds Cafe here and is a member of the "12 Tribes Community." The community members pray, eat, exercise, raise children, work... together. They, for instance, own the cafe and a number of other businesses around town. They are attempting to live as the early Christians lived. That is, living together (in three big homes) and sharing things in kind.
In Berlin, New Hampshire, I was interviewed by The Berlin Daily Sun. I said we'd like to see the education curriculum in America include at least one-third of the time being volunteer work out in the communtiy.
In Warner, New Hampshire, we talked with Joshua Miller. He, his wife and three children are part of the Samaritan Ministries Healthcare Plan. This is a Christian Health Insurance Group that has started up across the nation. He said because of the relatively large size of the group now, their family pays a comparitively low premium every month. And he said when someone in the network experiences medical problems, not only are they compensated financially, but a whole prayer network in the group kicks in as well.
I was interviewed by the Journal Tribune in Sanford, Maine.
We did somes stumping at the "Third Alarm Diner" in Sanford, Maine. It was started by a local firefighter.
As the final stop of the tour, we did a whistle-stop event at Old Orchard Beach, Maine. We then took the kids swimming in the Atlantic.
Buckeye Blitz Tours: Sept. 2004:
Cortland, Niles, Chagrin Falls, Bluffton ('America's Best Town'), Bowling Green, Portage, Vermilion, Loudonville, Mt. Vernon, Fairfield Beach, Lancaster, Chillicothe, Bainbridge, Peebles, West Union, Macon, Mineral Springs, Georgetown, Blanchester, Midland, Tiffin, Fostoria, Fremont, Marblehead, Kelly's Island, Huron, Bucyrus, Defiance, Cleveland, Haskins, Whitehouse (no, not that Whitehouse), Swanton, Yorkshire, Sydney, Tipp City, Wauseon, West Unity, Bryan, Nay, Sherwood, Deshler, North Baltimore, Springfield, South Vienna, West jefferson, Mechanicsburg, Urbana, St. Mary, Coldwater, St. Henry's, Greenvilel (hometown of Annie Oakley), Cincinnati, Piqua, Dayton.
Xenia, Yellow Springs, Degraff, Quincy, Nova, Sullivan, Lodi, Willard, Conneaut, Jefferson, Ashtabula, Rock Creek, Salem, Alliance, Canton, Cadiz (hometown of Clark ["Frankly I don't give a 'darn'"] Gable), Lisbon, East Palestine, Steubenville, Martin's Ferry, Cambridge, Marrietta, McConnelsville, Logan, Nelsonville, Athens, McArthur, Wellston, Hamden, Jackson, Bowling Green, Hicksville, Dayton (Remember the Wright Brothers?), Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland, Bluffton.