I just read where Joe Biden, colloquially referred to as "Middle Class Joe," just bought a $2.7 million beach house in Rehobeth Beach, Delaware with a picturesque vista of the Atlantic Ocean. This is one of the 'vistas' from our place. Uh, of the two presidential candidates, who would you consider more "middle class"?
Besides my other work, and in order to continue to afford my place with the panoramic vista, I recently started doing some part-time work for the Ada Herald newspaper as well. (Ada is a town 10 miles south of Bluffton.) One of my assignments is covering Ada's bi-monthly village council meetings. Our platform calls for a shift that would put more power back in the hands of local government.
I met with Brandon Fitzsimmons who works with a Jesuit non-profit that has set up a Soup Kitchen and shelters for immigrants at the Southern border. Our campaign has done three extensive Southern Border Tours over the years trying to learn as much as we can about the situation -- and continue to do so.
I recently did an article for the Ada Herald on these mothers. They are pictured here doing fundraising at an Ada High School basketball game. They are raising money for state-of-the-art "boots" that will lock classroom doors from the inside, making them almost impenetrable, "...during a school shooting." One mother said: "I know this isn't the total answer, but we had to do something." See our position paper on guns. Our campaign 'had to do something' as well.
While other candidates were doing $1,000 a plate fundraisers, I was eating a $1.29 McDouble and passing out campaign literature in Ottawa, Ohio's McDonald's. While stumping, I came across Bill Ranes, who is a Vietnam Vet. In fact, just the month before he had been featured on the nationwide magazine Vietnam for a tremendously courageous suicide mission that he and seven of his buddies lived through during the war. Our platform calls for these veterans getting as much help as they need, across the board. I mean, they risked everything for us.
Spent part of the late afternoon stumping at some coffee tables inside the Alger store with some area farmers. (One was 92-years-old, and still farms.) They told me several stories about their parents farming the onion fields around here during the Great Depression, and what a hardy, and ingenious, group of people they were. What's more, it was the bond they developed with their neighbors that helped everyone survive, they said. We could use more of that in the country these days.
This is a Professor of Criminal Justice at Ohio Northern University. I interviewed him for a newspaper article. He's developed a pretty creative, and impacting, class. Once a week students from ONU have a "round table" class with inmates at a local prison. The professor said that by the end of the semester his students are way more apt to see the prison population as more than just numbers. What's more, he said when the students hear the prisoners' stories, they often understand much better that there are all kinds of mitigating circumstances (poverty, parental addiction/abuse, and so on) that led to an incarceration. Our platform on crime is heavy on Restorative Justice that not only takes a lot of this into account, but prioritizes rehabilitation.
These two people are law students at Ohio Northern University. They are both from the country of Kosovo. I interviewed them for an article. The man said that there is considerable corruption in his country as it tries to transition to democracy. He said he wanted to get into the legal system there to do his part to try to bring reforms.
On the way to my son Jonathan's Regional Track Meet in Tiffin, Ohio, I stopped in the small village of Bascom where I stumped at the market here. I talked to one of the store clerks about the campaign. And it impressed her enough she said I could put some campaign cards near the cash register on the front counter. Who needs the million dollar advertising, huh. Yet another "campaign coup!"
Jonathan's 4x4 relay team did well enough in the Regionals, that they qualified for State. This is Jonathan posing next to the Jesse Owens bronze statue at the entrance to the Ohio State University track. [He's going to be the fastest "First Kid" in history.]
This is such a quintessential Americana small town scene... I covered the "Race for the Cure" annual event in Bluffton. The evening was quite moving. As an addendum, though: While we're 'Racing for the Cure,' we should be, in tandem, eliminating the things we know, or highly suspect, are causing cancer in the first place.
As I traveled the Buckeye State, I continued to put up campaign cards. This was a bulletin board at the Pelican Coffee Shop in Bucyrus, Ohio. Several years prior, I had given a talk to a morning breakfast group there of some 20 people. They were, for the most part, senior citizen men who colloquially referred to themselves as: "The Rusty Zippers."
I covered an Ada Village Council Meeting where a "Good Citizens Award" was given to a man who had called in a tip to police that resulted in the arrest of a man fleeing kidnapping charged in Texas. Ada employs Community Oriented Policing protocols, coupled with a citizens participation element that's quite affective. Our position paper on crime includes a similar type of synergy for towns across the country.
High profile Congress person Jim Jordan toured a local factory in Bluffton. I interviewed him afterward about international trade, immigration, and the domestic economy. (Just before the interview, Trump had been talking about "annexing Greenland." I aske Jordan, tongue-in-cheek, where he was at with that? He smiled.
This last year, I had been vying for the presidential nomination in the American Solidarity Party Primary process. This included multiple postings on Party Facebook streams about my positions, on-line debates (there were two other candidates), doing media interviews... At their Annual Midwest Regional Conference there was a debate between myself and one of the other candidates vying for the nomination, Brian Carroll.
In between the campaigning, the reporting, that's right: I kept on with my "Joe the Painter" work routine as well. This is a scene from a condominium complex on the west end of town. I was priming a porch here (Picasso from, not so much his cubism period, but rather 'rectangleism' period.)
I interviewed the coordinator for Ohio Northern University's "Healthwise Mobile Clinic." The clinic travels a three county area doing blood pressure tests, cholesterol screenings, and so on. What's more, they have a free vitamin program. Its these kinds of grassroots efforts, if replicated across the country, that would close some of the healthcare gaps.
I sat in on a "The Culture Project" presentation at the local Catholic Church. The Culture Project, sponsored by the Diocese of Toledo, talks to church youth groups about the sanctity of life, sexual chastity, helping the poor... all stuff the Catholic Church teaches.
I stumped at the Perry Street market, passing out campaign cards and getting a bologna sandwhich. That's right, while the other presidential candidates were doing steak at the Marriot, well... it doesn't get much more "populist" than this!
As I do regularly, I attended the Bluffton Chamber of Commerce monthly meeting. There was a presentation this day by the director (and a couple staff members) of a local agency called Victims Services. They talked about human trafficking, domestic violence, poverty... I wrote a story for the newspaper about it, and have researched each one of these subjects at length during our cross-country travels.