THE NEWS DEMOCRAT 2000
Ripley man finishes 19 month, 20,000-mile campaign tour of U.S.
November 12, 2000
It's a story that's captured the imagination of millions who, at one point, or another, have said: 'Gee, I could run the country better."
And now, independent presidential candidate "Average Joe" Schriner and his family have just returned to Ripley, after a '19-month, 20,000 mile Back Roads of America Campaign Tour. They have campaigned in hundreds of towns and have been in each state in the Continental US.
During Campaign 2000, the family's story has appeared in more than 200 newspapers, from the L.A. Times, Milwaukee Journal, Savanah Morning News... to the weekly Rising Sun (Maryland) Herald, circ. 2,000. They have also been featured on some 85 regional TV network news shows, National Public Radio, and so on.
"Joe Schriner is bypassing the political Parcheesi played by big name politicians," wrote Salina (Kansas) Journal reporter Nate Jenkins of the candidate's Americana theme, old-fashion "whistle stop" tour. A tour that wound over the Original 13 Colonies, Old Rte. 66, The Lewis & Clark Trail, the Old National Pike (Rte 40), amoung 9 tour legs in all.
Whether speaking at, say, a town square in Sharon, Conn., a gathering of Brigham Young University students in Provo, Utah, or informally at Mom & Pop's Restaurant in tiny Washington, Kansas, Schriner tells people he's simply an "average guy." An average guy, he says, who cuts his own grass, changes his kids' diapers, and eats at Mexican restaurants - because the chips are free.
"We're just an average family who wants to go to DC and do what we think is right," Schriner recently told Rock Springs, Wyo., newspaper reporter Amelia Holden.
Schriner describes himself as average height (5' 10"), average weight (155 lbs). He said he went to an average college (Bowling Green University in Ohio) where he got average grades (Bs and Cs). He said he has an average size family (4) who live in an average American small town. And he believes the power in the country should shift from big business and special interest groups, back to "average people."
As a journalist, Schriner said he spent most of the 1990s traveling America talking to some of the these "average people" who developed local initiatives to help, for instance, on the south side of Chicago, save the environment in Taos, New Mexico, heal families in Monterey, Calif. He said his plan is to take these "average citizens" to D.C. to inspire the projects from town to town across the country, "while at the same time uncomplicating the heck out of the federal government."
During the research and recent campaigning, Schriner said he got a good read on the pulse of what many of the average people in America want. He said they want a world that's a lot safer to raise kids - less drugs, violence, sex.
Schriner said average Americans want a world less polluted. He said the average American also wants more time for family and community, but are feeling over worked.
And Schriner said the average American wants to have a voice back in politics. That's what Phillip Nicolas wants. Schriner said he met Nicolas, 61, in Crawfordsville, Ind., last week. Crawfords-ville (pop. 13,584) is in the heart of "Average Joe America,"and Nicolas is your typical "average Joe," said Schriner. He's worked at a local plant for 40 years, also has two part-jobs, and his wife works as a school aid to make ends meet. They have five children.
Schriner said Nicolas told him he didn't like either main party choice for president year, too much big money, too many games. He lamented to Schriner the average citizen has indeed lost his/her voice in politics.
And, he said he would tell others about Schriner.
(For a closer look at the Schriner's travels, see their website at : www.voteforjoe.com.)