Articles

THE PRESS 2002

 

By Tammy Walro
Staff Writer


OREGON - In a world where most everyone strives for "more" and "better," being average has seemed to take on an almost negative connotation.

 

However, one Ohio man is proud to, be average and feels being the "average Joe" will I give him the insight and empathy to be a good leader for the rest of the Average Joes and Janes that populate America.

 

So he's taking his "average platform" and making a run for the Oval Office.

 

Joe Schriner is quick to point out that he boasts an average height (5'10"), and average weight (155). He went to an average college (Bowling Green State University), where he got average grades. He has an average size family (two kids) and lived in an average Midwestern small town (Ripley, Ohio).


Schriner says he got the idea to run for president after traveling the U.S. as a journalist, interviewing "average" citizens who were going that extra mile to help their community's kids, their poor and their natural environment. "And I thought, wouldn't it be, nice to have some of these rather regular, common sense-type people leading the country and inspiring similar projects in similar towns everywhere?

 

The thought of having his children, Sarah and Joseph, inherit a polluted world plagued by acid rain, ozone holes and global warming also troubled him and his wife, Liz, Schriner said.

 

After settling in Ripley, the Schriner wrote a weekly column for two local newspapers, looking at local issues, such as pollution or the need for low income housing, and suggesting potential solutions to the problem.

 

Schriner's platform calls for more neighbors helping neighbors" programs at the grassroots level...

 

"After a year of seeing whether the projects could actually work in Ripley, and they could, it was time to run for president - of the United States," he said.

 

In 2000, the family set out in a 1974 conversion van on a 19-month, 20,000 mile campaign tour of the country. They operated on a shoestring budget financed by donations, meeting people and stumping for votes. They are compiling their experiences for an upcoming book, "The Back Road to the White House."

 

Though his bid for election was unsuccessful, he wasn't deterred. The family hit the road Again May 17 of this year on the "Campaign 2004" tour.

 

Schriner made a campaign swing through the area this week on his statewide tour of the 1,300-mile Buckeye Trail. He stayed with Tom and Diane Powers in Oregon where he met with the Powers' daughter Patrice Powers-Barker, a program assistant for the Ohio State University Extension and project Neighborhood Community Gardening.

 

Powers-Barker filled Schriner in on the program, which has helped inspire some 40 community gardens throughout the Toledo area. Among these is an inter-faith community garden maintained by people from all different denominations.

 

"I was told this food isn't sold, but rather given away to those less fortunate," Schriner said.

 

The candidate also toured a community garden at St. Louis Church in Toledo, where much of the food grown at the garden is given to a soup kitchen connected to a church outreach program.

 

Schriner's platform calls for more neighbors helping neighbors" programs at the grassroots level and he said both these programs are excellent examples of this, he said.

While in the area, Schriner and his family took some time to visit the Close Encounters of the Bird Kind Show at the Toledo Zoo.

 

"My hope is to take some other 'average Joe' citizens to D.C. to inspire the nation and uncomplicate the heck out of federal government," he says.

 

One of the birds the show featured was a peregrine falcon, which a narrator explained, has just been taken off the, endangered species list because of ardent conservation efforts. "My platform also calls for the saving, and restoration, of as much wildlife habitat as possible in the country," Schriner said.

 

"I believe our role as humans is not to necessarily tame all of nature, as to learn from all of nature."

He, added he found the zoo bird show's ending by narrator Emily Insalaco insightful - "We 've not inherited this earth from our parents; we're borrowing it from our children," she said.

 

Over the coming weeks and months, Schriner will be on the road, concentrating on Ohio for the next year, and then spreading out throughout the Midwest and then beyond.

 

"My hope is to take some other 'average Joe' citizens to D.C. to inspire the nation and uncomplicate the heck out of federal government," he says.