Ohio’s up for debate
Tonight’s debate outside Columbus gives the candidates a chance to focus on the challenges and assets of this state. This will provide insights that could improve lives everywhere.
It’s tough for strapped moderators to choose among countless essential topics. The first three debates emphasized health, guns, immigration, racism, schools, and our endless wars – important issues all. Today’s should explore some new themes.
Ohio’s a good place to sharpen focus on issues that matter in the heartland and elsewhere: families, jobs, climate, and a brighter tomorrow. Here are six questions moderators could raise today in Westerville:
1. Many jobs that built our communities are gone. We can transition displaced workers into new occupations like insulating schools and homes, upgrading our electrical grid, and building wind turbines. We could also employ people teaching preschool, caring for America’s grandparents, and counseling those trying to stay out of prison. Past jobs were strengthened because working people, backed by policy and unions, fought to make them good. How will you create new public jobs, spark private jobs, and ensure all jobs are good?
2. The United States defers to moneyed interests in ways that make our careers lower-paying, financial products more predatory, food less safe, communities less secure, and public goods less well-funded. Predatory financial interests hurt families of all races and particularly target black communities, elderly people, veterans and students. How will you restrain corporate power and make policy less about enriching the top and more about meeting people’s needs?
3. Women’s reproductive rights are jeopardized with states restricting access to abortion, birth control and good medical information. Families are challenged by America’s stubborn refusal to provide childcare, paid leave, and eldercare. How will you ensure that people can create families on their own terms (or not at all), and take care of each other through good times and bad?
4. Despite industrial job loss, 13 states have more than 10% of their workers in manufacturing. The share is even higher in Ohio. We can strengthen this sector, reduce its impact on climate change and sustain these jobs by promoting industrial energy efficiency. How will you reinvigorate American manufacturing while tackling global climate change?
5. Climate deserves its own debate, but Ohio is paying for ignoring climate change. Our sprawl-without-growth means using more energy (and money) to get around and maintain infrastructure. This saps urban vitality and depletes carbon-absorbing green space. Ohio will be more resilient than many places in the face of climate change because of our great lake. But fertilizer run-off and hotter temperatures threaten Lake Erie, our most precious resource. How will you slow climate change, increase urban vitality, and protect our beautiful and important waterways?
6. The Trump tax cuts cost $324 billion, half of which went to the wealthiest five percent of earners. Earnings from capital gains are taxed at a much lower rate than earnings from work. America’s low tax rates make it impossible for us to pay for the things our communities, families, and ecosystem need. How would you change our tax system to finance a better tomorrow?
Ohio and the U.S. are more educated and productive than ever before. Like the rest of the country, we have fewer factories and more craft beer, fewer local stores and more Amazon warehouses. It’s harder to get by with just a high school degree, but like people everywhere, we want to welcome new neighbors, give our families what they need, and move forward ourselves, whatever comes our way.
Like all Americans, we’ve adapted in Ohio, weathering past economic, family and environmental transitions to emerge better in many ways. The real question for aspiring presidents is this: How will you ensure the scrappy people of our state and our country can solve new problems and continue to forge a better Ohio, a better America, and a better world?