NEW BOSTON — Millions across the country tuned in for the Democrat National Convention this week, a virtual affair that ended in the presidential nomination of former vice president Joseph R. Biden. Paying particular attention was New Boston’s own Ryan Ottney, Chair of the Scioto County Democratic Party and Democratic candidate for the Ohio Senate 14 District seat.
Simply put, he found the four-day event to be well-designed, accounting for a wide range of voices on both ends of the political spectrum. Headlined primarily with moderate and progressive Democrats, some Republicans like former Ohio Governor John Kasich also expressed support for Biden.
“Even with the challenges we’ve had during this COVID year, I think they managed to put on a terrific convention with some excellent speakers,” said Ottney, remarking on Biden’s speeches, Bernie Sanders and Michelle Obama.
Moments like Brayden Harrington’s, a 13-year-old boy with a stutter who spoke on how the Democratic nominee had helped him through his struggles, gave Ottney hope for a Biden-led future.
“It was an inspiring and exciting event that showed how we can move forward,” Ottney said.
The decision to include conservative voices like Kasich, former secretary of state Colin Powell, and other members of the Bush administration, signaled to Ottney that perhaps more Republicans will jump ship this election. The latest Gallup Poll, however, suggests Republican support for the president has remained fairly consistent between 85% to 95% approval this year.
Inefficiencies and leadership problems within the Trump administration could draw more voters on the fence to vote Democrat, he projects, especially for those do not equate President Donald Trump with conservative values.
“I think it transcends party politics this year,” said Ottney. “They recognize the threat before them and they have to speak out against this because there have been too many Republicans who have remained quiet or have remained complicit in repeating the hateful lies and rhetoric.”
Although earlier endorsing the more progressive Sanders, Ottney will cast a vote for Biden as a vote against Trump. An outspoken critic of the president, Ottney does not see Trump as someone who cares for the real people of places like southern Ohio. Instead, he views him as a politician, only caring to please corporate special interests.
In an opinion piece with the Portsmouth Daily Times, Ottney wrote how Trump’s tax cuts from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 did not help working people and instead aided the wealthy and corporations. According to the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, the act lowered the corporate income tax from 35% to 21%, a permanent provision.
“They tell us on TV that the economy is so great, and we nod our heads assuredly and think, “any day now, that’s gonna trickle down to me,” wrote Ottney in the 2019 article. “But it never does.”
This aid for the upper class runs contrast to the narrative that the coronavirus stimulus money sent out to millions of Americans was too much, he said. Not agreeing to the Democrat’s Heroes Act kept hundreds of millions of dollars from the region, only fuels Ottney’s frustration.
“They’re giving billionaire corporations billions of dollars and they throw us a measly $1,200 and they act like it’s so great,” said Ottney. “If you really look at the two sides, you see the one side who is really working for regular people and then other side is just working for their special interests and corporate owners.”
Under a Biden administration, Ottney hopes to see an increased presence of progressive representatives and policies. Running as a social progressive, he believes increased minimum wage, universal health care and affordable, higher education will bring about positive change for the district.
“These things can improve our society, they don’t drain our society,” said Ottney. “They actually can improve and increase jobs. You’ll see lower crime rates, a healthier society and a more educated society.”
Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3501 ext. 1931, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.
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