(Editor’s Note from Walker Evans: We originally planned to run side-by-side editorials from leaders at both the Franklin County Democratic and Republican Party Headquarters. After weeks of emails, phone calls, reminders, and deadline extensions, the Franklin County GOP informed us that they don’t have the time or resources to write something. To be fair to the Franklin County Democratic Office who DID take the time to write, we’re publishing their solo response to our question of which candidate is better for our city.)
There are nearly 350,000 women voters in Franklin County, almost 200,000 of whom live in Columbus. There is little argument that they will decide the Presidential election in Ohio or that many agree that the economy is the most important issue in this year’s presidential campaign. That helps explain why President Barack Obama has a well deserved advantage among woman voters.
President Obama’s record indicates his ongoing support for the rights of women to be paid the same as men for equal work. He signed the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009, which gives women more time to file wage-discrimination lawsuits. He also supports the Paycheck Fairness Act, which makes it easier for women to prove wage discrimination by placing the onus on businesses to show that differences in wages are business-related and not the result of sex discrimination.
President Obama also understands that women’s access to family planning and health services affect their economic and educational opportunities: The Affordable Care Act will add millions of women to the insurance rolls when fully implemented. It requires insurance companies to cover preventive care, like annual well-woman visits, and items like domestic-violence screening and breast-feeding supplies at no extra charge. As well as insurance plans that must cover the cost of mammograms, certain cancer screenings and prenatal care at no additional charge.
Ohio is the state with the second-highest number of auto related workers in the country, only behind Michigan, with one in eight Ohioans holding an auto job. The President’s rescue of the auto industry saved some 800,000 jobs that are directly or indirectly connected to the auto industry in Ohio, and the state has gained more than 13,000 industry-related jobs since June 2009.
As a matter of fact, Chrysler recently announced plans to spend $500 million to build a new version of its Jeep Liberty sport utility vehicle in Toledo and to add a second production shift and 1,100 jobs at the facility. Today, Tenneco suspension parts plant in Kettering and a Behr Thermal Products plant in Dayton as well as dozens of smaller shops continue to supply automakers with pieces and parts.
The rescue of the auto industry had a direct effect on Central Ohio. If GM or Chrysler had gone into bankruptcy numerous suppliers would have gone out of business, sending shockwaves across the industry. Even companies that did not get a direct benefit, such as Honda — say the auto rescue was the only viable option to avoid a cascade of bankruptcies and job losses. Many Columbus area workers are still employed as a result of President Obama’s decisive action.
And we can’t forget that when the economy was in freefall and we faced the real prospect of sliding into devastating depression, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act helped turn things around in Ohio by keeping things from getting markedly worse. The state used it to maintain existing commitments to social programs and capital projects. Programs and projects that would have been noticed only had they suddenly disappeared — which could well have happened without the Obama Administration’s intervention. The reality is that Ohio received some $3.5 billion in additional Medicaid payments, and more than 860,000 residents received expanded unemployment benefits. In addition, Ohio claimed about $8.8 billion for other projects, including public school systems, road projects and police departments.
That’s why Barack Obama is the clear choice for Ohio voters. He’s proven to be the best choice for women, children and Ohio workers. President Obama’s proposals will strengthen the middle class and put the economy back on track in a thoughtful and fair way. The other side can’t make the same claim.
Chuck Ardo is with the Franklin County Democratic Party. More information can be found online at www.fcdp.org.