This Stark County Political Report blog is "Part 1" of a multi-part presentation of a Jefferson Action (JA) "of, by and for the people" Renacci/Sutton project that The Report will be spreading out over the next week.
(Note: The Report will be publishing additional blogs on other Stark County political topics during the run on the JA event series)
For a grand total of seven days over a number of weekends (culminating on this Sunday - October 7th - Jefferson Action (LINK) has brought together a group of 24 citizens of Ohio's 16th Congressional District (with the 130th Congress which takes office in January, 2013) to become informed about the campaigns of Republican Jim Renacci (Wadsworth) and Democrat Betty Sutton (Copley) and at the end to evaluate their candidacies.
Both Renacci and Sutton are congressional incumbents. Renacci has represented the 16th congressional district for the past two years. Sutton has represented the 13th congressional district for the past six years.
They were thrown together because of U.S. constitutionally required (post-every-10 year-census) redistricting. Ohio lost population and correspondingly two congressional seats from 18 to 16.
The race is too close to call for political prognosticators.
And it is drawing the infusion of millions of dollars of outside-of-the-16th District political actions committees.
While it is unlikely that Republican control of Congress is at stake, it could happen but a more likely and realistic scenario is whether or not Democrats can narrow the Republican margin of control.
WHO IS JEFFERSON ACTION AND WHY IS THIS MINNESOTA NON-PROFIT INVOLVED IN OHIO?
First, take a couple of minutes to view this YouTube video produced by Jefferson Action in order to get an overview of what the organization is about.
Next, one should ask: why is Jefferson Action involved in projects of citizen education (the Renacci/Sutton project is the fifth such project) in pursuit of its mission? JA describes it mission as being:
a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to returning democracy to the people. Our mission is making the informed voice of everyday citizens heard — and making sure elected officials and politicians address the issues.Beyond the obvious and sincere civic aspirations of JA, the SCPR believes that the the 16th District was chosen because of:
Politicians spend too much time on attack ads and too little time listening to the people. Special interests have hijacked the debate and steered it into the gutter.
Jefferson Action offers a solution. Our Citizens Election Forums are a remarkable tool with a track record of satisfying the voting public’s hunger for action and accountability.
- the tightness of the race,
- the fact that two incumbents are running against each other,
- Renacci's loose association to right wing Tea Party movement and Sutton's "left-of-political-center" stance, and
- the respective Renacci and Sutton articulation/communication skills
A MODEL FOR ALL CITIZENS TO FOLLOW CLOSELY
The SCPR invites the readers of The Report to digest much of the information that was presented by Jefferson Action in the form of providing a framework (via Jefferson Action personnel, college professors and others) so that the citizen-participants were equipped and empowered to question both Renacci and Sutton, to mull over the answers, discuss among themselves the answers and to endeavor to come up with some sort of an evaluation of the candidates and their campaigns.
Of course, the SCPR will present (through the courtesy of Jefferson Action in the sense of making the Renacci/Sutton material available on its website which can LINKed to direct) the candidates in their presentations and a summary of the citizen-evaluations and The Report will offer an assessment of the candidates (parsing the video of their respective JA presentations), their campaigns and the citizen-evaluators assessments.
Due to the exhaustive work done by JA and the citizen-participants, as indicated above the SCPR will be spreading blogs out over seven days.
Stark County does have a direct stake in the outcome of the 16th District congressional race.
Moveover, following the JA Renacci/Sutton model will certainly put you in a position to critically evaluate your candidates and better able to make more persuasive arguments to your friends, neighbors, family and community members as to why they should support the candidate that you have become convinced is the best candidate.
WHERE TO START?
For starters, readers of this blog owe to themselves to take the time out to watch the Q&A between the citizens and the candidates.
Just as the citizen-participants invested considerable time in informing themselves,
Here is the Jefferson Action YouTube video of Congressman Renacci (the old 16th):
(Note: The SCPR took a video of the event and in breaking down the film by candidate point-by-point will be using said video)
And here is the Jefferson Action YouTube video of Congresswoman Sutton (the old 13th)
In Part II tomorrow, the SCPR begins an assessment of the candidates, their campaigns and the JA citizen-participant evaluation of the candidates and their campaigns.