Friday, June 03, 2005

Candidate Jean Schmidt

Update 11/23/2005:

This post is getting a lot of hits from individuals seeking information on Congresswoman Jean Schmidt. You're invited to view the catalog of posts on Jean Schmidt at Porkopolis on Congresswoman Jean Schmidt.

Porkopolis is attempting to contact and interview, time permitting, all the Republican primary candidates for the open Ohio 2nd District Congressional seat. This first interview conducted was with candidate Jean Schmidt.


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The Club for Growth (TCG) is running a radio ad (MP3 audio) against Ohio 2nd Republican primary candidate Jean Schmidt. Porkopolis contacted Ms. Schmidt to get a better understanding of why TCG is going to such an effort to oppose her candidacy. The ad's primary claim (pun intended) is that Ms. Schmidt would be "another Republican that votes like Democrats".

One reason for this, the add claims, is her support of the 20% Ohio Sales Tax increase in 2003. The ad also claims that she opposed efforts to keep property taxes down, that she voted to increase State spending by more than $3 billion and that she doesn't support Rob Portman's and President Bush's free trade policy.

Ms. Schmidt was not immediately available when initially contacted, but was kind enough to return a call placed to her. We discussed two of the claims the ad makes and her thoughts of the Federal budgetary process; a topic near and dear to Porkopolis.

Ms. Schmidt shared that no one from The Club for Growth contacted her and gave her an opportunity to address the ad's claims before it was aired.

Porkopolis has contacted TCG addressing this oversight. Porkopolis believes that any target of a political ad should be given an opportunity to address the claims of the ad before it's run; particularly if it attacks a fellow Republican. Readers of this blog know that Porkopolis does not hesitate in calling out a fellow Republican when warranted. But unlike the Porkopolis blog which has a comment section and peer review, a radio ad is a one way broadcast. It also would be a good thing if the Club for Growth backed up its claims in the ad with detail information on their site.

A point of full disclosure for the reader: While Porkopolis is a registered member of the Club for Growth and is listed on the site's favorite blogs list, neither blog has any editorial influence on each other's content, or political advertisement. Porkopolis and The Club for Growth simply share the same fiscally conservative philosophy. Porkopolis is a fully independent blog and only serves the philosophy that 'Sunshine is the best disinfectant'.

As for the Sales Tax increase, Ms. Schmidt noted that in her judgment every other reasonable alternative had been explored in 2003 and that Ohio's recession warranted a temporary Sales Tax increase of 1%. Furthermore, the increase had a built-in sunset provision. Ms. Schmidt also noted that she introduced a bill called the Tax and Expenditure Limitation Act in February of 2004. The measure proposes that "a constitutional amendment be adopted that would limit government spending by only allowing the rate of spending to increase at the rate of inflation, plus a factor for population growth despite what state revenues may be."

Ms. Schmidt was eager to share that she believes in Free Trade as long as it is Fair Trade. Porkopolis interpreted this as the possibility of sanctions but in the interest of time we did not delve into the specifics of her position. Readers of this blog will note that Porkopolis' shares the position of libertarian economist Walter Williams on trade with the proviso that countries like China are sanctioned when they don't respect our intellectual property rights. (see post I'll buy that)

Finally, Ms. Schmidt was asked if she would take the Porkopolis pledge to read every Congressional bill before she voted on it. Being a former legislature, Ms. Schmidt felt that this was an unreasonable request because of the verbose nature of legislation; particularly budget legislation.

Porkopolis noted that the very nature of the verbose legislation is what allows abuses like that documented in the 'Pork in Portsmouth' series of posts. In these posts, available from the blog's sidebar, Porkopolis documents Rob Portman's support of a provision to change the census designation of Portsmouth from urban to rural so that the city could benefit from USDA Rural Development funding.

Ms. Schmidt noted that she was being painfully honest in stating that she couldn't promise to read every bill, but would at a minimum have her staff review a bill and brief her before she votes on it.

This compromise on Ms. Schmidt's part can still lead to abuses. Remember the provision in the recent Omnibus Bill that allowed members of Congress and their staff to view individual tax returns? (see: When Congress Acts In the Dark of Night, Everyone Loses).

Porkopolis hopes that Ms. Schmidt will reconsider her position. Were she to be elected to Congress, every yes vote should be an indication to her constituents that she is fully appraised of every item in a bill.

If the process does not allow for this, then she should commit to reforming the legislative process that allows it to be abused by Republicans and Democrats alike. The 2nd District, and for that matter our country, deserves more than just the status quo.

In the interest of fairness, the contents of this blog post was forwarded to Ms. Schmidt before its posting for her review. Ms. Schmidt response is provided here unedited:

Thanks for the response. It was very fair and kind of you to do so. I wish more people had your character.

As I stated before, I voted for the budget for very specific reasons. The budget contained language allowing for a temporary penny sales tax that would automatically expire in two years. We must remember that this penny expires on June 30, 2005, and unless the present legislature votes on a new penny (or half a penny) it goes away. The budget would have passed without my vote. Ohio's constitution demands that we pass a budget by June 30th every other year. The leaders of both chambers were going to democrats to "buy" votes, adding spending to this budget. Knowing this, I went to the Speaker and stated that I would vote for this budget only if the $1.7 million that was being funded to Planned parenthood for Women's Health would be removed. It was. Since I was a member of the finance Committee I worked to remove the Title X language from these funds. It is important to note that the Title X language required that only agencies that referred for abortions could receive these funds. In order to ensure that activist judges could not strike down this language I made these funds available first to the local county boards of health and then open it to other agencies on a competitive basis. The result is that Planned Parenthood can no longer count on $1.7 million to help fund their agenda.

I am a fiscal conservative but I am also pro life. Sometimes it is more important to make a difference than to make a statement. I chose to make a difference and save the lives of the unborn.

I would appreciate it if you could allow people to know the reasons behind my vote. Thanks again for the response. Please contact me if you have any other questions or need further information.

With just twelve days before election I know the importance of every vote. I ask for your support and vote on June 14th.

Sincerely,

Jean Schmidt

2 Comments:

Anonymous Eric Kephas said...

I'm disappointed in the Club For Growth's decision to attack Jean Schmidt.

The tax increases she voted for were unavoidable, thanks to governor Bob Taft. It would have been irresponsible to ignore the state's fiscal crisis and risk worsening the situation. In the long run, it would have been more expensive to do nothing.

Schmidt's record shows she's a real Republican, and a true conservative. Her fleeting support of a tax increase shows she's also realistic. All in all, she sounds like a leader to me.

June 3, 2005 at 1:41 PM  
Anonymous Jed said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

June 6, 2005 at 4:36 PM  

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