Democrats Discuss: Stop tweeting, start calling

By Alex Jackson

Clancy Thomas, a freshman studying history and political science, saw something she did not like in Ohio Senate Bill 21 last week. She didn’t complain about it out loud, nor did she send an angry tweet about it. All she did was pick up her phone and call the office of State Senator Sandra Williams (D-21) of Cleveland, who was a co-sponsor of the bill at the time, to express her concern.

Thomas, who is also a member of Ohio University College Democrats, asked Williams’ staff why she supported a bill that would make polling locations less efficient on election days and add barriers to voter registration. The staffer replied saying that Williams would “take another look at the bill.”

Two days later, Williams’ staff called Thomas back to inform her that the senator was pulling her support from the bill. “After a closer look at the bill, Senator Williams is no longer a co-sponsor of the bill,” the staffer said.

While we have our (valid) concerns about President Trump, it’s crucial not to lose sight of what our state legislature is trying to do. Our state representatives don’t think anyone is paying attention, and they’re not wrong.

One simple phone call can make a difference on serious issues that affect Ohioan’s lives, as Thomas proved last week. I hear students complain about our politics all the time. Just imagine the difference that could be made if a handful of us took a few minutes out of our day to express our concerns to our elected officials.

This is my last column of the school year, and I’m using it to call on students who are concerned about any issue that could affect their lives to follow the actions of your representatives and take action. I ask that instead of using your phone just to send angry tweets (which I’m guilty of myself), you dial your elected officials. A brief phone call can go a long way.

Alex Jackson is a freshman studying strategic communications at Ohio University. This article originally appeared on The Post online (thepostathens.com/article/2017/04/call-representatives-angry-tweets) Do you tweet or call your representatives? Let Alex know by tweeting him @alexjackson716.

Democrats Discuss: Right to work laws are wrong for Ohio

By Alex Jackson

The Russian scandal. The Syrian Civil War. Health care law reform. Amidst all the noise about our politics at the national level regarding President Donald Trump, it’s crucial that we don’t ignore policy that will significantly impact many Ohioans at the state level as well.

One piece of legislation that should not be overlooked is the “right to work” bill introduced by State Representative John Becker (R-65).

Becker’s proposed legislation would make Ohio a “right to work” state, meaning public employees would not be required to join a union. Proponents of right to work legislation claim that it gives workers the option to not pay membership dues to a union. This is a bogus claim considering current federal law already prevents workers from being required to join a union.

A state law allows for collective bargaining if a worker chooses. Therefore, a right to work law would accomplish nothing in favor of workers. If right to work laws were implemented, it would only discourage workers from joining unions and getting fair protections and benefits.

It’s clear why corporations oppose unions. Without union benefits, corporations would further profit at the expense of their workers. Unions provide workers with collective bargaining agreements for better wages, safer work conditions and benefits.

If the right to work bill, known as House Bill 53, makes it through the House and Senate, Governor John Kasich has not taken a firm stance on the issue. With this being said, we can’t count on the governor to veto this.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was a vocal opponent, stating, “in our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, such as ‘right to work.’ It is a law to rob us of our civil rights and job rights. Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and collective bargaining.”

Right to work legislation is no friend of the working class, and HB 53 must be opposed in the state legislature before it passes any further. Call your state representative urging him or her to oppose this harmful bill.

This article originally appeared in The Post (http://www.thepostathens.com/article/2017/04/right-to-work-laws-ohio)

New congressional recess, same call to Stivers to represent Athens

Alex Jackson

In February, U.S. Representative Steve Stivers (R, OH-15) returned home to his heavily gerrymandered district, only to meet with constituents who could make the trip to Columbus on a weekday. I, along with two other OU students, was one of the few constituents who was able to take the time out of my schedule for a meeting with our congressman.

Our experience with Rep. Stivers was nothing groundbreaking, but he claimed that he’s “always accessible to my constituents,” and that he plans to visit Athens “at some point.” But it’s hard to believe that “some point” will ever come when Stivers has not held any public events in Athens County. The only events that the congressman has come down for are private events with the county Republican Party.

Congress is scheduled for another recess April 8-23, and it’s not unreasonable to ask our elected official to take the time to meet with various constituents during that time. According to staffers at Stivers’ district offices, he has no plans to have any meetings here, despite saying he’d consider coming to Athens in April when we met with him.

During the 2016 election, Athens County voted significantly in favor of Hillary Clinton. Yet, as a member of congress, Stivers has supported President Trump 100 percent of the time so far. Yes, Stivers’ district voted for Trump overall, but not 100 percent support. He should at least consider the interests held by many of his other constituents. Stivers is showing little to no sign of compromise or willingness to work with those who hold differing views than his.

The April recess is just a few days away now, and I urge you all to contact Stivers’ offices demanding that he represent Athens better by meeting with us here.

Alex Jackson is a freshman studying strategic communications at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Have you called Stivers before? Let Alex know by tweeting him @alexjackson716.

This article originally appeared in The Post (www.thepostathens.com/article/2017/04/stivers-yet-to-visit-athens) .