Why I am Running for United States Senate
Everything that I've done in my life -- as a wife, a mother, a small business owner, a judge, and as secretary of state -- has taught me that you can't wait for someone else to fix the problem. And I have a solid record of finding solutions - from the drug court I started as a judge in Franklin County, to the uniformity I implemented in election procedures that affect voting rights, to the technology we put in place at the Secretary of State's office to make it easier for businesses to interact with the state and focus on creating what we really need: Jobs.
We must fix the damage that has been done to our economy. It is felt by everyone in Ohio and it can't measured in some political poll -- it's felt by Ohioans losing their homes, losing their jobs, and facing the rising cost of health care. Now, more than ever, we need someone who will fight for everyone across the state and stand up to those in Washington who would rather bail out Wall Street CEOs than main street homeowners.
We just can't afford to send the same people who got us into this crisis back to Washington.
When I decided to run for Secretary of State after Ohio's election problems in 2004, I left a judgeship in Franklin County where I was doing important work reducing drug crime and recidivism; I knew that we had to restore trust in our elections and fix the damage that was done. After I was elected, I worked to improve the election system by eliminating long lines, implementing smooth and accessible early voting for more than 1.7 million Ohioans, and making sure that Ohio voters had available to them a multitude of ways to vote. That work resulted in a markedly improved election process, with a record number of Ohioans voting, and earned me a Profile in Courage Award from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.
I am excited about the work I have done as Secretary of State - but I also see a greater need for principled solutions at the next level. Ohio needs a Senator to work with President Obama and Senator Sherrod Brown in these difficult economic times. Senator Voinovich joined every other Ohio Republican member of Congress when he voted against the president's economic recovery package last week and Ohio's Republican candidate to replace him, Rob Portman, applauded that vote.
Leadership is not about saying "no"; it's about having the humility to listen, the creativity to see opportunities, and the persistence to enact solutions.
We can strengthen our schools for all Ohio's students to compete for 21st century jobs. We can make sure banks spend the bailout money on things that really matter - loans to small businesses and home ownership - not extravagant executive perks. We can create new jobs that improve our communities by generating cleaner energy. We can lower health care costs and make sure that everyone has access to health care. We can strengthen our national security while bringing our troops home safely from Iraq and protecting every American's constitutional rights and liberties. We can work to institutionalize and improve upon best practices for future elections.
Washington doesn't need another Senator who just shows up to vote. Ohio deserves a public servant in Washington who will generate ideas, show bold leadership and work with her colleagues to advance solutions. I am pleased with what we've done for Ohio so far; and I know I can do even more for our state in the United States Senate.
When I announced my candidacy last week, it generated an impressive amount of support on blogs and through people joining our campaign at http://www.JenniferBrunner.com. On Monday, I was proud to receive the endorsement of Laborers Local #310, a Cleveland affiliate of the Laborers' International Union of North America. We share a common belief in respecting the rights of working men and women, to fair wages, a safe workplace, and a secure future. I look forward to continuing to work with them to make these rights a reality for all Ohioans.
Now I find myself with a Democratic primary opponent. Lee Fisher and I don't agree on everything, but neither of us has any doubt that it would be a lousy idea to send Rob Portman back to Washington DC, where, as a Congressman, he voted for the Bush tax cuts and the Iraq war that are bankrupting our country and where, as George Bush's Budget Director, he watched billions of our taxpayer dollars disappear into the corruption on Wall Street.
I'd like to take this opportunity to say that I will be seeking the support of all Ohio Democrats, regardless of prominence, and as Party Chair Chris Redfearn requested of all of the candidates, I will not ask the Ohio Democratic Party for an endorsement in the primary. I'll make my case directly to the voters, and feel confident that they'll make the right decision about who has the qualities we need to make a difference in Washington.
Over the next weeks and months, I look forward to working with you—and all Ohioans—who are ready to come together to find solutions to the problems we face.
The issues today are too serious for us to be distracted from our goals. Let's keep our focus on beating Rob Portman next November and in the meantime work together to find solutions the problems facing Ohio.
I will be back at 7 PM to answer the questions that you have posted throughout the they day in the comments.