Friday, February 16, 2018

Trump Kissed A Berniecrat And Now She's Running For The Ohio State Legislature


Rachel Crooks works at Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio in their international college recruitment department. She's running for the Ohio state legislature in the 88th district against Republican incumbent Bill Reineke. She was a Bernie activist in 2016 and she's running for the legislature on a platform synch with his progressive ideas. And she's eager to talk about those ideas. But what people want to talk with her about isn't about Sandusky and Seneca counties or about Reineke. They want to talk with her about something that happened when she worked at the Bayrock Group in Trump Tower. Yep, that is the now infamous Felix Sater that was involved with Russian money laundering and the Trump SoHo scam. Crooks was a 22 year old receptionist in 2005 when she worked there. She's a very attractive woman and when Trump met her he thought he could just kiss her on the mouth. It shocked her. I spoke with her yesterday and she told me that she "was so upset that he thought I was so insignificant that he could do that."

Goal ThermometerBut there's a lot more to Rachel Crooks than an idiotic interaction with the national clown 13 years ago. She told me she's "running because the average person’s voice has been lost in politics. The people representing us have been left unchecked for too long, and now they only cater to their own self-interests, lobbyists and donors. A democratic government shouldn’t be based on dollar signs. We need to get corruption out of politics. I want to make sure that every Ohioan’s vote counts, which is why I support ending discriminatory gerrymandering practices and believe we must protect voting rights. I also support public financing for political campaigns."

The legislative district, part of far right extremist Jim Jordan's congressional district, is much more moderate than Jordan's whole district. Although Trump won the state legislative district, 29,859 (59.6%) to 16,898 (33.7%), Sandusky County was a county Obama had won in 2012. The nearly moribund Ohio Democratic Party didn't bother to run a candidate against Reineke in 2016. In 2014 Reineke beat Democrat Bill Young 17,335 (59%) to 12,040 (41%). This cycle there's a lot of enthusiasm about Crooks' campaign.

The district consists of a series of blue collar communities anchored by major manufacturers amidst typical Midwest farming communities. The largest employer in the district is a Whirlpool plant that employs more than 3,000 workers. Other major employers include plastic, and cardboard suppliers to the Whirlpool plant as well a Heinz production facility and many other smaller tool and die and plastic plants.

Although the district took a hard turn for Trump in 2016, there were major signs of life in 2017. The largest city in the district, Fremont, Ohio saw two Republican incumbent council members defeated, and another Democrat nearly took a third seat but lost to the Republican by two votes. The council flipped from a 3-3-1 split, to a strong 5-2 Democratic majority. One of those seats was won by a Democrat after being held by Republicans for over 30 years.

Sandusky County, the more Democratic leaning of the two county district has the largest Hispanic population by county perentage in the state of Ohio. Making inroads with the Hispanic community will make Rachel's election more likely and will also help the local Democratic Party in the long run.

The district is due for a change. Rachel's opponent has joined his Republican colleagues in Columbus and have continually robbed local governments of millions of dollar in local government fund cuts. Each of the largest cities in the district are missing nearly a million dollars a year in lost revenue. This has the consequence of understaffed police and fire departments, and crumbling infrastrucure.

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