Ryan boosts Brown

In a final push to elect Democrat Ted Strickland as governor on Nov. 7, U.S. Congressman Tim Ryan (D-Niles) told College Democrats and Wood County Democrats at Grounds For Thought on Main Street last night that all they had to do was remind a few friends to vote.

“You don’t have to save the world,” Ryan said. “You just have to make sure four or five people get to the polls. That’s it.”

Ryan, a BGSU alum now serving his second term as representative for Ohio’s 17th district, said the Democrats have many refreshing candidates to offer voters.

Strickland and U.S. senatorial candidate Sherrod Brown would not fall prey to the special interests that have dominated state and national politics during the Bush administration, he said.

“Oil companies and pharmaceutical companies are writing policy in the back rooms of Congress,” Ryan said, citing changes made to energy and Medicare plans to benefit corporate interests.

“What Ted and Sherrod have done with their lives, what they have stood for – it’s not just rhetoric. It’s day-in and day-out service to the people,” he said.

When Strickland announced his candidacy, Ryan said he immediately donated $10,000 from his own campaign funds to Strickland, who currently leads Blackwell in the polls. Most polls show Strickland with a lead of about 20 points.

Ryan said many of the programs Strickland wants to establish as governor benefit students in particular – especially those who struggle financially with college tuition costs.

One of those plans includes creating a $500 college funds account for every Ohio citizen at birth, which anyone can add money to. Students would be guaranteed to receive an additional $100 each year until high school graduation, when they could then use the money to help pay for college tuition.

“I was really glad [Ryan] brought up Strickland’s plan for the college accounts,” said Jeff Bretz, Democratic candidate for Ohio’s sixth district. “It makes great sense and I think it will make kids say, ‘Wow, I have all this money, now where can I go with it?'”

Ryan also said the lack of inspiring candidates on the Republicans’ side should ensure a victory for Democrats in many races, including Bretz’s – as long as Democrats succeed in getting out the vote.

“The [Republican] base is not coming out for someone like Ken Blackwell,” Ryan said. “They’re not coming out for someone like Mike DeWine, because it’s time to give these guys a bath, get them out and start over again.”

Despite that assurance, College Democrats treasurer Mark Ingles said Ryan’s extra push was “inspiring.”

“I think it was refreshing how blunt he was,” Ingles said. “It was definitely a nice motivation to work even harder over the next thirteen days to get people out to vote.”