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Just call him ‘Joe’

Forget moving into the White House: Independent presidential candidate Joe Schriner would rather turn it into a homeless shelter if he’s elected in 2008.

“The White House is too big for a family of five,” he said. “We’d actually move into an inner-city neighborhood in [Washington] D.C. and live in a small dwelling like we do now in Cleveland.

“There are poor people who sleep outside of the fences of the White House every night and you have to think it would be put to better use by helping them.”

Schriner, 50, is a one-man political party, touring the country in preparation for his third election, despite being left off the ballot each year.

His distinctive platform is dominated by a pro-life position and conservative social values, such as an opposition to gay marriage.

But instead of being recognized for ideas like combating poverty, teaching farming in schools and displaying a passion for amending past wrongs to Native Americans, Schriner just wants to be regarded as an “Average Joe” during this campaign.

“We’re just an average family from the Midwest who said, ‘Why don’t we run for president’,” said the 1978 Bowling Green State graduate. “When I’m at home – I cut my own yard, I change the kid’s diapers. I play some sandlot with the kids when I’m back in Cleveland.”

Schriner said there is a common bond with the individuals he meets while campaigning.

“I think people sometimes feel like they don’t have a voice in politics,” he said. “So when they see us they know that we’re in touch with what their concerns are like trying to make it to the end of the month, as far as the bills.

“We’re campaigning with our family along and there’s good days and there’s bad days, just like with other parents.”

The Cleveland native visited the University on Wednesday to meet with Jon Opperman, an instructor in the College of Technology, to gather information about BGSU’s Hybrid Bus.

The 31-passenger Hybrid Bus, which was tested at the University last summer, creates a 30 percent gas savings on a stop-and-go route, according to a news release published on the BGSU Web site.

Schriner said he first met Opperman during a campaign trip to Fostoria.

“He found out what we were doing, went to our Web site, came back out and was really excited about the campaign,” he said. “I told him we’re doing research right now on alternative vehicles and alternative energy, because of what’s going on with the gas prices.”

“This is an example of someone who saw the campaign as very viable and wanted to share information with us for position papers that we’re doing right now in energy plants, and we got a lot of responses from people.”

Schriner refers to the Hybrid Bus as a pilot project, and said it’s an opportunity to plant seeds about worthwhile projects at universities across the country.

“What we’ll do is plug that into a position paper and we’ll go out to the rest of the country and say, ‘Back at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, they’ve got this wonderful bus that really works and it saves on fuel and it might work here at this college in Spokane, Washington’,” he said.

“Maybe the bus here ends up at a campus in Florida – and then the town’s government thinks ‘We need to go to a more efficient mass transportation system within the town,'” Schriner continued.

In the meantime, Schriner and his family will continue to add on to the 75,000 miles they’ve accumulated in the last seven years campaigning.

His goals include using his journalism degree to continue researching issues, and to make the country a better place now from place to place.

“We’re really proud of Joe and what we’re proud about is that he’s willing to stand up for what he thinks is right in the face of long odds, and in the face of lots of adversity as well,” said Liz Schriner, his wife of 11 years. “I’d like to think that Joe is a hero for our children and I’d like to support him in whatever way I can.

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