By Kayla Jimenez
What an exciting time for state and local governments! The 2018 midterm elections are just around the corner. While I could write about people running in New York, Broome County, or anywhere within 600 miles of Binghamton, I’m instead going to write about a gubernatorial candidate from Ohio: Dennis Kucinich.
Never heard of him? Me neither! Dennis Kucinich is a Democrat with an interesting political history. He became the Mayor of Cleveland at age 31, becoming the youngest Mayor of any major U.S. city. That wasn’t the only first: he then led the city to be the first U.S. city to default on its debts! He continues to represent the people of Ohio, now looking to replace John Kasich as Ohio state governor.
According to the online news organization The Intercept, “Kucinich called for a total end to oil and gas extraction in the state of Ohio.” The same publication praised Kucinich, describing this as “one of the most cutting-edge environmental platforms of any candidate in the country.” If by cutting-edge they mean job-destroying, growth-halting, and a threat to the state economy, then sure! But I don’t think that was on their minds.
To achieve this “total end,” Kucinich plans to establish radical policies: utilizing eminent domain to seize control of gas and oil wells across Ohio, only to then shut them down, blocking all applications for drilling permits, stopping vehicles on Ohio roads, enlisting Ohio State Highway Patrol to stop any vehicle carrying fracking waste… to name a few. For those of you nerds out there who have read Atlas Shrugged, you know that when the state starts seizing and nationalizing things claiming eminent domain (bullshit), the end is near.
In an interview with The Intercept, a spokesperson for the Ohio Chamber of Commerce explained that “Misguided policies such as these threaten Ohio’s future and would destroy billions of dollars invested in our communities.” The Intercept also reported that the Chamber of Commerce expects that “Ohio could lose 400,000 jobs by 2022 if the state enacts a ban on fracking.” 400,00 jobs means nearly 3.5% of Ohio workers out of work. At a time when the Midwest is suffering from job loss and the hard-hitting Opioid Epidemic, maybe now is not the time to lose even more jobs and potentially lives in order to be more environmentally conscious. It’s fairly obvious that banning all gas and oil drilling and production in the state will have massive negative impacts, but Kucinich is willing to disregard all of that to save the world and the environment! How noble.
Environmental activists praise Kucinich for his hard-hitting platform. Drastically and abruptly pulling the plug on an important industry in Ohio will do more harm than good. It would be one thing if Kucinich proposed a long-term solution to improving the state’s environmental impact, but going balls to the wall and suggesting an immediate end to all oil and gas production in the state is ridiculous and unattainable. Making claims like these show Kucinich’s real intentions and allegiances.
Kucinich is not interested in protecting Ohio residents, he is not interested in saving the environment; he is interested in using bold claims like this one to bring attention to his campaign and hopefully win him the upcoming election. If he wanted to improve the state’s environmental infrastructure, he would have to offer tax breaks to renewable energy companies, he would use state funds to invest in renewable technologies research, he would encourage state universities to expand renewable energy programs and degrees… he could literally do anything else that would have a better outcome and would avoid this unnecessary economic disaster. Rather than attacking existing industries, the support and fostering of new industries is where the future lies.
People need to be careful when making voting decisions. Although it sounds nice and environmentally conscious on the surface, Kucinich’s plans of ending oil and gas extraction to protect the environment and Ohio residents is far from what it seems. People are too easily swayed by emotional appeals, especially regarding the environment. Politicians like Kucinich know this and use these sorts of platforms to garner attention and establish rapport. We wouldn’t be talking about him if he hadn’t made such a “cutting-edge” proposal; he made this proposal not because he wants to protect the environment, but because he wants to protect his career.