Ohio voters will select the Democratic and Republican nominees for governor in the state’s May 8 primary election. As part of its 2018 election coverage, Prizm sought out the four Democratic and two Republican candidates’ positions on issues of importance to LGBTQ Ohioans.
The three leading Democratic candidates—Richard Cordray, Dennis Kucinich and Joe Schiavoni—responded. Republican Mary Taylor’s campaign declined an interview request. Republican Mike DeWine’s campaign didn’t respond. Democrat William O’Neill didn’t return answers to our questions.
Here are the answers we received from Kucinich. Click here for Cordray’s answers, and click here for Schiavoni’s responses.
And vote! Visit myohiovote.com for information about registering, early voting options, and polling places and voting hours on Election Day.
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As a member of Congress, the Cleveland native was an early supporter of marriage equality and earned perfect scores from HRC.
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Dennis Kucinich, 71, has been in politics for nearly 50 years, best known for his time as mayor of Cleveland (1978-79) and his eight terms in the U.S. House of Representatives (1997-2013). He represented a congressional district that included much of Cuyahoga County, including Cleveland’s West Side, Lakewood, Parma, Westlake and North Olmsted.
“This is the moment when the people must take back their government,” he said when he entered the governor’s race in January.
Kucinich was born and raised in Cleveland. He was elected to the City Council in 1969. After his time as mayor, he was elected to the City Council again in 1983 but left in 1985. He was elected to the Ohio Senate in 1994 and to th3 U.S. House in 1996. He unsuccessfully sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004 and 2008.
His nonpolitical claim to fame: After losing the mayor’s race in 1979, Kucinich moved to Los Angeles and stayed with actress Shirley MacLaine.
Kucinich’s running mate is Tara Samples, who is serving in her second term on the Akron City Council.
Here are Kucinich’s answers to our questionnaire on issues of concern to LGBTQ Ohioans:
If a bill reached your desk that would add sexual orientation and gender identity/expression to the laws that make discrimination illegal in Ohio, would you sign it?
Yes. I would engage public support and actively support the passage of the bill, and sign it.
In 2011, Gov. John Kasich eliminated gender identity from an executive order barring discrimination in state government employment. Will you add gender identity back in?
Yes. I will sign an executive order prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity. I will make appointments from the LGBTQ+ community.
Ohio is one of three states that do not let transgender people correct the gender marker on their birth certificates. Will you work with the Ohio Department of Health to resolve this?
Yes. I will issue an executive order to the Ohio Department of Health to permit transgender people to correct the gender marker on their birth certificates.
Do you support a hate-crimes law that includes gender identity and sexual orientation?
Yes, we support adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the hate crime legislation defined as “Ethnic Intimidation” found in 2927.12 of the Ohio Revised Code.
Do you support a statewide ban on so-called “conversion therapy” for minors?
We commit to protect and support our LGBTQ+ Ohio youth. Conversion therapy is torture by Geneva Convention standards and has become a major contributor to the LGBTQ+ youth suicide epidemic. For the youth who are forced into these programs against their will, this is, in no uncertain terms, child abuse. We, as a state, will not tolerate the abuse of our children.
Would you support or oppose any legislation to dictate the public restrooms used by transgender people in Ohio?
We oppose bathroom laws and any other legislation that targets transgender, gender non-conforming and intersex people to demean character and deny civil rights.
Akron, Cincinnati, Columbus and Dayton all ranked among the top cities on the Human Rights Campaign’s most recent Municipal Equality Index survey of local policies toward LGBTQ people. In the HRC’s State Equality Index, Ohio ranked among the lowest states. How do we make all of Ohio as welcoming and inclusive as its big cities?
As governor and lieutenant governor, I and Tara Samples will lead the state to a new era of compassion, equality and respect where all people will be able to live authentically, expressing their sacred personhood as they see fit.
People will respond to leaders and we will set a high and achievable standard of inclusion for the state.
When did you publicly announce your support for marriage equality?
I was the first presidential candidate to do so in 2003.
Tell us about some of the actions you have taken as a public official or elected office-holder to support and advance equality for LGBTQ people.
I led the effort in Congress to work for ENDA (the Employment Non-Discrimination Act). I had a 100 percent voting record from the Human Rights Campaign. I have been the recipient of numerous awards for my advocacy of LBGTQ+ rights. I will continue to do so as governor of Ohio, embracing the joy of human diversity.
Women’s Rights: Enact paid family leave benefits for all workers; roll back Ohio abortion restriction and implement public funding for the procedure; stop medically unnecessary regulations designed to drive abortion providers out of business; restore planning for family planning and women’s health services offered by Planned Parenthood.
Criminal Justice: Address racial disparities in sentencing; stop Ohio’s use of for-profit prisons; review all nonviolent drug convictions for possible commutation; fund job-training programs for those in jail; provide mental health and addiction treatment in state prisons; use the governor’s power to seek removal of law enforcement officials who abuse their power; enhance benefits for law enforcement, such as extra time off and tax incentives to live in the communities where they work.
Marijuana: Work toward decriminalization, legalization, licensing and taxation of recreational marijuana and use the revenue for expanded health and mental health programs.
Opioid Epidemic: Establish drug courts in all communities to divert offenders into appropriate treatment; require the State Medical Board and State Pharmacy Board to develop new reporting requirements on pain medication.
Environment: Stop issuing permits for fracking and impose a statewide injection-well ban; stop the dumping of fracked waste in Ohio.
Economy: Raise Ohio’s minimum wage to $12.50 per hour; support ecologically friendly farming; rebuild infrastructure.
Healthcare: Develop a plan to provide access for all Ohioans to basic, affordable health coverage; reopen closed community hospitals and build new faciities in rural areas.
Education: Allow local voters to decide whether their tax dollars will go to charter schools.
Transportation: Develop high-speed rail between Ohio cities.
Local Government: Stop privatization of public services; reverse the decline in local government funding.