Our Lobbyist Chuck from Painesville Township has some additional questions for John Plecnik, and some insight on how politics works at the State level.
Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to respond to my questions.
I am still perplexed by your unwavering support for Congressman Joyce. I will accept that we do not agree on him, but I need to clarify a couple things. First, Congressman Joyce voted to repeal Obamacare at every opportunity – but only when President Obama was in office. Congressman Joyce would not vote for a full Obamacare after President Trump took office. To me that gives the appearance of opposition to Obamacare in name only. This was sadly true not only of Congressman Joyce but a lot of Republican Congressmen.
The second point on Congressman Joyce is that he proudly voted for the recent Omnibus budget bill. No self-respecting champion for smaller government could have voted for it. In fact, most, if not all, of the members of the Freedom Caucus did not vote for it.
At any rate, I suspect I will remain perplexed by your support for Congressman Joyce.
The reason I raise this issue is because it concerns me. You listed Congressman Joyce as one of your prominent endorsements. You identify him as a champion of smaller government. If you don’t see anything wrong with how Congressman Joyce votes, then it leads to questions about your credibility and how you will vote. I have followed, though not in great detail, the controversies in Willoughby Hills. You seem to have taken the right position on those issues and have been tenacious in dealing with them. I think you are to be commended for this.
But Columbus will not be the same as Willoughby Hills. On Willoughby Hills council you are likely one of the leaders for doing the right thing. In Columbus, you will be expected to fall in line with party leadership, especially since the party leadership has provided support for your candidacy. From what I have seen and heard from those that have been in the position to which you aspire, the party leadership demands loyalty to the party. If you want to get any of your local projects passed, you are required to play the game and do what you are told.
This is the reason why I bring up the reading of bills before voting for them. The current occupant has admitted that he doesn’t always read the bills in their entirety before voting for them. He does read the summary but we both know the devil is in the details. I told him that when he votes for bills that he hasn’t read, he is no longer representing the constituents that elected him. He is then representing the party leadership that has told him how to vote. This should not be.
I see in your response to my question about reading the bills that it looks like you equivocated. You are a law professor and you understand that words have meaning. You stated “I don’t plan to vote for any bill that I don’t have time to read.” (Emphasis mine.) As I understand it, you aren’t planning to vote on bills you haven’t read, but you are also not precluding doing so. Do I understand your meaning correctly?
And when you say that you will go “line-by-line through the state budget in order to save money”, exactly how do you see that playing out? Let’s say that you get a summary of the budget from your party leadership and they expect you to vote in favor of it the next day. Are you going to attempt to read it line-by-line and identify places to save money? And if you do, how do you propose getting your changes incorporated?
Again, I say that Columbus and Willoughby Hills are two entirely different entities with respect to how the governance process works.
John, I hope I don’t sound contentious. My intent is to gain an understanding of you as a candidate for state representative so that I can make an informed decision.
I look forward to hearing from you.