Thanks to one of our Painesville Township lobbyists for this article memorializing a recent meeting with Ohio Senator John Eklund. LFC believes that it is important that taxpayers know the reasons behind the decisions that our elected representatives make on our behalf.
Although Senator Eklund may be “termed out” of his current position, politicians never go away. With the help of the party elites, they simply move to another open political position – regardless if they are qualified or not for the position. It appears that the ability to get re-elected carries more weight with the party than what the taxpayers need – experience and competency for the office. (Read: Lake County Auditor)
We discussed two topics: abortion/heartbeat bill and the gasoline tax hike.
Regarding the Heartbeat Bill, Senator Eklund stated that there was a provision in the bill that allowed an exception for abortion if the mother’s life was in danger. (My comment: This almost never occurs any longer with the current medical advances.) However, his position was that it didn’t also include an exception for rape and/or incest. He said that he struggled over making such a moral decision for the individual(s) involved in such cases. In response to my question as to when he believed life started, he said that life starts at conception.
To his credit, he has voted for numerous bills that have infringed upon the ability to Planned Parenthood to carry out its murderous ways.
It appears to me that he is making a poor decision in spite of the fact that he stated in the cases of rape and incest there are two innocent victims: the mother and the baby. I think he struggled with his decision, and, from my perspective, came down on the wrong side of the issue. It can’t possibly be right to intentionally murder an innocent baby. Yes, it is a horrible predicament, but it won’t be made any better by adding the killing of an innocent life. When the life of the baby is taken, the mother has to live with that decision, that she had her baby killed, the rest of her life.
We also discussed the movie, Unplanned. He hasn’t seen it but has heard about it and also heard an interview with Abby Johnson, about whose life the film story was based. I told him a little about the plot line and encouraged him to go see it.
The second topic we discussed was the gasoline tax hike where the governor wanted an increase of 18 cents a gallon, the House voted for 10.7 cents per gallon, and the Senate passed 6 cents per gallon. He made two good points about this. The governor had indicated that this was an emergency measure given the current state of roads and bridges in Ohio. However, the governor’s plan included money for new projects as well. The second point was, as I understood it, that the tax was for two years. He had asked what happens at the end of the two years, will the necessary emergency conditions have been addressed? He hasn’t received a response to the question.
I made the point with him, can it really be that there is nothing in the current budget that is of lesser importance than our “crumbling infrastructure”? Everything else is apparently more important because there isn’t anything that can be cut to provide additional funds for roads and bridges. He took that point.
Also, I asked if there any restrictions to how these funds can be utilized, that is, are they restricted only to roads and bridges? Or can they be used for hiking and biking paths? I expressed the opinion that if our roads and bridges are in such bad shape why would be spending money, especially in Northeast Ohio, on bike paths and hiking trails? He indicated that this is largely to the area coordinating agencies, such as NOACA, which is the worst culprit. He didn’t think this was an issue anywhere else in Ohio. Therefore, he didn’t think that it could garner enough support from other parts of the state to restrict funds from the gasoline tax to only roads and bridges. I raised the point that if it isn’t a problem elsewhere, and only in NE Ohio, then it wouldn’t be a big deal to put restrictions on the money that it can only be used for roads and bridges since that wouldn’t affect anyone else other than NOACA. Why, if we don’t have enough money for roads and bridges, are we spending money on biking and hiking trails that are utilized by only a very small percentage of the population and only for a limited portion of the year?
I had opportunity at the beginning of our meeting to pray for Senator Eklund and his family. While we disagreed on a number of points, we had a very amicable meeting.