Dennis Kucinich is Ohio’s progressive choice for governor

Joseph Langan

Dennis Kucinich, the former mayor of Cleveland and U.S. congressman, was a progressive populist before Bernie Sanders made it cool. His presidential runs in 2004 and 2008 were arrogantly dismissed, but little did the pundits know Kucinich was the future of American politics. Now, he’s running in the Democratic primary for governor of Ohio. 

Kucinich is a man with a vision, a vision that often sees beyond the narrow scope of two- and four-year election cycles. He’s been a principled underdog throughout his extensive career in government, leaving the Democrats to play catch-up with his progressive politics. 

While Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton stumbled over their words in 2007, refusing to endorse same-sex marriage, Kucinich openly embraced marriage equality and equal rights for the LGBTQ community. 

While less than 15 percent of Americans today think the Iraq War was justified, Kucinich was protesting it in the streets and fighting against it in Congress back in 2003. His courage and moral conviction were unparalleled when he attempted to impeach then-President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney for lying to the American people and for their unprecedented abuses of executive power. 

Kucinich’s bold, forward-thinking campaign is embodied by his message, “Power to We the People.” All of his positions are derived from this ethic. Kucinich fights for the rights of workers as a political and moral imperative. As governor, his battle is to restructure Ohioans’ relationship with power, ensuring that all workers have the right to join a union, to strike and to organize. This struggle carries over to the statehouse, as Kucinich is the only Democrat running for governor talking about the need to publicly finance elections and put an end to the suspicious money from special interest groups stealing our democracy with campaign donations.  

Ohio needs both a strong progressive and a humble public servant to recover from almost 30 years of insufficient and overwhelmingly conservative governorships, and Kucinich satisfies both of these needs. His love for Ohio is embodied in his policies, like free two-year colleges, affordable and comprehensive health care to all Ohioans, massive reinvestments in schools and arts programs, an end to for-profit prisons, criminal justice reform that funds jobs over jails and allocations to rebuild our cities’ infrastructures

Kucinich has been endorsed by The Plain Dealer and Our Revolution, the progressive and social democratic organization that spawned from Sanders’ 2016 campaign.

For Ohio Democrats, the choice for governor should come down to passion, vision and the ability to inspire Ohioans to incite the change we all so desperately need. Kucinich has been leading this noble and necessary charge his entire career. He has fought for Ohioans when it was politically inconvenient, when his forward-thinking stances — such as his embrace of gay marriage — were “political suicide.” He has fought for us all his life, and it’s time for Democrats who believe in Ohio’s future to give Kucinich his due on May 8.

Joseph Langan is a columnist. Contact him at [email protected]