If they're good enough to qualify as a minor political party in Ohio, then they're good enough to be included in the gubernatorial debate.
That's the philosophy of Ohio Green Party leaders and the decision to exclude its gubernatorial candidate, Dennis Spisak, from a debate between Democratic incumbent Ted Strickland and Republican challenger John Kasich.
Today Strickland and Kasich agreed to appear in two televised debates, the first one held Sept. 14 in Columbus and the second on Oct. 7 in Toledo.
Because they qualified to appear on the November ballot under Ohio election laws, Spisak believes both he and Libertarian candidate Ken Matesz should be included in the debate.
“As the Green Party nominee for Ohio governor, I think it's a sham that myself and the Libertarian candidate for governor are not invited to the debates,” Spisak said in a prepared statement.
“The Ohio Secretary of State has certified that minor party candidates are allowed on the ballots this year, we have paid the same filing fees as Ted Strickland and John Kasich, and had supporters stomp through the winter snowstorms to gather thousands of signatures to place us on the ballot,” Spisak added. “Ohioans deserve to hear all candidates for governor speak. Ted and John will sling mud and refuse to answer specially how they will fix Ohio. I will.”
According to the Secretary of State's office, 1,315 voters cast Green Party ballots in the May primary, while 5,476 voters cast Libertarian Party ballots.
Among his platform of issues, Spisak supports creating a single-payer universal health care system in Ohio, investing in the creation of “blue-green” jobs for labor unions and changing how school districts are funded.
Spisak is a member of the Struthers City Board of Education, near Youngstown, and has 25 years experience working in the field of public education.