Just a few weeks after leaving office, ex-Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner is trying to raise awareness about a political action committee (PAC) she helped create while campaigning last year for the U.S. Senate nomination.
Courage PAC is designed to increase grassroots advocacy and citizen activism on several issues, and perform a watchdog role on Ohio government now that Republicans fill most statewide offices.
Although the PAC was formally created in July, its official kickoff was today.
Among the issues the PAC will be involved with include financial reform and foreclosures, fair elections, and transparency and accountability in government.
“Courage PAC gives frustrated (and happy) voters, regardless of party, a viable way to speak and be heard over the influence of money for the sound public policy that benefits many,” its Web site states. “Courage PAC gives citizens the chance to participate in a meaningful and effective way in their democracy.
“Citizens are encouraged to join Courage PAC to gain insight into some of the complex issues that may not at first appear to directly affect them,” it adds. “Citizens are encouraged to advocate as individuals by contacting their government officials, writing letters to the editor, signing petitions and engaging personally in making their views known. After all, democracy is at its best when citizens participate.”
Brunner was the first woman ever elected as Ohio's secretary of state. While in that office, she enacted a number of elections reforms aimed at avoiding some of the controversies and problems that surrounded how the 2004 presidential election was conducted in the state. The reforms included requiring back-up paper ballots at polling stations with electronic voting machines; and ending the practice of “sleepovers,” the practice of poll-workers taking voting machines and ballots home with them the night before election.
Instead of seeking reelection, Brunner ran in the 2010 Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate against Lee Fisher. She lost the primary and Fisher ended up being defeated by Republican Rob Portman in November’s midterm elections.
In a message to supporters, Brunner said more citizen involvement is needed to help counter the expanding corporate influence on politics and government.
“We find ourselves in a time of complex change as we strive to shed ourselves of economic woes and embrace the needs and desires of a new American demographic paradigm,” Brunner wrote.
“History has shown that when we speak together, we're stronger than the forces of money and institutional and established power structures that may not be as responsive to our needs as they used to be,” she added.