COLUMBUS, OHIO — Un-PAC organizers, representing thousands of young people and students across Ohio, met with Senator Rob Portman’s office this week to discuss their support for the For the People Act (H.R.1/ S.1), a comprehensive democracy reform bill that addresses voting rights, campaign finance, and Congressional ethics.
“Young people understand that our democracy is broken,” said Colby Buzzell, organizer with Un-PAC and meeting attendee. “We are here today to communicate to Senator Portman that his legacy – whether or not he chooses to fix our broken democracy and create a government that actually works for our generation and for all Ohioans, when he has the power to do so – will be defined by his decision to support S.1.”
Bowling Green University, Ohio State University, Lakeridge Academy, and Miami State University were some of the Ohio institutions represented in the meeting. The students presented Portman’s office with hundreds of pledge signatures and letters of support from various student and public organizations, advocating for the passage of S.1. When asked if Senator Portman would support S.1., his staffer responded, “Senator Portman does prioritize election security,” when it comes to foreign interference, but feels that S.1., “is a federal overreach in state affairs.”
In fact, the Election Clause in the Constitution gives Congress the authority to regulate federal elections; all of the reforms proposed in S.1 pertain to federal elections and therefore do not interfere with states’ rights from a constitutional standpoint.
“I believe passing the For the People Act would bring justice to the families of Ohio and across the nation,” Nathan Halm, Un-PAC organizer and student of Bowling Green University, stated as he delivered an impassioned testimony regarding Ohio’s opioid crisis and the link to pharmaceutical companies donating to super PACs for politicians to ease drug regulations.
The For the People Act, has strong bipartisan support from Democratic, Republican and Independent voters, and continues to be a popular policy proposal among young voters. Senator Portman is retiring in 2022, after serving in the U.S Senate for 10 years.
“What legacy is Senator Portman going to leave behind for young people across Ohio, if he won’t support a bill that gives us more accessibility and incentives to vote?”, asked Sunny Saini, a high school senior at Lake Ridge Academy and Un-PAC organizer.
Un-PAC is a statewide organization activating students and young people to demand long overdue structural democracy reform so that we can actually solve urgent problems. Additional information can be found at www.un-pac.org, or on Twitter at @LetsUnPAC.