'To the editor'

Published:

Obama needs another four years

In the past few weeks, President Obama's stimulus program has been dismissed by many Republicans as a failed program for "special interests." In my experience, nothing could be further from truth.

I'm lucky to be among the 7,132 Ohioans working on stimulus projects in 2012 (third quarter) -- projects that not only created jobs, but provided us with tools for long-term economic growth, and enhanced health care, education and public safety services.

The project I'm involved with will construct over 700 miles of new fiber optic cable in 28 counties throughout western Ohio. It will provide high-speed Internet access at affordable rates to as many as 737,000 households, 165,000 businesses, and 2,900 community institutions in those counties. New and improved broadband services will be delivered to 212 K-12 schools, 173 state and local government offices, 112 public safety facilities, 84 health care facilities, 12 community colleges, four universities, 43 libraries, 92 public housing facilities, 151 community support organizations and five state parks.

With increased broadband connectivity, students in rural areas will be able to access the same educational resources as students in urban areas. Your medical records will be quickly and efficiently transmitted among your doctor's office, first responders and the hospital. Areawide emergencies will be communicated to you and your loved ones much faster than ever before.

A modern version of rural electrification in the 1930s, broadband service is one of the most important technological issues of this generation. Like it or not, fast and available access to the Internet has become one of the keys to a vibrant economy. But leaders in the telecommunications industry agree that projects like this would not be built without government incentives. The fact is, rural populations are so dispersed that service providers can't make enough profit to justify the installation of fiber optic routes to these remote areas. Through this project, the stimulus program is helping to put rural Ohio on equal footing with our urban counterparts and build a foundation for future growth.

For two years, this project in western Ohio has helped keep me and three co-workers employed, along with an outside team of program administrators, compliance specialists, real estate and leasing agents, design engineers, inspection professionals, salesmen, transport service coordinators, construction workers and cable installers.

While the stimulus did not create the number of jobs anticipated, it has helped prevent a major depression while making significant long-term investments that the Republican Party refuses to acknowledge. It's time to end the naysaying about the stimulus program and allow President Obama another four years to complete the work he started. So much good can come of it.

Maura Johnson

rural Deshler

Remember tax on Election Day

It is a fact that a vote for Obama is a vote for Obamacare, which will force millions of Americans to be enrolled in health care plans that include abortion coverage. These health care plans will charge enrollees an "abortion surcharge" and this money will go into a national abortion slush fund. I personally do not want to be taxed by Obamacare and be forced to participate in the murder of innocent babies across America. Do you?

Should taxpaying Americans be forced to pay for abortions that are morally and intrinsically evil by their very nature? The answer is no, it is against God's moral law and our Constitution. Therefore, I cannot in good conscience, vote for our current president, who will force this tax on Americans.

Sure, we need to talk about the economy, but more importantly, we need to talk about these life issues and promote and vote for pro-life candidates because it is a tragedy that our current president and government administration is forcing all tax-paying Americans to participate in abortion, willingly or not. I ask all of you to join me in voting for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney who has made it clear that he will work to repeal Obamacare and stop funding organizations that abort/murder unborn babies.

Our elected government leaders need to hear a loud and clear message from each and every American that says, "We do not want to be forced to pay the Obamacare tax that will use our money to pay for abortions". We can send that message by voting for Mitt Romney because if we don't stop this tax, with this election, we may never get another chance.

Please prayerfully remember this unjust tax on Election Day. "We the People" still have the power of the vote, and we can and should take a stand to promote an America that loves and protects all human life and sees the dignity in each and every person, born and unborn. Let's demonstrate our God-given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and vote on Tuesday, Nov. 6 for Mitt Romney and vote for life.

Kelly Shininger

rural Sherwood

Things are worse for many others

Over the past few months, I've downplayed the significance of the upcoming election and said to many I've talked with, "sometimes it has to get worse before it gets better." Upon deeper inspection, I've come to conclude it's a dangerous outlook for one simple reason: I'm speaking from a point of privilege.

As a straight, Christian, white male, I'm confident that whatever "worse" means, it doesn't mean worse for me. If attempts at voter ID laws continue, which disproportionately affect the poor, elderly and people of color, I won't worry about losing my ability to vote. If Obamacare is repealed or amended, I'll still have health insurance or be able to afford coverage. If religious rights of non-Christians are curtailed, it won't affect how I worship. If women continue to be paid only 70-80 percent of what men are paid, I won't be losing money because of it. If Roe vs. Wade is reversed, I won't suffer the loss of control over my body or reproductive choices. If the movement of equal rights of homosexuals is halted and previous gains reversed, I won't experience the consequences. If we continue to fight wars and allow drone attacks, my life won't be threatened.

It may not matter to me personally if it gets "worse," but it sure does matter for many others -- well over half the country. Like most in Northwest Ohio (where I grew up), I'm a Christian, and that means I am called to strive for justice and equality for the oppressed and marginalized, no matter who they are or what they believe. They aren't merely collateral damage in a political game.

When I mark my ballot on Nov. 6, these are the things I will be thinking about. I encourage you to do the same.

Eric Bjorlin

Chicago, Ill.

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