Constance Gadell-Newton

Responses to CCPC's endorsement application questionnaire from:

Constance Gadell-Newton, Candidate for Governor of Ohio

Political Party Affiliation: Green Party

Current or previous elected offices: none

Issue Responses

Economic justice

(See also social justice below) In Ohio, and across the U.S., more and more people are coming to understand that the centers of economic and political power in America have become merged, and that the interests being served are not the interests of the 99 percent who are workers, caregivers, farmers and small to medium-sized business owners; the real producers of value in the American economy. We are waking to the reality that the neo-liberal trade deals and policies of an institutionalized corporate welfare system, including a steady erosion of our anti-trust protections among key industry sectors, has invested large corporations with the unaccountable power of monopolies. A growing chorus among leading economists, civil society leaders, and socially-conscious entrepreneurs is calling for a re-investment at the community level, meaning investment in people, in our green infrastructure, and in the productive capacities of our local communities. We know a better future is possible, and we are calling for revolutionary change. Change that only becomes possible when we reject the binary choice of laissez faire vs top down control. The good people of Ohio are demanding economic justice based in the unifying principles of democratic self-determination, responsible stewardship of the commons, and equitable access to the basic necessities of life. If elected, my administration will: 
  • Overhaul Ohio’s tax policies to end corporate welfare and provide comprehensive relief to working people, including a refundable childcare credit for working families.
  • Ensure stable local funding by ending the State’s raiding of the Local Government Fund, enabling streamlined and autonomous tax administration by municipalities and local taxing districts to reduce administrative costs on small businesses, and by increasing the local government funding assistance.
  • Establish public banks that serve depositors and small businesses, not shareholders and CEOs.
  • Build economically vibrant, secure and resilient communities from the bottom up.
  • End the use of anonymous shell corporations to conceal financial scams.
  • Swiftly repeal the “Right to Work” laws and strengthen employment laws for non-union workers.
  • Eliminate legal barriers to the formation and functioning of strong Labor Unions, to end worker exploitation and promote a culture of fairness and economic democracy.
  • Upgrade our transportation, watershed management, clean energy and green infrastructure while employing and training thousands of Ohioans.
  • Invest in Ohio’s public transportation systems, using State and local bond issues and multiple alternative funding sources that allow for capturing of revenues generated through community economic development and reduced traffic congestion in areas benefiting from public transportation system improvements.
  • Establish incentives to create a world leading industrial hemp industry to significantly expand employment across both rural and urban populations.
  • Create a policy climate favorable to the success of small businesses, cooperatives, community investment funds, and other socially beneficial business enterprises.
  • Increase our Minimum Wage to a Living Wage and tie it directly to current cost of living, including inflation.
  • Empower community land trusts to stop the “firesale” of our public lands.
  • Ensure all people’s right to access the basic necessities of life.
  • Create new pathways to employment and home ownership using surplus housing stock.
  • Incentivize employers to hire local and strictly limit outsourcing of locally available services and materials used in the production process.
  • Enact mandatory paid maternity and paternity leave.
  • Promote wage equality by requiring transparency of pay rates and compensation in the work place.
  • Promote entrepreneurialism and self-determination for individuals and communities. Attract employers and promote small businesses and self-employment by providing basic benefits such as universal health care and free public pre-school.

Political justice

As Ohioans facing the specter of shock politics and “government by reality TV”, we must stay awake and acknowledge that we are in a fight for the very survival of our democracy and our constitutional form of government. We must be vigilant, lest we lose those hard won gains that are the legacy of generations of struggle, and slip backwards into a despotic system that would crush the hopes and dreams of generations. We have come to the point where Ohio and America is being governed by an oligarchy run by the largest campaign contributors who are able to control elections and maintain incumbents of both major parties, Democrat and Republican, under a system that was referred to by former President Jimmy Carter as "unlimited political bribery." This conclusion is supported by the facts presented studies published in by the American Political Science Association, and other non-partisan entities. As candidates, my running mate Brett Joseph and I will not be bought - we will not be intimidated, and we will not be deterred. We are running not because we claim to have all the answers, but because we know that in a democracy the answers must come from open, inclusive and informed deliberation that coalesces as the democratically expressed will of the people. Our values-driven campaign platform is strong because it is derived from such open deliberation, and like America itself, it is a work in progress. We are steadfast in our determination that the unaccountable rule of big money will no longer go unchallenged, and that the sovereign power of an informed and active citizenry will continue to build, and build, and build, until our cherished democracy, the only true source of legitimacy in government, will again prevail in Ohio and in America! When establishment candidates and party officials indulge in hyper-partisanship as if to win at all costs, or when they allow themselves to be compromised by the narrow, financially-backed interests of their large corporate donors, they contribute to a slow erosion of the public’s ability to trust the integrity of the electoral process itself. Likewise, when career politicians act out of a sense of entitlement, they undermine our democracy by throwing up barriers to emerging leaders. These career politicians need to step aside and create space for new progressive leaders who will keep faith with Ohio voters and carry forward fresh ideas that are responsive to the real needs and aspirations of the electorate. If elected, my administration will:
  • Uphold participatory democracy and the fundamental rights granted in the Ohio and US Constitutions.
  • Revamp our State’s electoral process, effectively using ballot initiatives and other forms of direct democracy to institute preference voting, proportional representation and related changes that promote coalition-building and a more pluralistic and inclusive system of electoral politics in Ohio.
  • End Partisan Gerrymandering and Voter Suppression, so that voters choose their elected officials, rather than the other way around.
  • Fight corruption and end pay to play politics with strict new campaign finance laws.
  • Increase transparency of public agencies and accountability of all public officials.
  • Safeguard Local Home Rule and support grassroots Community Bill of Rights initiatives.
  • Uphold home rule prerogatives of municipalities and local taxing districts.

Racial justice

We recognize that America’s problem of white supremacy has its roots in imperialism, colonialism, and the historic loss of connection to memory and place. From this loss of the collective self, the self in community, whiteness and white consciousness perpetuates itself as an imperial gaze and a colonial projection. It leads to the belief that the world, and all that is in it, is there for the taking. In raising the call for humanity and for liberation, the voices of white people must be part of the chorus, as we reject privilege and share in a pluralistic leadership space equally accessible and welcoming to people of color. We must use our collective voices to call out and challenge the structural and institutionalized injustices, and the ingrained mindsets that keep us divided and that are slowly destroying our society from within. Furthermore, if we rise to oppose white nationalism, then we must not stand in defense of the dominant consumer culture and its institutions as if these were not themselves built upon a foundation of white supremacy. For liberation to succeed, white people must get off the sidelines and demand that other whites do the same. As progressives and as human beings, must find new language to talk compassionately about overt and institutional racism as a cloud that conceals and corrupts the deep yearning for justice of all people, including people of European descent – it is a cloud that hangs over coal miners, farmers, and factory workers who are themselves casualties of the very historic forces unleashed by the imperial expansionist policies of the past, and the neo-liberal capitalist ideologies of our present time. If elected, my Administration will tackle the root causes of institutionalized racism, by securing the basic needs of all Ohioans (referenced in our response to the item on economic justice), and reinvesting in our urban communities of color. Specifically, we will:
  • Hire police from within the local communities they serve and institute programs for community policing, including training in ways to non-violently and effectively dealing with mentally ill individuals who have called for assistance in a mental health crisis.
  • Protect the citizens and residents of Ohio by ensuring that police are trained in non-violent de-escalation tactics and hostage negotiation with the goal of prevention of loss of life,
  • Ensure that police are screened and treated for PTSD related to their current or past service in the police force or armed services. If officers are too fearful and jumpy to act appropriately in tense situations, then they need to be taken off the force or give up their guns. Furthermore, we will promote safe and walkable communities. To accomplish this, we will:
  • Advance common-sense solutions to gun violence that has caused too many senseless deaths in Ohio and elsewhere, while protecting the 2nd Amendment Rights of Ohioans.
  • Oppose the dangerous Stand Your Ground laws which are correlated with an increase in gun violence and increased vigilantism.
  • Enforce background checks for all gun sales, as well as compulsory training and permitting for owners and users of assault weapons.
  • Restrict gun ownership as a protective measure where background checks reveal domestic violence restraining orders or convictions, aggravated menacing or similar offenses involving violence or the threat of violence.
  • Provide for conceal-carry permitting, subject to the rights of citizens to establish limited gun free zones, and offer a gun diversion program for first time, non-violent offenders which includes instruction on gun safety and information on the legal requirements for possessing a firearm in Ohio.
  • Vigorously oppose Conceal-Carry Reciprocity, which would impose a dangerous race to the bottom among States by setting national uniform standards based on the weakest existing laws regarding conceal and carry.

Environmental justice

Today Ohio’s environmental live support system, including the air, water, soil and ecosystems that regulate the climate and sustain the long-term health of people and communities, is under serious threat from a consumer culture driven by manufactured false needs and induced scarcity designed to externalize environmental costs while yielding short term profits for the CEOs and shareholders of the extractive industries, including a boom and bust Oil and Gas industry that has captured government regulators to the point where our State’s environmental laws have become ineffective at protecting the public health. As a result, people in farms, villages and towns across the state are becoming increasingly alarmed. In Mahoning County for example, a citizen referendum to pass a community bill of rights that would restrict fracking in populated urban areas was defeated by a well-funded media campaign led by politicians in Columbus, who said they had no choice. We were told we must choose between “jobs vs the environment”. But who should ever have to choose between having food on the table or safe drinking water, or between a child’s education and an environment free of airborn toxins capable of causing neurological damage. Furthermore, in a country where for decades lawmakers and corporate, agribusiness CEOs have talked about feeding the world, it seems we are doing a very poor job of feeding ourselves. According to the US Department of Agriculture, food insecurity in Ohio is at 16.8% of all Ohioans, significantly above the national average! More and more children are becoming obese, because their bodies are craving nutrition, but becoming addicted to refined sugar and empty calories. Meanwhile, the life is being processed out of our food supply and the very soils of this State are becoming nutrient poor, even as we throw away 40% of the food that we grow, creating a huge environmental footprint in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, polluted runoff and wasting of energy, material and water resources. If elected, my Administration will work aggressively to put an end to this madness. We will:
  • Adjust the state’s renewable portfolio standards, energy pricing structures and publicly funded research to drive a rapid transition to a clean energy future
  • Establish a Superfund for Workers, providing financial and educational assistance to workers and their families displaced by the transition to renewable industries.
  • Impose a statewide moratorium on new high volume, unconventional gas extraction (fracking) operations until the science provides sufficient information to accurately determine the level of associated direct, cumulative and long-term risks to public health, and until any such site operations are certified as safe by the Ohio Department of Health.
  • Ban the further use of injection wells and other above and below ground long-term storage facilities for the purpose of disposing of wastewater, brine waste, and residual solid wastes generated by hydraulic fracturing (fracking)
  • Classify fracking wastewater and its derivatives as "hazardous" waste under Ohio law, notwithstanding the current federal exemption of oil and gas development waste from regulation under the Superfund Act.
  • Stop misuse of State leasing and eminent domain authorities for private fossil fuel extraction and other non-community based theft of Ohio’s lands, public or private.
  • Strengthen and enforce Ohio’s water and air quality standards to incentivize best practices that substantially reduce public and environmental health risks stemming from cumulative, long term pollution sources, according to the precautionary principle.
  • Enact a comprehensive, state-wide zero-waste manufacturing and sales policy to rapidly transition to sustainably usable, repairable, reusable and recyclable consumer products and packaging, including a state-wide ban on single use, non-biodegradable consumer product packaging.
  • Change the focus of the Ohio Department of natural Resources from exploitation and “management” of our natural resources to Conservation.
  • Invest in a state-wide climate resilience initiative using evidence-based ecological design principles and techniques to restore well-functioning terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, sequester carbon, reduce heat island effect, enhance biodiversity, and reduce potential losses to life and property due to catastrophic weather events.
  • Implement a comprehensive phosphorous reduction program throughout the Lake Erie Basin, and prioritize implementation of policies and programs developed via the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and other partnership-based efforts, to eliminate the threat of large-scale algae blooms and other threats to Lake Erie environmental quality.

International justice

My campaign and the Ohio Green Party strive for is a world in which people can freely choose to live in and work in any country, subject only to a country’s right to know the identity of persons seeking entry, and to protect public safety. Accordingly, we demand a complete overhaul of our immigration system, to bring peace and justice to the millions of people who are living and working in the U.S. with no legal status, including the 11 million plus DACA dreamers whose lives and futures have been used unjustly a political weapon by the right wing of the national political establishment. We submit that when it comes to immigration, there are many exploited, abused and terrorized people, there are people whose families are being broken up, but there are no illegal people! We strongly condemn any hostility between the United States of America, the Republic of Korea, and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. We demand that the United States President, Donald Trump, stop playing with the lives of millions of Koreans through tweets. We also demand that the United States restore all democratic rights and self-rule to the Republic of Korea. Currently, the United States Military curtails the freedom of the government of South Korea for their personal benefit. In the 21st century, we need to start looking for ways to peacefully resolve our conflicts instead of having a shouting match that can result in the deaths of millions of people. Consistent with the Green Party values, the Constance for Ohio campaign supports the right of our Nation to self-defense, but we strongly reject policies that are based on a neo-colonial militarism that only serves to protect the interests of unaccountable corporate interests while making war inevitable and endangering the lives of millions. We support international debt relief as a decolonization measure that also serves as an investment in a sustainable, climate resilient future. We support divestment as a non-violent approach to holding accountable in firms and industries that are linked to international human rights and environmental abuses. We support fair trade policies that encourage direct international economic cooperation between small enterprises and communities, including trade that promotes the sustainable management of forests and other ecosystems as a source of livelihoods for indigenous and local communities world-wide. Finally, we reject isolationism and American exceptionalism as an approach to international policy. We also reject trade agreements such as NAFTA that are based on the neo-liberal model allowing for unfettered movement of financial capital, while undermining worker’s rights and environmental protections. If elected, my administration will:
  • Ensure equitable access to Ohio’s criminal justice and social service systems, by establishing Ohio as a sanctuary state, banning immigrant detainers requested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) absent a federal warrant issued with due process of law, and by prohibiting Ohio’s public officials from disclosing to ICE immigration status information on persons residing in Ohio.
  • Call upon the federal Administration to make family reunification a priority in accepting applications for permanent residency. This means permanent border passes to all citizens of Mexico and Canada whose identity can be traced and verified, to be granted regardless of political views, racial or national origin, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, disability, or any other arbitrary basis.
  • Demand accountability from our immigration officials, who must own the fact that many of those subject to deportation are victims of displacement caused by the economic policies and military actions of the U.S. government or U.S. based corporations.
  • Demand an end to the inhumanity of a resident worker system that bars cross-border travel, and imposes a devil’s bargain of earning a living or being with one’s family.
  • Move to scale up an inclusive refugee resettlement system in Ohio that keeps faith with our UN Commitments by affording all persons fleeing political, racial, religious or other types of persecution with permanent resident status. It is time that we face head on the reality of mass dislocation caused by resource wars and climate change, and respond proactively to stem the rising tide of stateless, helpless and hopeless persons.

Social Justice

As socially responsible progressives, we know that affordable, quality and comprehensive healthcare is a basic right of all Ohioans. There is a reason why elevated infant mortality, chronic asthma, diabetes, and lower life expectancy correlate with lower socio-economic and racial minority status. Yet, in America, we have managed to turn basic healthcare into a privilege rather than a right. We know that the crisis of Health Care is a crisis of social justice is a crisis of capitalism is a crisis of our democracy! The Affordable Care Act was at best an interim solution, as it places reliance on employer-funded insurance policies and targeted subsidies to expand health coverage. However, since its inception the number of companies participating in the exchanges has dropped from 17 to 11, statewide, including the recent withdrawal of Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, leaving the residents of 18 counties in Ohio’s Appalachian regions without any access to participating insurance carriers. If elected, we will work to create a universal, single-payer healthcare system in Ohio. This system would be state-administered, which is one point of distinction from the system proposed by Bernie Sanders. This would make the system more resilient and less prone to the kind of attacks currently being leveled by the U.S. Congress. However, in most other respects, our proposal would track the Sander’s proposal. It would:
  • create unrestricted access to our state's excellent medical facilities and eliminate the crushing burden of private health insurance;
  • relieve Ohio employers of the necessity of providing coverage to their employees, freeing up funds for research and development and the hiring of new workers.
  • Increase labor mobility as individuals are no longer tied to a job solely because it provides them with private insurance, and
  • Enable families to keep more of their income to invest in their children.
  • Institute Single-payer healthcare for Ohio and give all Ohioans basic, quality healthcare as a right, including comprehensive reproductive healthcare and sexual health care for women and people of all genders.
  • Implement a Guaranteed Basic Income (GBI) and overhaul Ohio’s social programs to develop human potentials and sustainable livelihoods instead of perpetual poverty.
  • Safeguard women’s reproductive rights and right to privacy, and oppose any legislation that would infringe upon these rights, including pending legislation that would require doctors to investigate a woman’s reasons for terminating a pregnancy.
  • Provide equitable access to safe, clean and adequate housing and public transportation to those in need.
  • Expand school and community-based nutritional programs for families.
  • Provide additional support for single parents.
  • Use a universal healthcare system in Ohio to provide mental health and addiction services. Treat drug addiction as a health condition, not a criminal issue. For far too long, this state's leaders have discussed nothing more than incremental change, which merely puts off the inevitable for another day. The time has come for the big ideas and brave reforms the people of Ohio need and deserve. The time has come for healthcare for all! With 17% food insecurity in a land where the 1% are getting richer and the rest of us are getting poorer, the distribution of that hardship was not determined based on some random lottery. That is not how we arrived at a situation where 1 out of every 4 children in Ohio struggled to get a good meal! In this so called “nation of plenty” we are starving our single moms and their children! If elected, my Administration will:
    • Adopt sustainable food and farming policies that alleviate food insecurity, reduce food waste, improve public health, restore farm ecosystems, and create living wage jobs both on and off the farm.
    • Engage with agribusiness and community stakeholders to expand markets for locally-sourced and fairly-priced agricultural products while incentivizing farmland protection and intergenerational land tenure to alleviate the socio-economic conditions that contribute to sprawl.
    • Tackle the root causes of food insecurity and food waste by removing legal and economic barriers to broad-scale adoption of innovations in sustainable agriculture that improve health and productivity of soil, plants, and livestock. Furthermore, as a society and in the way we carry on public discourse, we need to be respectful of all the multiple dimensions of people’s identities. In Ohio marriage equality must be protected, but we also must recognize that it is not the only issue effecting the rights of LGBTQ+ people. While we strongly support the 1st amendment rights of all Americans, we will oppose any law that would give people the right to discriminate under the pretext of religious freedom. In Ohio, we need a clear and unambiguous equal protection law protecting LGBT people from discrimination not just by government, but also by employers, places of business, and other organizations. Love should not be a politicized issue. Finally, we act decisively, engaging our justice system, our education system, and other parts of the government, to stop the rising tide of hate crimes targeting LGBT people. We will:
      • Guarantee equal protection under law and the basic right of LGBTQ+ people to be free express from discrimination, by government, employers, schools, and places of business. We will require accommodations for persons of all genders in public facilities. Further to promote social justice, my Administration will:
        • Provide Public preK-12 school funding that is equitable and sufficient to secure a quality education as a basic right of all Ohioans while eliminating the unconstitutional property tax-based school funding formula.
        • Establish and work towards a goal of tuition-free secondary education for all Ohioans.
        • Phase in student debt relief, including a program to offset property tax payments with a refundable tax credit applied to reduce student loan indebtedness of Ohio’s post-secondary graduates.
        • Provide relief and support to teachers by adequately funding Ohio's classrooms.
        • End the school to prison pipeline. Allow schools to turn down money provided for school resource officers, and provide alternative programming to bring more community engagement and family engagement into the schools. Provide early intervention and alternatives to incarceration or juvenile court involvement of students. Provide meaningful counseling onsite at school campuses.
        • Promote gifted and talented programs in schools, particularly in under-performing school systems.
        • Bring back arts and music education and extra-curricular activities in our schools. Provide a well-rounded education for Ohio's students.
        • Discontinue the use of private prisons in Ohio, and instruct the Correction Institute Inspection Committee to guide implementation of a plan to eliminate prison overpopulation and improve safety and health standards without adding new capacity.
        • Allocate 10% of the Rainy Day Fund and savings from ending mass incarceration of non-violent drug offenders to significantly increase state funding for comprehensive opioid prevention and treatment.
        • Decriminalize the child support law. Discontinue driver's rights suspensions for non-payment of child support. Discontinue felony prosecution for non-payment. Use a civil collections process including property and tax refund liens to enforce child support obligations. Change child support calculation to reflect actual ability to pay.
        • Decriminalize, legalize, regulate and tax the production, trade and use of marijuana for medical and adult recreational use, and industrial hemp, while ensuring the economic benefits of the emerging cannabis industry stay in Ohio with equitable access for small and medium size firms.
        • Expunge all criminal records related to nonviolent drug possession offenses and use taxes gained by legal marijuana sales to fund substance abuse prevention, including youth development, and wrap-around addiction treatment services.
        • Divert a portion of the tax revenue gained by legal marijuana sales to the communities most affected by the war on drugs to help rebuild schools and expand economic mobility and reintegration into society.
        • Preserve the home rule prerogatives of local governments and districts to regulate the production, sale and use of cannabis products according to the democratic will of their constituents.

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