Cordray is obvious choice in Dem race for governor

Democratic voters in the Mahoning Valley have an interesting choice to make in the May 8 primary for governor: They can either vote with their hearts or their heads.

If a grand emotional gesture is important, area Democrats should cast their ballots for Boardman resident Joe Schiavoni, who has served in the state Senate since 2009.

But if extensive, varied experience in government is important, they should vote with their heads for Richard Cordray, the former director of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Corday also has served as Ohio attorney general, Ohio treasurer, Franklin County treasurer, solicitor general and state representative.

He has been in the public sector for 27 years, and his bid for governor is a natural political progression.

There are two other major candidates in the battle for the Democratic nomination for governor: former U.S. Rep. and ex-Cleveland Mayor Dennis Kucinich; and, former Ohio Supreme Court Justice and ex-court of appeals Judge Bill O’Neill of Chagrin Falls.

The Vindicator Editorial Board interviewed the four candidates separately, and while we were intrigued by the liberal bent of Kucinich’s and O’Neill’s campaigns, we were taken aback by their support for the legalization of recreational marijuana.

It would appear they haven’t been paying attention to major employers in Ohio desperate for workers who can pass a drug test.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, has often noted there are more than 130,000 jobs in the private sector that need to be filled immediately. Unfortunately, employers can’t find applicants who are qualified and drug-free.

The next governor of Ohio must be cognizant of the fact that businesses unable to fill vacancies in this state will look elsewhere to set up shop.

Thus, we believe the choice in the May 8 primary for governor is between Cordray, who served with distinction as the first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and Schiavoni, who was the Senate minority leader from 2013 to 2017.

Cordray has a long history of fighting for working men and women and taking on the giants of finance that prey on the most vulnerable members of society.

Payday lending industry

His battle against the payday lending industry – the predatory loan practices of the companies are on full display in just about every community in Ohio – struck a chord with us.

Mahoning Valley residents got an up-close look at Cordray’s willingness to confront major corporations. As attorney general, he successfully fought to preserve health care and jobs with the Forum Health merger, and he was on the front lines of protecting Ohio’s interests and those of the Lordstown auto assembly complex during General Motors’ bankruptcy.

During the home foreclosure crisis, Cordray worked with local officials and nonprofit agencies to save thousands of Ohioans’ homes.

Schiavoni, who acknowledged that he doesn’t have the largest campaign fund or Washington connections like Cordray, says he has spent the past decade in the state fighting for Ohioans every day.

While we do not question his commitment to the race or his sincerity in wanting to help those in need, we are puzzled by his failure to recognize that a candidate with low name recognition in a statewide election needs a lot of money to reach out to the voters.

When asked by The Vindicator how he intended to conduct a campaign for governor on a shoestring budget he said he was shoring up his support among younger voters via the internet.

There may well come a time when money is no longer the mother’s milk of politics. But that time isn’t now.

Indeed, the campaign finance reports filed by candidates are often an indicator of the level of support and interest.

The fact that Schiavoni has failed to match the money raised by the Cordray campaign gives us pause.

The November general election promises to be one of the most expensive in recent history, which is why Democrats need to vote with their heads in the primary election a week from Tuesday.

The Vindicator’s endorsement of Cordray for the party’s nomination is based on his record as a public servant and his ability to raise the money needed for the fall campaign.

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