Columbus is a city of possibilities. Our city is skyrocketing in popularity. It is increasingly recognized as a great place to live, work, play and raise a family. There is so much creative capital in Columbus leading to new solutions.
We are a city on the rise. But as the arts, culture and amenities are feeding new appetites for urban living, they are also casting a veil over other realities. Columbus has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the country. One out of seven children don’t have enough food to eat. Twice those are living in poverty. Columbus ranks in the top five in the nation in economic segregation among major metro areas. This inequity impacts our schools, our neighborhoods and our economy, even as the city continues to grow.
Politicians, major developers and industry lobbyists are benefiting from new growth, while many residents are left to wonder when, or even if, the benefits of the city’s prosperity will reach their neighborhoods.
Our city faces serious problems, and establishment politics will not successfully resolve them. We need to face up to the reality of where we are as a city. New leaders are emerging with a big vision for addressing income inequality, poverty, and our infant mortality crisis.
Yes We Can Columbus is a coalition of passionate community members who believe that the people on their block hold the keys to building a better city. They are activists and small business owners, teachers and social workers, long-time residents and new community members who believe that all voices belong in the political process. They are people who want to live in neighborhoods that thrive.
Opening Up a Closed Politician Machine
The 2016 primary election holds unique possibilities for people in Columbus to bring more voices into the political process.
On the March 15 primary, 71 seats on the Franklin County Democratic Party Central Committee will be decided. These races will determine the balance of power within the local party. Different factions are competing for the ability to select party leadership and determine which candidates for public office will appear on the party’s sample ballot.
Yes We Can Columbus is supporting a group of candidates running for the Central Committee. These are candidates who want to bring the voices from their neighborhoods into the political process. They want to shift the conversation in the party towards one that values all the knowledge, experience and diversity Columbus has to offer. They believe this city and our government belong to all of us, not just a handful of millionaires and corporate lobbyists.
And rather than struggling for control of the party itself, Yes We Can Columbus is committed to changes that will make a real difference for people living and working in the city. We are thinking not just about making sure Democrats get elected. We are asking “How can we make sure everyone in our community can participate? What are we willing to fight for to make sure all of our families and communities are strong?” We want the local Democratic Party and its leaders to push for a $15 minimum wage, to establish district representation that is accountable to people and neighborhoods, and to establish limits on campaign contributions in order to preserve space for the voices of everyday people.
March 15 Is Your Chance to Say a Growing Columbus Should Benefit Everyone
It’s time for a change in Columbus. As cities across the country continue the slow recovery from the latest economic crisis, it is becoming apparent that economic gains at the top do not make for sustainable growth. Broad-based development that lifts up our neighbors and neighborhoods is the key to building cities that thrive beyond boom-and-bust cycles or the latest trends in urban living.
Yes We Can believes Columbus can be a city where all of our children feel safe and where everyone has a good job with decent benefits. We can be a city where everyone can pay for basics needs like food, housing, health care and transportation. Columbus can be a city with great schools and affordable housing, as well as vibrant arts and culture. Columbus can be a city where everyone has a voice in the direction of the city. Yes We Can Columbus is committed to this vision.
– Christine Happel, Candidate for Central Committee in Ward 9 (Franklinton)
Original Source: Columbus Underground, March 10, 2022