Aftab Pureval for Congress

Aftav_Chabot

Aftab Pureval is challenging Steve Chabot, the incumbent Republican, to represent Ohio’s 1st District in the House of Representatives.  Opinion polls show this race is a toss up, so every vote will  matter.  My attempt to provide a rational assessment of the candidates is probably more than you want to wade through, so here is a quick summary:

  • If you support Donald Trump, vote for Chabot. 
  • If you oppose Trump, vote for Pureval.
  • If you just want the best person for the job, vote for Pureval.

I wish more of the us were in that third category, but the reality is that Trump continues to dominate the political landscape even though he is hardly mentioned by the candidates.

In 2016, I supported Aftab Pureval for Clerk of Courts, selecting him as the stand out candidate among those running for local office.  He won, unseating the Republican incumbent.   He then proceeded to deliver better service to the community:

He did all while saving money (rounded up to  $1 million in first year) and increasing the revenue .  You would think that ending political patronage, reducing the size of government, providing better service,  and saving money would please conservatives, since these are in keeping with their typical talking points. 

In politics, however, you undermine your opponent’s record, whatever it is. Chabot’s first political ad tries to turn these accomplishments on their head.  Eliminating unnecessary positions and getting rid of political appointees becomes, in Chabot’s ad, “firing long time employees.”  Chabot’s ad concludes “Aftab may mean sunshine but his record is pretty SHADY”.  As political ads often are, this ad is misleading, but at least you could argue that it is tethered to the truth. 

The same cannot be said for the ad from the Congressional Leadership Fund.  This paid ad, titled “Lies and Hypocrisy,” was the first thing to pop up in any Google searches involving the word “Pureval.”  The ad somehow ties Aftab Pureval to Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, and features a picture of Gaddafi, looking sinister as ever, a scary picture of some terrorists, and, for good measure, a picture of Aftab Pureval and Hillary Clinton smiling together into the camera.  The tortured logic connecting Pureval to Libya is completely refuted by the Washington Post, which concludes:

Even by modern mudslinging standards, these ads by the Congressional Leadership Fund stand out for their dark tone and their strained relationship with the facts.  These attack ads are grossly misleading. We give them a cumulative rating of Four Pinocchios.

Pureval’s first ad, in contrast, is largely positive.  His name is Aftab, which means “sunshine”.   He is the son of immigrants: his mother was a refugee from Tibet, and his parents met in India.  He was born and raised in Ohio and was educated at local colleges.  He has only a slight dig at his opponent, who has “simply been there in too long”. He concludes with the promise: “New leadership that fights for you.”

The release of new ads continue as the campaign enters the home stretch.  One features Pureval playing softball.  Others just throw mud, accusing each other of lying.

There is one of Chabot’s attacks that seems to have some substance.  Pureval, who is not accepting corporate donations, used money from the Clerk of Courts campaign funds.  The question is whether or not this was spent for the congressional campaign, which would be illegal.  Pureval’s campaign claims “All of these expenditures were appropriate and legal.”

One of the disputes is over Chabot’s record on health care.  Chabot opposes Obamacare, saying that the American people deserve better.  Of course, the Republicans have not been able to actually craft anything better, but that is not the point of contention.  The argument is over pre-existing conditions.  Chabot says that he has always supported protecting people with pre-existing conditions.  Pureval says that he “voted to strip away protections from people with pre-existing conditions.  It appears that both claims are true.  Chabot “supported legislation to replace Obamacare [that] guaranteed coverage for those with pre-existing conditions.”  This sounds great, but nobody could come up with an workable plan that met this requirement.  The legislation he ended up voting for did not protect people with pre-existing conditions.  I think Pureval has the better argument here. 

However, the more substantive issue is how to address the heath care financing in this country.  The Republicans have been up in arms over Obamacare for years, but have been unable to craft a replacement.  Chabot has shown that he will loyally follow whatever the Republican leadership comes up with, which, most likely, will be more attempts to sabotage the system they inherited from Obama while they dither around, failing to come up with a viable alternative.  On the other hand, some Democrats want to offer a “single payer” system; Pureval seems to be interested in more modest strengthening of Obamacare.

The two candidates fall along traditional party lines on the other substantive issues as well.  Concerning the economy, Chabot emphasizes lower taxes and less regulation, especially for small businesses.  Pureval talks of “equal pay for equal work”, protecting unions, and raising the minimum wage.  On taxes, Pureval emphasizes fairness in taxation.  He wants permanent relief for the middle class, and to “ensure that hedge fund managers don’t pay less than working families”.  Chabot touts the Trump tax cuts.  Thus, one represents the interests of the those he labels the job creators, the other the workers.  Both claim to support the middle class.

Chabot supports a constitutional amendment that would impose a balanced budget.  This is in line with traditional (pre-Trump) Republican thinking.  It is a bad idea that would be disastrous if implemented.  First of all, no business operates without using debt, and many of our most successful businesses go through periods where they loose money.  Secondly, if we suffered a financial recession like 1929 (or 2008), having such an amendment would force the government to take the same actions that were taken in the Hoover administration, exacerbating the problem.  Finally, while Chabot touts this proposal claiming to be concerned with prudent financial management,  he votes profligately for tax cuts, increased defense spending, and consequently, ever larger budget deficits.

An issue not talked about directly by either candidate concerns race.  When Chabot talks about immigration, he focuses attention on gangs, while Pureval, the son of immigrants, speaks of the American dream.   Generally Cbabot plays the card subtly, labeling Pureval as an outsider by focusing on whether he was raised in the district (Beavercreek is in a neighboring district), or whether he lived in the district.  Before deciding to run, Pureval lived on the other side of the carefully gerrymandered line splitting apart the voters in Cincinnati.  For his part, Pureval “celebrates diversity and inclusion.  People who don’t agree with him on this will vote for Chabot. 

If you care at all about protecting the environment, Pureval, though hardly a zealot, is the clear choice.  He wants to properly fund the Environmental Protection Agency.  Chabot does not even mention the environment on his web site.  As late as 2014, he was saying “Despite claims to the contrary, the evidence concerning man-made climate change is far from conclusive.  Chabot is focused on energy independence, and wants to “increase domestic oil production.”  Perhaps this is the Koch brother’s PAC Americans for Prosperity has put its weight behind Chabot.

For Chabot, a central issue is abortion, which, he says, “has been described as the moral issue of our time.”  (It irritates me that he expresses his central moral position in the passive voice and attributes it to others.)  Chabot will do what he can to undermine access to abortions.  Pureval thinks “we must support a woman’s constitutional right to choose safe, legal abortions established in Roe v. Wade.  Pureval does not think the election is about abortion, but for those driven by this one issue, the choice is clear.

I disagree with Chabot not only about abortion, but about what truly is the moral issue of our time.  The Republican party has descended into deceit and bigotry.  Trump is the result.  There are a few brave souls in the party, such as John Kasich, who are standing up for traditional Republican values, but most, like Chabot, are just riding the wave wherever it takes them.  Historians are sounding warning bells: we could loose our democracy.  Steve Chabot, over two decades in Congress, has shown no sign of having the courage and independence that our time in history demands.

Though Chabot wants to paint Pureval as a lefty,  he is not.  He is a follower not of the anti-establishment social democrats, but of Obama.  For example, he has not come out for reform of our marijuana laws, an issue that I think would bring out the voters.  Whether Pureval will emerge as the kind of leader that I hope for is yet to be seen.  I want to give him that chance. 

Aftab PurevalMy impression of the two candidates is that both seem to be genuinely nice people who want the best for this nation.  Given my view of the current state of the Republican party, I would vote Democrat.  However,  in this case, I can enthusiastically support the person, not just the party.

 

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Aftab Pureval for Clerk of Courts

I started evaluating the candidates for local office, but in most cases, I found my result so heavily influenced by party affiliation that it was not worth posting on the web.  I think the Republican Party, despite Governor Kasich’s attempt to steer it past the current catastrophe, is morally and intellectually bankrupt.  At the national level, Trump is the proof.

ruehlmanAt the local level, we have Judge Ruehlman, formally reprimanded by the Ohio Supreme Court, reversed on appeal for a “brazen” ruling, and described as pretty much a nightmare in his handling of a case involving alleged rape.   Even the Cincinnati Enquirer, which usually supports Republicans and seldom involves itself at all in judicial races, says that it is time to “retire Judge Ruehlman”.  A robust party committed to good government would have found a candidate to replace him, but this party is more interested in using the political advantage of incumbency to win the election.

In my opinion, the Republican Party needs to be thoroughly gutted so that we can replace it with a party that embraces truth and good government.  In light of this, it hardly matters what I think of an individual candidate.

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Aftab Pureval (CHRISTIN BERRY/BLUE MARTINI PHOTOGRAPHY)

However, there is one, Aftab Pureval for Clerk of Courts, whom I can endorse based on his qualifications and ideas, not just because his opponent is another no-good Republican (though she is at best mediocre).  I met him at a block party for my new neighborhood, where he introduced himself as “Aftab”, saying that people had trouble with his last name.  With him was a friend, a volunteer, wearing an “Aftab” t-shirt. I have seen that t-shirt pop up at other events: a political rally and a community counsel meeting.  I am impressed that he has such volunteers supporting his campaign.

Meanwhile, the Republican incumbent has been getting into trouble for pressuring the people she supervises to volunteer for her campaign.  Apparently, this is not illegal, but we voters can judge whether or not it is ethical.  Aftab promises to end such practices if elected.

Aftab Pureval, though relatively young, already has an impressive resume.  He graduated of Ohio State and the University of Cincinnati Law School.   As a lawyer, he has worked for a firm in Washington DC, has represented battered women, has worked as a federal prosecutor, and currently is working in house for Proctor and Gamble.  He is also a co-owner of a small business.

Tracy Winkler was appointed to be the Clerk Of Courts in 2011.   She seems to have gotten the job because of her family connections: she is married to Judge Ralph Winkler.  In 2012, she won the election as the incumbent Republican.

Pureval has ideas as to how the Clerk of Courts could be run better.  Winkler brags her office is running a surplus, but the fees that we pay here are higher than in Cleveland and Columbus.  In some other counties in Ohio, court records are available on-line; Pureval thinks he can make that happen in Hamilton County as well.

The reality is that Clerk of Courts is probably the pinnacle of Tracy Winkler’s career, while for Aftab Pureval, it is a stop on the way.  Once he has successfully accomplished his goals for this office, he will probably move on.  However, Hamilton County will be well served.  He is qualified, articulate, and hard working.  He will improve the services provided by the office.  He deserves your vote.