Off the Cuff: Tim Hagan

This week’s Off the Cuff features Tim Hagan, Democratic Candidate for Governor of Ohio.

I’ve heard you’re for state sanctioning of civil unions for gay couples. Seems like that might be a pretty unpopular position in a Republican-dominated state like Ohio. How’d you come to that decision?

If I only took popular positions I wouldn’t take half of the ones I have now. I believe very strongly that human beings are entitled to commit themselves in an adult relationship with whoever they choose. Discrimination against anyone is just discrimination. If adults are consenting, they should be allowed to decide [how to live their lives]. The way to do that is through civil unions.

You’re also against capital punishment?

Yes, I oppose capital punishment. I do not believe you enhance human life when society collectively does what we would condemn an individual for doing. I understand when somebody responds emotionally when someone takes another life. But there’s no indication that the death penalty is any deterrent on those kinds of crimes. In addition to that we now know, thanks to DNA testing, that in America we have put innocent individuals to death. I would rather let 99 people guilty of the crime go free than to have one innocent person put to death.

Besides the advantage of being the incumbent, Governor Bob Taft has around nine times as much to spend on this race than you do and a political family legacy going back to William Howard Taft, 27th president of the United States. Republicans have won every statewide election in Ohio for the past eight years. Yet people are saying it’s still too early to call this election. Why is that?

I think it has much to do with the referendum on Taft. Ohio ranks 41st in the number of college graduates, 48th in the development of new business. The average Ohioan makes $1,500 dollars less than the average American. Our schools and higher education are in total disarray. If they’re going to take responsibitlity for the sunshine, they have to take responsibility for the rain. And it’s raining in Ohio.

Governor Bob Taft has said it’s “too soon” for your economic recovery plan. What’s he missing?

Well, what he’s missing is that he’s been the governor of Ohio for four years, he’s got a four million dollar deficit, and he wants to delay making any decisions until the election. Take the four years he’s been governor — if he was CEO of a company, and bankrupted the company, they’d throw him out. He has no plan, because we have to assume that his plan was what he did for the last four years.

I understand your wife played Captain Kathryn Janeway on “Star Trek: Voyager.” Has her fame helped your campaign?

My wife’s professional success has been very helpful. Many of her friends and many of the people who admire her have been very supportive, in Ohio and around the country.

Okay, the war in Iraq. What do you think?

I think that President Bush, who never served a day in his life, is prepared to make a decision that the majority of American people will regret. We should not, without U.N. sanction, make any move on Iraq. I think it’s just fundamentally wrong for Bush to change the policy of this country, which has never held that we should attack when unprovoked. The only way we can make any action against Iraq would be through the sanction of the U.N.

Last question. What would your governorship mean for a little college town like Oberlin?

Well, I hope that my Governorship would first address the clear issues that are the social inequity of the society we live in. Certainly seniors on fixed incomes, give them the possibility to buy perscription drugs at 40 50 percent of what it is now. I would have an urban policy that would be responsive to small cities like Oberlin. And I’d be supportive of the private institutions like Oberlin that are vitally important for the economic viability of of the community.

Thanks a lot. Good luck.

Thank you.

Interview conducted by News Editor Greg Walters.

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