One thing that has become an unfortunate part of our post-mass-shooting national protocol is that the statements from politicians, especially those who have no interest in doing anything to mitigate the problem, all sound the same. Politicians, in general, tend to wear out cliches and rarely offer anything new or insightful, but this is most notable when they attempt to respond to something that touches us on such a personal, visceral level like gun violence does.
While a lot has been made of the record numbers of Democrats running for office in 2018, with special empahsis on the amount of women running, it has also struck me at how the normal political pipeline has been disrupted by people from all different backgrounds deciding to add their voice to the political process. So far, I've endorsed scientists and veterans, small business owners and retirees, heck, even a beekeeper for political office. It's this kind of diversity - diversity of experience - that breathes new life into debates that have gotten stale.
The latest candidate LEAP Foward is endorsing - Lorraine Wilburn of Ohio's 48th state House district, is another first-time candidate who is bringing a fresh perspective on politics. A wife, mother, and longtime civic advocate who got involved in politics at the age of 12 as a volunteer for the Mondale-Ferraro campaign, she expressed a very personal interest in gun violence as someone who had worked in domestic violence shelters, where she saw the need for limiting access to weapons. Wilburn also worked with groups lobbying to ban domestic abusers from keeping or obtaining gun permits. I was especially impressed with her thoughts on gun violence generally:
As of February 5th, there have been approximately 1,601 mass shootings, with at least 1,813 people killed and 6,434 wounded since we said never again after Sandy Hook. Guns are now the number three killer of children in this country. It is time to take a look at what we are doing wrong and find real solutions. I do not believe that anyone wants to take away American's 2nd Amendment rights, including me, however it is time for some common sense gun reform. Everyday citizens do not need AR15s and banana clips. We do not need more guns in the hands of more people or lax gun regulation. We may not be able to keep the guns out of the hands of every would be criminal, but we are complicit in every gun death if we don't try to solve our gun violence epidemic in this country.
District 48 has long been represented by Republican Kirk Schuring, another reliable vote for the NRA and a sponsor of their legislation. With his retirement, Ms. Wilburn has an open district and is being opposed by a similarly term-limited State Senator now seeking a House seat in a cynical bit of job-swapping. If ever there was a time and a place for a change in representation, it is here and now, and Lorraine Wilburn is the candidate that can do just that.
You can follow this race and find information on how to help Ms. Wilburn's campaign HERE.