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State Representative Mike Curtin discusses marijuana legalization legislation, the 2016 presidential race and Citizens United

mike curtin“It’s been said your number one priority is family, and your number three priority is politics, so why don’t you tell them what your number two priority is?” Jerry Austin asked State Representative Mike Curtin (D) of Ohio’s 17th District during our class on January 26.

“I umpire baseball and fast-pitch baseball,” the Rep. Curtin replied. “Baseball is my love.”

Certainly, that is not the only unorthodox aspect of Rep. Curtin’s venture into politics. Born in Columbus in 1951, Rep. Curtin attending The Ohio State University where he majored in journalism and wrote for The Lantern.

“It was a tumultuous time on our campuses in Ohio and across the country,” Rep. Curtin told the class. “I got a great education in journalism because the times were so turbulent. We were covering riots, escalations with police….It was a great time to be thrown into the pool. To learn journalism by doing it.”

After college, Rep. Curtin joined the Columbus Dispatch. He spent the next 31 years there, eventually becoming the paper’s Chief Operating Officer. Rep. Curtin spent most of his time with the paper covering state and local politics. Rep. Curtin is also a published author. He co-wrote The Ohio Politics Almanac with Julia Barry Bell in 2006.

Following state-wide redistricting in 2010, Rep. Curtin ran for a newly created seat on the Westside of Columbus in 2012. Rep. Curtin has been active on a number of issues including redistricting reform, constitutional reform to block state-sanctioned monopolies and opposing monopolistic marijuana legalization – an issue he notes, “Willie Nelson was with us on.” Rep. Curtin further suggested similar tactics were impending with possible legislation for a Green Energy monopoly.

In our discussion, Rep. Curtin also discussed Citizens United, which allows for unlimited campaign contributions from corporations and unions to politically-motivated non-profited.

“Citizens United changed everything,” Rep. Curtin noted. This anonymous money can be used to mobilize canvassers, issue direct mailers, and purchase television and radio ads.

When asked about the 2016 Presidential race, Rep. Curtin said, “Twenty years ago, [U.S. Senator] Rob Portman would have been the strongest presidential candidate.” However, Rep. Curtin noted, “John Kasich has a good ground game.”

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