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Ohio Secretary of State Week in Review for the Week Ending September 10, 2021

Promoting Ohio's Safe at Home Program

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose continues to meet with domestic violence advocates and shelters across Ohio to raise public awareness and increase participation in Ohio's Safe at Home program. On Wednesday, the Secretary met with the executive staff at Lutheran Social Services CHOICES for Victims of Domestic Violence in Franklin County to showcase the profoundly important work they do for so many survivors and their families in central Ohio.

Under Safe at Home, survivors of domestic violence can shield their home address from public records access when they register to vote, helping to keep their location safe from an abuser. During his time in office, the Secretary has worked to modernize and improve the accessibility of the program. Improving its utilization could benefit thousands of additional domestic abuse survivors. No one should ever have to have to choose between their right to vote and their personal safety.

The Secretary also discussed his efforts to extend the protections afforded by Safe at Home to other components of state law that may also expose the personal information of domestic abuse survivors to their abusers. House Bill 93 is bipartisan legislation pending in the Ohio House that would apply these same public record privacy protections to survivors who wish to purchase a home. The Secretary and his team continue to work closely with the legislature to help ensure the timely passage of HB 93.

Watch WCMH NBC4's coverage of the event here, or by clicking on the image below.

LaRose Safe At Home NBC4

Honoring the Lives Lost on 9/11

As our nation commemorates the 20th Anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, Secretary LaRose participated in Ohio's annual 9/11 Flag Memorial Ceremony at the Ohio Statehouse. The event pays tribute to the innocent victims who died on that day, our armed services members and military families who sacrificed so much in the wake of the attacks, and the courageous first responders who risked everything to come to the aid of their fellow American. In his remarks, Secretary LaRose described his hopes that America can rekindle the spirit of unity and patriotism that was exhibited in the wake of the terrorist attacks.

Following the ceremony, the Secretary joined dozens of volunteers in placing 2,977 U.S. Flags in the West Lawn of the Statehouse grounds, each representing one of the victims of the September 11 attacks.

Secretary LaRose is a combat veteran, having served in the US Army with the 101st Airborne, and ultimately with the U.S. Special Forces as a Green Beret. During his more than a decade in uniform around the globe, LaRose has received numerous commendations and honors, including the Bronze Star, and he continues to serve in the U.S. Army Reserves.

Read Secretary LaRose's guest column "Why We Can Never Forget" in the Highland County Press here.

Watch the full 9/11 Flag Memorial Ceremony here.

Frank LaRose attending Ohio's 9/11 Flag Memorial Ceremony

Fighting for Bipartisanship in New Legislative Maps

Secretary LaRose serves as one of the seven members of the Ohio Redistricting Commission, created when Ohio voters overwhelmingly approved two constitutional amendments in 2015 and 2018 that sought to remove political gamesmanship from the process by which legislative district maps have been traditionally drawn. Unfortunately, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the U.S. Census Bureau was five months late in fulfilling its mandate to provide the Commission with the population data needed to begin redrawing the maps.

Nonetheless, the Commission quickly got to work, holding ten meetings across the state to solicit public comment on improving our state legislative boundaries. The process continued this week as new legislative maps were presented for review and comment, and to begin the negotiation process. Throughout this process, the Secretary has urged his fellow commissioners and stakeholders to adhere to the will of Ohio's voters that the process be carried out in a bipartisan, collaborative manner, and that all partisan interests should be cast aside in pursuit of ten year maps that fulfill the intent of Ohio voters.

Frank LaRose at Ohio Redistricting Commission meeting

Frank LaRose at Ohio Redistricting Commission meeting

Addressing the NAACP State Conference

The two fundamental components of the mission of the Ohio Secretary of State are to help people vote and help people create new businesses. While Ohio is excelling at both and at historic levels, the Secretary continues to work to ensure that all Ohioans, particularly minority communities, enjoy the same experience and benefits of voter participation and entrepreneurship. Accordingly, since taking office in 2019, Secretary LaRose has worked to collaborate with minority communities, facilitate additional dialogue and information sharing, and encourage optimal participation in both Ohio's elections and economy.

On Friday, Secretary LaRose addressed the attendees and participants of the NAACP State Conference and Ohio Black Media Collective for its “Building a Stronger Ohio” Luncheon in Columbus. In his remarks, the Secretary thanked the NAACP for working with him to help increase voter registration and turnout, and in the case of the 2020 election, help fight disinformation campaigns that targeted urban communities in an illegal effort to suppress the vote among African Americans.

Frank LaRose at Building a Stronger Ohio luncheon

Frank LaRose at Building a Stronger Ohio luncheon

Important Election Dates & Reminders:

  • Underway: Early Voting Began on August 17 for the Toledo and Cleveland Municipal Elections
  • September 17: Voting for military and overseas Ohioans begins for the November 2 general election
  • October 4: Deadline for voter registration for the November 2 general election

Cleveland and Toledo Mayoral Primary Early In-Person Voting August 17th to August 20th from 8am to 5pm, August 23rd to August 27th from 8am to 5pm, August 30th to September 3rd from 8am to 5pm, September 7th to September 10th from 8am to 7pm, September 11th from 8am to 4pm, September 12th from 1pm to 5pm, September 13th from 8am to 2pm, and Election Day September 14th from 6:30am to 7:30pm

Additional Meetings:

The Secretary attended the 2021 Black College Football Hall of Fame Classic between Tennessee State and Grambling State in Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton. Prior to the game, the Secretary attended a reception to help honor this year's inductees into the Hall of Fame, which recognizes the exceptional football players, coaches and contributors from Historically Black Colleges and Universities across the nation.

Frank LaRose attending the 2021 Black College Football Hall of Fame Classic

Frank LaRose attending the 2021 Black College Football Hall of Fame Classic

In Case You Missed It:

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How three Ohio veterans helped save 150 Afghan allies and their families — using only the internet

For Rick Stockburger and other veterans of the War in Afghanistan, their fighting ended when they came home.

But the scheduled withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan meant many of the Afghan allies Stockburger and others made during their deployments would be left behind — possibly to face retribution including death, at the now-unfettered hands of Taliban fighters, who quickly regained control of the region.

Stockburger, now president and CEO of BRITE Energy Innovators in downtown Warren, his former Army comrade Matt Carpenter and another Ohio combat veteran coordinated from their homes with two other unnamed “foreign heroes," Hungarian special forces and other allies inside Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport to help get about 150 Afghan nationals out of the country.

All were combat advisers or Afghan National Army trainers who worked alongside U.S. forces in Baghlan Province for several years.

“We had to basically accept a ton of risk and we had to trust a ton of people that there was potential bad blood with all the time,” said Carpenter, another Afghanistan combat adviser who’s now a STEM teacher at Plain Local Schools near Canton.

“Every crazy thing I did, I had one of those guys I was trying to help get out of Afghanistan right next to me,” he said, discussing his deployment to the country. “We only went for one rotation. These guys did this mission year after year after year. They grew up and lived in a war zone all their life. This is all they’ve ever known.”

Read more here.

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