A Hero is Born: Sam Cao’s Campaign for Ohio State House
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A Hero is Born: Sam Cao’s Campaign for Ohio State House
When humans face challenges and are puzzles about what to do, it is often the case that a heroic youngster will step forward and use his/her young shoulders to protect us from wind and rain. The Mason-based 17-year-old young man Sam Cao is such a hero who has the courage to step forward to make changes for the Asian American community, for the younger generation, and for all the people. Sam is a Democrat candidate for the Ohio State House, District 56 (the former District 54 before the recent redistricting; the district number may change again because of the ongoing redistricting). The district is in the suburb of the Greater Cincinnati, and encompasses Mason, Deerfield, and the surrounding areas. His platform is based on love, compassion, and unity. Sam is the youngest candidate for the Ohio General Assembly and will become the youngest eve to take office once elected. Sam is now making history and let us make history together with Sam. Please visit Sam’s website at www.samcaoohio.com . The following is what Sam wrote about his journey for the campaign.
In 2022, there will be vacancy for Ohio State House, representing District 56 (former District 54 before the recent redistricting; the district name may change due to ongoing redistricting) that encompasses Mason, Deerfield, and the surrounding areas. Ohio allows people who will turn 18 by the general election to be candidates for the General Assembly. This is a great opportunity for Sam to be involved in public service and he has been preparing for the opportunity since he was a fifth grader.
I was born in California and lived in Philadelphia and Atlanta before moving to Mason Ohio. I am now a high school student at the William Mason High School. I love my school district, the teachers, students, and our community. I have volunteered in various occasions, supported various COVID pandemic-related relief efforts, and participated in the Debate and Speech Club and Model United Nations (MUN) Club. Winning many local and national awards in many MUN competitions has certainly boosted my interest even more. I am now the Communication Director of the Cincinnati youth chapter of the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs (APAPA) organization. My interest in public service is further deepened after I take the AP Government course. After careful thoughts, I have decided to run as a Democrat candidate for our district in Warren Country. After I had collected more than enough valid signatures, I submitted my petition on Feb. 2, 2022. My name is now officially on the ballot for the primaries on May 3. For my primary, there are only two candidates. Once I win, I will compete with the winner of the Republican Party for the general election on November 8, 2022.
My decision has been greatly supported by my family, friends, and my community. Many of my school friends have also persuaded their parents to vote for me. Since I have officially started my campaign, I have talked with various voters and nonvoters. I am willing to listen and embrace everyone even if they are not new immigrants who are ineligible to vote. Robert Francis Kennedy is my role model and he listened to everyone and even those who could not vote for him. Similarly, I talk with people because I want to understand them not because I want their votes.
There are several reasons why I want to run. First, the state legislature and government agencies should attract more younger people. By running, I hope to inspire my generation to participate in politics and public service. Second, I hope we all can be united to deal with various problems in America and improve our society after having seen how we are deeply divided and polarized. Third, the Asian community and other communities have encountered increasing challenges and even hate crimes since the outbreak of the pandemic. I want to use my own example to inspire more and more Asian young people and people from other communities to participate in public service and public affairs so that the rights of all of us can be guaranteed and protected. It is hard, but we have no choice.
My policies focus on the following few areas. (1) Education investment, especially investment in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics) education as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking. Intel has recently announced to invest more $20 billion to build two new factories and establish a new epicenter for advanced chipmaking in Columbus. This is just the beginning of the revival of the great state of Ohio. The Great Cincinnati Area and our District 54 can do more to attract and keep the brightest and most talented college graduates by attracting more high-tech companies to invest in our area. The growth of high-tech jobs will also lead to more population growth, which will benefit other industries such as the housing market, the food industry, and companies of fast-moving consumer goods. (2) Mental health is now becoming a huge challenge in Ohio. Every day, we hear stories of the loved ones suffering from mental illnesses or even committing suicide. Yet, we do not have resources to deal with such an epidemic. This is especially serious for K-12 public schools. We must allocate more resources to deal with mental issues. A report from Mental Health America finds that almost 25% of adults in Ohio struggle with mental health issues. A related question is the Opioid crisis in Ohio. I will work with the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services to make sure that we find the best solution to serve the interest of all Ohioans.
(3) Inclusion of history of Asian Americans and other minorities in public school Curriculum. Asian Americans have been to the country for more than 200 years. Yet, we are often considered foreigners and our history is not told. Last year, Illinois became the first state in the country to require the inclusion of Asian American history in public school curriculum. New Jersey may become the second state to do the same. I am happy to see that state senator Tina Maharath is sponsoring Bill that require Ohio K-12 public school to develop curriculum on Asian American history in the U.S., in Ohio and the Midwest. I also support the inclusion of the history of other minorities in K-12 curriculum.(4) Investment in infrastructure and sustainable development, with more bike lanes and sidewalks and fewer plastic bags. Despite a rapidly growing population, we still do not have the infrastructure to meet that. Ohio ranks the 41st out of the whole nation in infrastructure spending. What we need for a better and more sustainable future is bike lanes and sidewalks, to foster health and encourage alternative green methods of travel. I have seen people walk on roads or trek through what seemingly appears to be jungles to get from point A to point B. That is no condition to foster a community in. We need to bring the rest of the district into the 21st century. I am also a strong advocate for environmental protection and sustainable development. We Americans use 100 million plastic bags each year and most of them are single-use plastic bags. These bags have a devastating impact on oceans, wildlife, and our own health. In 2014, California became the first state to ban single-use plastic bags. More than 100 countries have adopted some forms of regulations on plastic bags. It is time for Ohio to regulate single-use plastic bags so that we can become greener and more eco-friendly.
Thank you so much for your support. I will try my hardest to work for you. My website is: www.samcaoohio.com. Please vote, volunteer, and donate. Only U.S. citizens and permanent residents are allowed to donate. Donation link: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/friends-of-sam-cao?refcode=AADC