Voting rights, immigration reform and confirmation hearings a top concern for Cincinnati...

Voting rights, immigration reform and confirmation hearings a top concern for Cincinnati voters

by Caroline Cory
Bill Woods with Manuel Pérez Photo: Caroline Cory

With an emphasis on immigration and voting rights being cited as two main components of a local senator’s obstruction, Cincinnatians gathered downtown on the morning of Monday, May 9 outside of the politician’s office in the Scripps Center to find out more information regarding the two areas at a press conference.

Even though there is an open seat in the U.S. Supreme Court, many Ohioans are more concerned with voting rights and immigration in Senator Rob Portman’s (R-OH) term, according to a poll conducted by Gerstein Bocian Agne Strategies (GBAS).

Sen. Portman, who was elected into office five years ago, has said the seat should remain vacant, but this can be troublesome for Ohio citizens getting our voices heard since we are in an election year.

With this in mind, the press conference featured two speakers. Samuel Gresham, Jr. opened the press conference with a focus on voting rights and Jorge Martinez discussed immigration.

Gresham, who has been Chair of the Board of Common Cause Ohio since 2013, believes that voting rights should be more available to all people — regardless of situation.

“Usually, those who want to limit voting opportunities target those most vulnerable to disenfranchisement: people of color, low-income Americans, naturalized citizens and students,” said Gresham.

On the immigration portion of the conference, the issue of undocumented children was brought up.

“If this is not approved, millions and millions of children will be turned to welfare,” said Martinez, an attorney at law who specializes in immigration law in Hamilton, Ohio.

He views the way immigration is legally treated as “questioning executive powers of presidents, specifically regulation of immigration powers.”

Gresham agreed citing Portman’s work ethic as a key factor into assessing where the senator stands on the immigration issue.

“There’s some major problems in immigration. Rob Portman has opposed confirmation,” said Gresham. “We need to get Rob Portman to do his job.”

Another result of the GBAS poll was that politicians who oppose the Senate conducting confirmation hearings on whether the empty S.C. seat should be filled by someone nominated by President Barack Obama are viewed less favorably than those who have shown public support of the possibility.

The poll, conducted on both a national and state level, with Ohio being one of six states participating during the April 25-27 survey, also showed nearly 70 percent of individuals supported the use of confirmation hearings when determining who will be seated next in the U.S. Supreme Court.