He's not your average Joe: Ohio resident Joe Schriner runs for President

Written by David Green.

By AMANDA K. PNACEK

He might use the campaign nickname “Average Joe,” but Joe Schriner is no ordinary guy—he’s running for president.

Yes, that’s President of the United States.

While running for president, Schriner, along with his wife, Liz, and their two children, Sarah and Joseph, is campaigning tothumb_schriner bring social, economic and environmental problems to light in small towns across the country.

“We have a vision of changing the country at its roots, instead of putting Band-aids on symptoms,” the Bluffton, Ohio resident said.

Schriner’s bid for the top office in the country began during the 2000 election and continues now with a goal of winning in 2004. While he doesn’t have any concrete political experience—his background is in journalism and counseling—he has “common sense and connections with a lot of small town common sense people,” he said.

“I want to uncomplicate the heck out of this country,” Schriner said.

During the 2000 campaign, Schriner and his family traveled around the country in a 1974 Dodge van talking to people and gaining support. The 27,000-mile trip also included a bicycle tour of the Midwest.

Currently, Schriner’s route covers all of Ohio’s 88 counties. Along the campaign trail, the family stopped Monday in Fayette to hear from residents.

“When we go into towns, we look for people and projects that are making [the community] a better place,” Schriner said.

In Fayette, he interviewed Carla Green, clinical supervisor at Serenity Haven, an alcohol and drug treatment facility for women.

“As a politician, I would like to see a Serenity Haven in every county in the country,” Schriner said.

If people with drug and alcohol problems don’t get help, it leads to many problems, Schriner said, including a higher incidence of domestic violence, crime and death.

“The bottom line is we have a constellation of social problems that need to be dealt with at the roots,” he said. “A program like [Serenity Haven] is an excellent way to do that.”

Schriner also looks for people who are trying to help in underserved areas, including working with the poor, children or the environment.

“We’re running as concerned parents,” Schriner said. “As parents, we couldn’t just sit back and watch society go in the direction it’s going.”

If people want to deal with problems, they need to stop doing things that cause the problems, especially regarding environmental issues. So, Schriner promotes non-polluting technologies and also asks people to walk and bicycle more.

Schriner found one crusade for the environment in Nebraska City, Neb., where the town of 7,000 residents started an “urban forestry” project to plant 10,000 trees in the next ten years.

“What if every town in America started doing that?” Schriner asked.

Schriner hopes that people hear about grassroots projects and find inspiration to start their own. His goal is to plant as many seeds for ideas as possible, he said.

“We’re very serious,” Schriner said. “We’re intent on winning but for us it’s an uphill battle.”

The good news for this average Joe is that although he may not be in the White House, he’s spreading the word about simplifying life and solving the country’s problems.


The Road to Washington

Campaigning for president is hard work, especially without a team of highly paid professionals helping along the way.

Joe Schriner’s campaign is modest, to say the least. He is his own speech writer and public relations consultant. His wife, Liz, is campaign manager.

“We don’t have millions, so we do the best we can with what we have,” Schriner said.

The couple and their two children, Sarah, 6, and Joseph, 4, live in a 1975 Dodge van equipped with beds and a refrigerator.

“It’s a low budget campaign, so that’s our home,” Schriner said.

Family time is important to Schriner. Each morning, the family spends time in prayer. And while Schriner spends three to four hours campaigning, Liz home schools the children.

“We try to balance it so that the campaign never outweighs family time,” Schriner said.

Some of the campaign activities on the road include parades, whistle stop events where Schriner holds meetings in town squares, and visiting with residents in town cafés.

    – July 17, 2002
  • Homecoming Court
    HOMECOMING—One senior candidate will be chosen Morenci’s fall homecoming queen during half-time ceremonies Friday at the football field. In the back row are seniors Mikayla Price, who will be escorted by Mason Vaughn; Madison Bachman, escorted by Kiegan Merillat, and Mikayla Reinke, escorted by Griffin Grieder. Senior Ariana Roseman is absent from the photo. Her escort is Garrett Smith. In the front is sophomore Abbie White, who will be escorted by Ryder Price; junior Madysen Schmitz, escorted by Harley McCaskey and freshman Madison Keller, escorted by Jarett Cook.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks

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