Election March 2016: Don Elijah Eckhart

Don Elijah Eckhart is running for U.S. Senator.

Don Elijah Eckhart - Galloway, Ohio

Name: Don Elijah Eckhart
City of Residence: Galloway, Ohio
Party Affiliation: Republican
Office Desired: U.S. Senator
Facebook: Facebook.com/DonElijahEckhart
Twitter: @DoneOnFaith

Why should you be elected 
I have the commitment, education, and experience to represent the people of Ohio in the U.S. Senate. I believe that our nation needs better leadership to solve the economic, security, and moral issues we face. The current Congress has a dismal record, and fundamental changes are needed.

Most members of Congress are out-of-touch with the needs of the people. Senators receive an annual salary of $174,000 plus generous benefits. Yet, they spend much time fundraising instead of focusing on issues. I am not running for the U.S. Senate to become rich. In fact, if elected, I will donate $125,000 of my Senate salary each year for the 6-year term to scholarships for Ohio residents attending technical and trade schools as well as 2- and 4-year colleges.

The current political system of big money leads to expected favors, attack ads, and increased polarization in government. Unfortunately, political favoritism also leads to division in our country. Since I am not indebted to lobbyists or big money donors, I can walk into the Senate free of those obligations. I will focus on what needs to be done to make our country strong again. I am committed to maintaining the public trust by upholding values and ethics.

I believe that I would represent Republican principles better than Rob Portman because he switched his 2010 candidate position on “marriage.” He took a position that was contrary to the Republican Party Platform. Not only that, Portman’s reversal was in opposition to Ohio’s Constitution, as amended in 2004, which defines “marriage” as one man and one woman. Portman did so long before the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2015. I believe that God’s design for marriage is between one man and one woman, and I will fight for the right of churches to conduct marriages according to their religious beliefs.

I want to emphasize my skills in budgeting and financial analysis. During my nonpartisan career in government, I assisted many state legislators, county commissioners, and city officials to make better decisions. I will use my skills and determination to work on balancing to federal budget and reducing the national debt. I am very concerned that national leaders have put our country in financial peril, and I believe that America could actually collapse financially if Congress continues passing deficit budgets. I am ready to carefully evaluate the options and make the best decisions for the benefit of all Americans.

Top three priorities
1) Of my top three priorities, the first is to protect life and religious freedom. I am “pro-life” and I support churches and organizations with the goal of preserving life. Each life is precious to God, and the fabric of our society is torn by the taking of innocent life. When the unborn or the elderly are viewed as disposable, the entire culture is vulnerable. A related issue is religious freedom, which in turn is linked to marriage. Since Rob Portman took a public position on marriage contrary to both the Republican Party Platform and the Ohio Constitution, I believe that Portman’s support of religious freedom is questionable. I am deeply concerned that pastors, priests, and other clergy be able to preach religious values without interference from the government. I believe that the Congress should pass better laws protecting religious freedom, in order that so many cases do not go to court. Due to my governmental and faith background, I am equipped to prepare legislation that is fair to all and that protects the basic right of religious freedom and right of conscience.

2) Another priority is to protect and expand the middle class. In addition to protecting those who are already in the middle class, I would like to see lower income people make it into the middle class. A strong middle class is vital to America and to the Republican Party. Yet, the tax policies of many current Presidential candidates would favor the upper income. I believe that our system of taxation needs major reform. The income tax is far too complex and is loaded with loopholes. By eliminating special tax breaks, the overall tax rates could be reduced substantially, helping working families and fixed-income seniors. Alternatively, I am considering a totally different tax plan (the Fair Tax), which would replace the income tax altogether. I support small businesses, from which much of our economic growth comes. Governmental regulations need to be cut or streamlined in order to reduce unnecessary burdens on small business formation and growth. I will protect Social Security and Medicare. People paid into these programs with their hard-earned money and deserve the assurance that their financial future is secure.

3) Another priority is crucial, I believe, to the future of our nation. The United States must become independent of foreign oil, especially from the Middle East. Our dependence on Middle Eastern oil has limited our policy options. This has many ramifications, including military and economic. I believe that we should do whatever it takes to eliminate our reliance on Middle Eastern oil. We must protect our country and our citizens from Islamic extremists and all terrorists. At the same time, we should not become embroiled in religious wars. Countries in the Middle East should become more active in protecting themselves from extremism within the Middle East. America should always protect Israel and people who are victims of aggression. The Iran nuclear deal was misguided and dangerous to Israel and other countries. I will take a much more active role than current Senators to make sure that such important decisions are made correctly. America must become independent of Middle Eastern oil in order to make sensible, lasting decisions.

Christian, married, two adult sons and daughters-in-law, three grandchildren.

Born in Sidney, Ohio, and raised on a farm nearby where my parents taught me the value of working hard, saving money, and making moral decisions.

Highlights of my professional experience:
Division Chief – Ohio Legislative Service Commission and Legislative Budget Office
Budget Manager – Montgomery County, Ohio
Manager of Policy and Financial Analysis, and Senior Staff Analyst – City of Dayton, Ohio

My education is highlighted by two Master’s degrees:
Master’s degree in Christian Theology, Ashland Theological Seminary, Ashland, Ohio
Master of Public Administration, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
B.A. in Economics-Political Science, Capital University, Columbus, Ohio

Note: I am currently enrolled in the Doctor of Ministry program, Ashland Theological Seminary, Ashland, Ohio. I am enrolled in this program to apply my theology thesis to a ministry context (not to become a pastor) – If elected, I will devote all the time necessary to fulfill my responsibilities as U.S. Senator.

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