Tom Brinkman wants your support next Tuesday. It would probably help if you live in Ohio's second congressional district, centered around Cincinnati, and are eligible to vote in next week's primary election.
Brinkman, a Republican state representative, is an unabashed fan of small government, low taxes, and reduced federal spending. He's an equally strident foe of abortion and has introduced a bill to ban them (in hopes of prompting the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit Roe v. Wade and overturn it).
Tuesday's special election is the first step toward filling a congressional seat left vacant after Rep. Rob Portman was appointed U.S. Trade Representative. Brinkman has an uphill fight: he's up against a crowded pack that includes Pat DeWine, son of Ohio Sen. Mike DeWine.
Following is an exchange from a telephone conversation I had with Brinkman.
Q: What's your position on renewing the portions of the Patriot Act that are due to expire at the end of the year?
I'm not for renewing the Patriot Act. I think it's been a tremendous intrusion into our civil liberties. I'm even more concerned about the Patriot Act II, which seems to be even more odious.
Q: Those are strong words for a Republican. If you were to be elected, how do you expect to be effective inside the party?
I'd be a representative of the citizens. I find the citizens feel the same way.
Q: There's been a political push in the last few years by the record labels and movie industry to regulate certain types of technology. The fear is that, without such rules, Internet piracy would escalate. Where do you stand?
I'm for individual liberty. I wouldn't want to see technology be controlled. I think people should have access to it. It shouldn't be captive to the motion picture industry and the music industry.
Q: Right now if you order something from out-of-state via the Internet or mail order, you're frequently not charged sales tax. The National Governors Association and a number of states would like to change that. What's your take?
I have fought that numerous times in the state of Ohio. I have voted against joining that consortium. I think that's wrong -- this idea that they're losing all this revenue I disagree with. I have fought long and hard against the state joining that consortium. In our state, they turned this over to the taxation department and let the legislature out of the game.
Q: What are you doing with your Web site?
We have been doing fundraising on that. We also send out email newsletters. We're also supposed to have our commercials on there.
Q: How useful is your Web site? Do you find that you reach more people and raise more money the old-fashioned way?
It's grown, let me put it that way. This is my 6th race in six years and I'd say that more and more people are using the Internet, particularly where people are further away from where the race is occurring. If someone in Connecticut (likes my ideas) and wants to donate money, they'll use the Web site. If it's closer to home, they'll send a check.