• 52°

He#039;s just an #039;average Joe#039;

Except for the fact that this is his second presidential campaign, Joe Schriner is truly just an average Joe from a small Ohio town.

&uot;Average Joe&uot; Schriner ran as an independent candidate in the 2000 presidential election. Even though he lost, he was not deterred.

He and his average family are hitting the road in their campaign van once again for their Front Porch Campaign for the 2004 presidential election. It focuses on Ohio during the first year.

They stopped at the Ironton courthouse Saturday.

His wife, Liz, and children, Sarah, 6, and Joseph, 4, are part of the grass-roots campaign. The Schriners are from an average small-town, Bluffton.

Before he ran in 2000, he spent eight years traveling the country talking to the average American. His desire to be president is more about family than it is anything else, he said.

&uot;I didn’t want to be away from my home, so I brought my home with me,&uot; he said. &uot;We are concerned parents who couldn’t just sit by. Instead of joining the PTO we decided, ‘Hey, let’s run for president,’&uot; Joe said.

&uot;I am not tied to big corporations or special interests,&uot; Joe added. &uot;We are just out here doing what we think is right.&uot;

In the 2000 campaign, they traveled more than 20,000 miles in 48 states in 19 months. For the 2004 election, they have already traveled more than 1,300 miles campaigning in northwest Ohio and along the Ohio River.

&uot;It has been a challenge but really enriching,&uot; Liz Schriner said. &uot;It lets us do something as a team. That is something that is missing in our society.&uot;

This fall he will speak at several universities and plans to walk from Cleveland to Cincinnati to celebrate the state’s bicentennial.

Sarah said her daddy is running for president because they visited Mexico and saw so many people living in cardboard homes and poor conditions that he had

to try and make a difference.

Some of the principles of his platform are to end world hunger, save the environment and reemphasize the family unit, he said.

&uot;People in third-world countries and inner cities can use a lot more help,&uot; he said. &uot;If Americans would tighten their belt just a little, it would have a big impact.&uot;

When asked if it is a waste to vote for an independent candidate, Joe said he thinks this could be his year.

People saw the impact Ralph Nader had and were fed up with the mess in Florida. Political analysts have said 2004 could be the year for a third-party candidate to win, he said. Michael Caldwell/The Ironton Tribune