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Shoemaker proud of his #039;independent spirit#039;

State senator and former carpenter Michael C. Shoemaker does not consider himself an average politician and he wants voters to know that he has walked in their shoes.

"The independent spirit I bring up (to Columbus) is something not many legislators have," he said. "Michael Shoemaker has been very straight forward, with no hidden agenda and no obligations to politicians in Columbus."

Overall,

he thinks his campaign has gone well, but dislikes how campaigning in the TV-driven political arena has taken a less personal approach.

"Unfortunately, we have gotten away from the grassroots campaign," he said. "The first year I ran, I knocked on 7,000 doors."

Regardless, he believes that his track record during his last term speaks for itself.

"I am confident with the things I have done, and more importantly, how I have done them," he said. "I don't apologize for my style and the decisions I have made.

"I have been very open with the voters and kept a good line of communication. If reelected, this will continue."

Education and fair funding for schools are monumental issues to the state and should not be dictated by borders, he said.

If reelected, he said his No. 1 priority would be to resolve school funding inequalities and create a level playing field.

"Kids across districts or county lines are just as important, but our kids deserve the same opportunities as the kids in the richest communities in Ohio," he said.

Shoemaker opposes school vouchers and the draining of money from public schools. He also opposes the privatization of prisons.

Regardless of voters' political affiliations, Shoemaker said he wants people to realize the importance of every vote.

"First and foremost, I think I would encourage them to vote, for or against me," he said. "Everyone says this is a race between two good guys. Basically, the difference is how we operate."

Although pleased with his past accomplishments, he still believes there is work to be done.

Shoemaker said he is a strong supporter of the concealed-carry law and is also a rare pro-life Democrat.

He adamantly opposed the cigarette tax imposed to help bail out the state's budget deficit, and was the only legislator from Southern Ohio to take a stand.

"I thought it was unfair to tobacco farmers and retailers," he said. "It did not solve the problem and unfairly punished a select group of people."

Veterans are an important part of the country and the state, he said. They need to be protected.

"When money gets tight you tend to squeeze," he said. "I do not think veterans should be squeezed. This is not luxury items we are talking about. This is bare essentials."

Shoemaker supports the Golden Buckeye Card program, but thinks the state needs to go a lot further.

He believes that redistricting could hurt him because the four counties added to his district have a large amount of Republican voters. But he is confident his accomplishments and down-to-earth approach will allow him to help the state move forward.

"Ohio's economy is in for tough times," he said. "We need to be proactive and look at ways to get out of this mess."