By Sean Rice
Wouldn't you know, Average Joe is running for president of the United States.
Celina residents caught a glimpse of write-in candidate Joe Schriner of Bluffton as he campaigned as "Average Joe" near the Mercer County Courthouse on Friday afternoon.
With his family in tow, Joe last month finished a "cross-continental" tour of small towns that took him tens of thousands of miles in a 1974 Dodge van.
"It's not a joyride thing, we're very serious," he said while in Celina for a brief half hour Friday. "We think we can get enough write-ins to make a difference in Ohio, which makes a difference nationally."
Cars and trucked beeped in response as Joe waived to traffic and handed out flyers on the corner of Market and Walnut streets. His wife Liz carried their son Jonathan on her back and shouted, "Hey, vote for Joe." Their daughter Sarah, 8, waived signs asking for honks for Joe, while Joe Jr., 6, "the brain-child of the operation," waived an American flag.
This is Joe's second run for the White House. So far the family has spent 14 years researching issues and campaigning. He is a part-time handyman and an accomplished writer. His latest book is titled, "Back Road to the White House."
Joe, 49, knows he really can't win this year, but that's not the point of his grassroots effort.
"We don't want to leave Sarah, Joe and Jonathon with a world of ozone holes, global warming and acid rain," he said. "We stand for common sense."
Joe said he is promoting a "shift" to more wind and solar-power energy sources. He wants a shift to more family farms and organic foods and wants to spread the importance of family and self-reliance, in a world of government hand-outs.
This week alone the Shriner's have visited Springfield, West Liberty, Bellefontaine, Dunkirk, Tipp City, Yorkshire and St. Marys, to name a few.
"A lot of thought went into this, we are very, very serious," he said.
He's pro-life, supports gun control, wants to create a U.S. department of peace, reduce American's reliance on energy and promote "walkable" communities nation-wide.
Joe said he's hitting Coldwater next to try and shift the vote.
"We figure, if they can't carry Coldwater, they're not going to be able to carry the nation," he said jokingly.
More information about Joe and his campaign is available on his Web site, voteforjoe.com.