LIMA — Compared to the number of vehicles passing by, few vehicles beeped in support of a small group protesting outside U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan’s district office on Elm Street.
Mostly made up of members of Allen & Hardin for Election Action & Democracy, or AHEAD, the group held signs in favor of net neutrality in the hope that Congressman Jordan will support net neutrality if a bill scheduled for a vote Wednesday, May 16, on the Senate floor passes and moves to the House.
The bill would reverse the repeal of a set of Obama-era regulations that eliminated the ability of telecom companies to fast track content from major content providers, such as Netflix or Amazon, which could potentially harm the business of individual creators or smaller companies who may not be able to afford the same service.
Those regulations were eliminated under Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai back in December, and they are set to officially end on June 11. A total of 49 Democrats and one Republican in Congress is hoping to put them back in place, and AHEAD is looking to Jordan to support the initiative if it succeeds in the Senate.
“This was kind of last minute,” activist Kerry Bush, who organized the protest, said. “I saw that no one was lobbying Jordan’s office. Other groups are lobbying Portman, or holding rallies across the nation.”
A number of other net neutrality groups formed under the banner of “Team Internet” have planned protests for a number of U.S. Sen. Rob Portman’s offices throughout Ohio, including those in Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Toledo.
“Net neutrality is one of the vital things we need to speak online,” Tristam Cheeseman, Democratic candidate for Ohio’s 4th House District, said. Cheeseman, who had applied to be the Democratic write-in candidate for the House seat, received the necessary number of write-ins during the May 8 primary election, and he is now officially on the ballot against incumbent State Rep. Bob Cupp. Cheeseman is a graduating senior at Bath High School.
“The biggest issue in all of this is free speech. If the government can control what you can see, then its like 1984, its like Big Brother is watching you,” Cheeseman said.
“I’m really hoping Rep. Jordan votes in favor of freedom and an open web,” Bush said.