Zack Space has won a major victory in the U.S. Elections of November 7. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, capturing 62% of the vote in his Ohio district. On this occasion the Voice of America produced a video profile of the Congressman-elect, appropriately named “The Zack Space Story”, which aired as part of an election night special presentation for affiliates in Greece and Cyprus. The program, presented in Greek, was entitled “Elections 2006: Greek-Americans Reaching for The Dream.
Following is the English text of “The Zack Space Story” segment of the program, including the Anchorman’s introduction and lead out comments.
MR. BISTIS INTRO: Our next stop is again up north. In the State of Ohio Greek-American Zack Space is a Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives.
“THE ZACK SPACE STORY” VIDEO SEGMENT
MR. BISTIS: Zack Space was born in Dover, Ohio, in 1961. Both his grandparents came to the U.S. from the north Aegean island of Ikaria. First came his grandfather who started as a coalminer. He served in the U.S. Army during World War I and then returned to Ikaria to find a bride. He married a local young lady from the Bardos family and shortly afterwards came back to America to do more work and build a home for the family he had started. His son, Soc, short for Socrates, knows the story first hand.
MR. SOC SPACE: My father came to America after the war, worked in the coalmines in West Virginia and then in the field mills of Ohio. He finally settled in Dover, Ohio where, in 1922, he sent for his wife and my older brother, Jim, and they took up residence in Dover.
MR. BISTIS: Zack Space’s acquaintance with his grandparents was relatively brief. However it was long enough to make a lasting impression on him.
MR. ZACK SPACE: I have memories of my yaya and papou who both died when I was fairly young. I was probably 5 or 6 years old by the time they were both gone, but I have very fond memories of them. One thing that stands out on my mind the most is their pure kindness and their genuine concern for the family.
MR. BISTIS: The conditions under which Zacharias Space raised his children were pretty miserable. It was one of the worst economic periods in America’s history. Soc was born at the beginning of that gloomy era.
MR. SOC SPACE: I was born in Dover, Ohio in 1930. I was a child of the Depression. It was very difficult in those days. There was no work for anyone and we had a very poor childhood. But being from a Greek family we recognized the importance of family, faith and hard work. It held us in good state even in those hard days of the Depression.
MR. BISTIS: Like a true son of a Socrates, Zack set a noble goal in his life. To assist people who have not been favored by life or have been neglected by society.
MR. ZACK SPACE: One of the things my father did was grow up very poor. Obviously, he came from a family of immigrants; my papou and yaya came to this country many years ago. But he grew up poor. He grew up with an understanding and a feeling for the needs of the poor. He conveyed that same sense to me throughout my childhood years and even as an adult. I have had the privilege of working with my father, Soc, for about 20 years in the practice of law. Our practice has been oriented toward consumers. We are very proud for the work we have done for many years helping those who are underprivileged, those who are poor and need our help the most.
MR. BISTIS: Zack’s family and Soc’s family continue to live in Dover, Ohio. Life there also continues to unfold at a slower pace than in other parts of the U.S. Zacharias Space had no doubt that this was the best place for his family. And while a lot of things have changed since his days, a lot of other things remain pretty much the same today in Ohio.
MR. SOC SPACE: When I was a young man I asked my dad. I said: “Dad, you were 17-18 years old when you came over here. You left your homeland, you left your language, and you left your family. You never saw them again. Why did you do that?” He looked at me and he said: “For you.” I was touched by that and I never forgot it.
MR. BISTIS: Zack Space is asking the 18th Congressional District of Ohio to give him the chance to represent it in the U.S. House of Representatives. He believes he can do a lot of good in Washington, drawing from the things that he learned from his father and grandfather.
MR. ZACK SPACE: Coming from a Greek family we learned very early the importance of loyalty to family, the importance of personal responsibility and the importance of hard work, those kinds of values that frankly we have seen lacking in Washington D.C. I am optimistic that we would be able to take those values with us to Washington and help make this country a better place.
MR, BISTIS: Zack Space views his run for Congress as a way to give back to his community whatever the community gave to support his immigrant grandparents in the days when the only thing they possessed was the hope for a better future for their children.
END OF VIDEO SEGMENT – RETURN TO VOA STUDIO
MR. BISTIS: Zack Space was victorious. He will come to Washington in January to take the seat he won in the U.S. Congress. The late Zacharias Space, must be smiling from up there today.
There were a few more Greek-American candidates in Tuesday’s elections. Some won, others lost. But all of them run good and clean races, honoring their immigrant grandparents and making the entire Greek-American community proud.
This is George Bistis. Good day from Washington.