Republican Ohio Assembly Candidates Must Be Punished For Ohio’s Decline

I’ve been looking through the web-sites of local candidates for the Ohio House and Ohio Senate. Curiously, candidates of both parties seem to disregard their party affiliation. Here are two examples of how Republicans seem to want to forget that the Republicans have been running the entire show in Ohio since 1995, with full control of the State Assembly and, until 2006, all state offices.

Craig W. Saunders, Republican candidate for the 84th Ohio House District (OHD), that includes Yellow Springs, for example, in his web-site, complains:

  • The primary issue facing the State of Ohio at the present time is the economy. Ohio needs a tax policy that promotes business growth, especially for small businesses, and allows workers to keep more of the money they earn. Ohio ranks 46th in the Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index. In addition, Ohio’s state/local tax burden percentage ranks 5th highest in the nation.

Republican Seth Morgan, candidate for Arlene’ Setzer’s District, 36th OHD, in his web-site, intones:

  • Ohio is ranked as 49th out of 50 states for business climate by the Tax Foundation. The only state ranked by the Tax Foundation to be ranked worse than Ohio is Rhode Island. There are some great ideas for how to stimulate an economy but some basic principles have to be true for an economy to truly grow over the long-term.

These Republicans are not even attempting to defend the Republican record in Ohio. In fact, they are acting like the Republican record doesn’t even exist. This is amazing, because, after all, Republicans in the State Assembly have had free rein for many years. If Ohio has a crummy business climate because of bad state legislation, if Ohio’s tax policies have been unwise, it is Ohio Republicans that should be held accountable. But Saunders and Morgan blithely ignore this fact. Who can blame them? They’d rather not be held accountable for the mess that the Republican controlled Ohio Assembly has visited upon all Ohioans.

But what is surprising is that the Democratic candidates seemingly, according to their web-sites, strangely, also ignore recent history and also fail to mention that the mess we are in is because the Republican party has been in total control of Ohio for many years. Connie Crockett of Yellow Springs, Democratic Ohio House candidate opposing Saunders for the 84th OHD, has no reference in her web-site as to why Republican candidates should be punished at the polls for the mess they have created. Crockett’s web-site says that “some things are worth fighting for,” and lists, “Good jobs, Good schools, Small towns, Rural farmland.” Crockett says, “I will fight to improve the economy, the environment and our future.” Yes. Yes. And, Yes. These are all nice sounding words everyone can agree with. And we all are in favor of motherhood and apple pie as well, but, the point is, Crockett fails to make the case of why a voter, who has habitually voted Republican, should switch his or her vote. Her Republican opponent, I’m sure, also believes “some things are worth fighting for.” And her Republican opponent, I’m sure, also easily articulates nice sounding words.

The Democratic candidate for the 36th OHD, opposing Morgan, is Chuck Morton. His web-site says, “Charles (Chuck) Morton is a hard working family man who is concerned about the State of Ohio and the 36th District. Charles is an experienced negotiator and consensus builder and will work hard to improve the lives of all of the people of the 36th District and Ohio.” The web-site says that Morton’s priorities are, “Economic Development, Good Jobs, Fair and Adequate School Funding.” It says, “We must bring in new business that will create good paying jobs for our citizens. We have a great workforce and we need to capitalize on it. We need to expand business on the I-70 & I 75 Corridor.”

Again, what’s not to like? And, again, doesn’t his Republican opponent, Seth Morgan, want the same things? The question is, who can deliver? The message Morton, and all Democratic candidates to the State Assembly, needs to hammer into the voter’s consciousness is this: voters should punish the Republican Party, the party that has been in power as Ohio has slid ever downward. Voters have no reason to suppose, based on their record,  that Republicans can be entrusted to turn Ohio around. Voters in Ohio need to use their vote to express their disappointment and outrage at the failure of Republican control.

I developed this same theme in a post about the campaign for the 3rd District for U. S. Congress by Democrat, Jane Mitakidas, who is running against the Republican incumbent, Mike Turner: “To Defeat Turner, Mitakidas Must Communicate A Compelling Reason For Change.”

From 1995 to 2006, this Wikipedia post shows, the Republican Party was in complete control in Ohio. This control included all state offices — the governor, lieutenant governor, Atty General, Sec. of State, Treasurer, Auditor — and, in addition, overwhelming control of the State Senate, State House and State Supreme Court. This is an important fact that needs to be repeated often: Ohio has already tried Republican control. It doesn’t work.

It seems to me, particularly in gerrymandered Districts like the 84th OHD and the 36th OHD, where voters habitually vote Republican, Democratic candidates must make the case that in 2008, Republicans deserve to lose, deserve to be punished. It’s not personal. Republicans Saunders, in the 84th District, and Morgan, in the 36th District, are probably fine as individuals. But who they are as individuals really doesn’t matter. And their carefully chosen words don’t matter either. What matters is that the Republican Party deserves to lose. If Democrats are to take back the Ohio House, it seems to me, Democrats need to be aggressive in making the point that rewarding or punishing the political party in power, based on its performance, is the way to make democracy best work.

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3 Responses to Republican Ohio Assembly Candidates Must Be Punished For Ohio’s Decline

  1. Rick says:

    Some thoughts. Many Democrats might not want to lower taxes so they can hardly criticize Republicans for high tax rates. Those Republicans that opposed higher taxes should not be punished for the actions of others.

    On the whole, however, you make a good point. The Ohio Republican Party botched the job. Many of them will lose.

  2. T. Ruddick says:

    The notion that Ohio is a high tax state is at best a myth; at worst a bold falsehood. Ohio has been a high tax RATE state–and recent changes in tax law have reduced the rates considerably–but Ohio has also been an average tax REVENUE state. In other words, we set tax rates high but then we give them back via special tax breaks and other incentives.

    This sytem is inherently unfair, since it confers tax advantages on those who know how to work the system (e.g., pay-for-play).

    Reducing taxes at this point will do little to encourage economic activity. Ohio must instead invest its resources more wisely. A good first step would be to reduce the Ohio Board of Education to five members appointed by the governor with legislative confirmation, and to make the state superintendent a cabinet post. What’s working for higher ed. ought to be tried at the K-12 level; fixing education will do more to bring high-tech firms (or, better, to provide the fertile ground for them to start up) than any affordable little tax cuts.

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