Kicking Women Out of the Big Tent: Why Kenny Yuko MUST Win


When state Senator Nina Turner announced she was stepping aside to run for secretary of state instead of reelection to the Senate, that opened the door for other prominent local political figures to step up to run for her seat in the Democratic primary. (The district is heavily Democratic and whoever wins the primary May 6 will most likely win the seat).

And two did: former state reps. Kenny Yuko and Ed Jerse. Both had some serious credentials as far as doing productive things for job and economic growth. Yuko is a former labor union organizer. Until he stepped down to run, Jerse was in county executive Ed FitzGerald’s cabinet working on regionalism issues.

While Kenny was probably better known and better liked in Democratic and community circles, both men appeared qualified — and then a couple of weeks ago, Jerse got the kiss of death. He was endorsed by Ohio Right of Life.

When he appeared this past Monday at the endorsement meeting of the Cuyahoga Democratic Women’s Caucus, obviously he was going to be asked about this. Come on — Lana Moresky was sitting on the aisle seat in the front row. He couldn’t escape.

**Lana at We Won't Go Back rally in Columbus last October, displaying photo of Governor Kasich and six other middle-aged white men signing away women's rights.**

The Anniversary of SB 5 Becoming Law: Whose Interests Is Kasich Serving?


Look at this. This is Governor Kasich signing SB 5 into law. (Notice once again he's surrounded entirely by old white guys). Now, we know that didn't last long, but if Ohioans know what is good for them, its memory will linger.

Now that Kasich is in campaign mode, of course, he's trying to erase the entire thing. "It's in the past," "it's over," words to that effect. And as his Democratic opponent Ed FitzGerald pointed out at a press conference in Cleveland today, he won't respond to questions about whether he supports right to work (he does) by saying things like "I'm not thinking about the future." He's a "right now" kind of guy.

So what is he up to "right now," like, say, this weekend?

Kasich was one of a small select cadre of potential Republican presidential candidates who was invited out to Las Vegas by billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson so he could decide if any of them were worth purchasing ... I mean supporting.

Kasich apparently did some world-class groveling, telling Adelson how welcome his presence in Ohio would be.

Well, maybe to Kasich, but his involvement in Ohio politics would be nothing but bad news for Ohioans. And Kasich's eagerness to suck up to him should tell Ohioans everything they need to know about whose interests Kasich really has at heart.

One of Ed FitzGerald's major campaign themes is that Kasich is interested only in serving a handful of his wealthy friends, not the vast swath of Ohioans just trying to make ends meet, pay their bills, and raise their families. He couldn't be more on target. This is precisely what it boils down to.

Jon Husted's Continued Facebook Fail

*Jon Husted — riding to your rescue to protect you from evil health care*

So our secretary of voter suppress … I mean STATE … Jon Husted is continuing to flush his money “boosting” his ads on Facebook. And he’s still targeting all the wrong people, such as me — and a bunch of other people.

His latest ad weirdly tells us that he wants to “protect families against Obamacare.”

Outside of the fact that this has absolutely nothing to do with the office he’s trying to retain — he’s clearly pandering to racist, Obama-hating teabaggers — the concept of “protecting” people from being able to see a doctor without going bankrupt is just bizarre.

And his message isn’t going over well with most of the people responding. Here are some of the messages they are leaving:

“have an alternate career are going to need one.”

“Lets talk about womens rights and voting rights you are out and Nina Turner is in.”

“Late to the dance? Kasich/Husted? Now that Ohio's expanded Medicaid with the governor's blessing they're scrambling to oppose national healthcare? Na, I think late to the dance.”

“This is all pure crap! Stop spreading lies to make people afraid so that you can further your right wing agenda!!!!!”

“Mr. Husted - Please explain the details of your alternate program.”

“Yeah, protect Ohio families by taking access to insurance away from them, reinstitute caps and kick people off insurance just when they need it most. Where are YOUR solutions to these problems?....I'm waiting.....................still waiting.....................”

“Mr. Husted, You need to go to confession, get out of politics, and hope God forgives you for your transgressions. You are a phoney.”

“Why don't you concentrate on what you do best in your job--preventing Ohio citizens from voting.”

“Please get off my newsfeed with your negative propaganda and lies!”

Who thinks Jon Husted needs to rethink how he spends his money?

Who thinks we need Nina Turner running the secretary of state's office?

Can I see a show of hands? Or is everyone over on Jon Husted's Facebook page taunting him?

Liar, Liar, DeWine's Pants Are on Fire

In the last two or three years, the anti-choice movement’s crocodile tears about “unborn” or “preborn” “babies” have been thoroughly exposed as cynical, manipulative and misogynistic.

How? That’s when they began the assault on women’s access to contraception, the single most effective way to decrease abortions and assure that every child is born into a loving home with a family ready, willing, and able to care for it.

This week the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing arguments in the case of Sebelius vs. Hobby Lobby, deciding whether a private corporation not affiliated in any way with a religious organization can call on its “religious beliefs” to be excused from the mandate to provide contraception in its health insurance plans. And DeWine has spent your money and mine and all the taxpayers of Ohio’s arguing that they should be allowed to do so.

Of course, DeWine would undoubtedly cite Catholic dogma to justify why what he is doing is right, which is a key reason it’s wrong. But he’s full of it anyway. In a church where something like 98% of sexually active Catholics use contraception, most of his fellow churchgoers have already made the decision: they get that using birth control, which prevents unplanned and often unwanted pregnancies, is better than getting an abortion. They don’t buy that “sex is strictly for procreation” crap that some Republican, including apparently DeWine, are trying to peddle.

The Malevolent Misogyny of the Anti-Choice Right Is Bearing Its Poison Fruit

There's an excellent article in the Toledo Blade that outlines clearly the tragic and unjust results of the woman-hating anti-choice measures our legislature and governor have been ramming into law without public discussion and in as much secrecy as possible.

Any Democrat or anyone who supports the rights of women to be full, participating citizens needs to get up off their whiny ass NOW and understand what a disaster John Kasich's reelection would be for the lives of Ohio women.

The anti-woman voices are crowing about their "victories" in closing abortion clinics on absurd technicalities and forcing women to go to Michigan. They claim that there is increasing support for their onerous policies that further erode the economic stability of poor and working women. Some victory. The article cites one Gallup poll to make the case that the anti-choice position is gaining momentum, but polls have been all over the map, depending on how the questions are worded. (Asking people if they are "pro-life" is meaningless).

A random protester named Fonda Luersman is quoted at length, and while she is just speaking for herself, she sheds some light into the twisted and inhumane thinking of these self-righteous zealots.

Ms. Luersman believes that if Capital Care closes its doors, it will force women to rethink the decision to have an abortion. If it’s more inconvenient to get to a clinic out of town, she feels the local abortion rate will decrease.

“If abortion is not available, I think women will have their babies and think about it before they become sexually active,” she said.

John Kasich & Ohio's Booming Economy

What? You say you’re not feeling it?

Maybe that’s why I’m a little skeptical that Kasich can win the election by constantly extolling Ohio’s red-hot economy and shutting up about the reasons his re-election would be a disaster for most Ohioans.

I log onto one of my favorite progressive websites and every day I see Kasich’s web ads there (heh heh). “Ohio’s comeback,” they boldly tout. “A record 89, 735 new businesses in Ohio during 2013,” they blare. “Support Governor Kasich’s leadership — join the Kasich team now,” they urge this totally unreceptive audience.

But will they find receptiveness elsewhere?

My sense is no.

How about chipper emails like this one from the Kasich-Taylor campaign:

anastasia, Ohio has added more than 238,000 private sector jobs and improved from 47th to 5th in job creation since Governor John Kasich took office. [Apparently he is forgetting that we recently fell to close to last].

The strong pro-jobs agenda championed by our Republican leaders is getting Ohioans back to work. 
Don’t just take our word for it – here’s what a couple of job creators had to say: [Notice they don’t talk to unemployed Ohioans but those so-called “job creators”].

UGN Inc. CEO Peter Anthony on why his company is creating 150 new jobs in Ohio:
‘What I found [Gov. Kasich] to be is very pro business,” Anthony said. “I was very impressed with his commitment, his approach, his wanting to have a very balanced budget and to make Ohio very competitive from a business standpoint.”

1-800-Fowers CEO Jim McCann on his decision to create nearly 100 new jobs in Ohio and on Gov. Kasich’s persistence in bringing these jobs to our state:
“I thought, my God, these people really do want jobs here,” said Jim McCann, CEO of 1-800-Flowers.

Hey, Ohioans, THIS Is Who Is in Your State Legislature

Remember Andrew Brenner? The state representative from blood-red Delaware County, also home to Kris "Wife Beater" Jordan? Brenner is the guy who recently said that all public education is "socialism," and that its assets should be sold off to private interests and public education be abolished. It's clear education was abolished in his case, whether public or otherwise.

He's also married to infamous rightwing blogger/radio personality Sara Marie "Palin" Brenner, whose resemblance to a certain former half-term Alaska governor is probably not accidental.

Since you probably don't want to go down the rabbit hole of his personal blog, here's a DailyKos article about what he has allowed to be posted there:

Right. He's giving a forum to a wackjob fringe wingnut who thinks the slaughter of children at Sandy Hook Elementary School was all a setup so the government could come TAKE THE GUNS. Never mind that the gun sellers/manufacturers lobby aka the NRA has managed to block even modest, rational gun control laws supported by a huge majority of Americans. And that nobody has made any move whatsoever to take their guns.

This person is apparently someone this elected "public servant" trusts enough to allow him to post whatever on his personal blog.

Now of course Brenner is all bent out of shape that he's being associated with a crazy idea (LOL).

Warning: that link does take you to Brenner's blog, which may cause your brain to explode.

Now Brenner is playing the injured and misunderstood victim — waaaaaah!

He's posted:

Ohio Right to Life Endorses Democrats for State Legislature

With Democrats so severely outnumbered in the state legislature — an artificial imbalance created by gerrymandering — it is critical to fill every seat with a strong advocate for progressive issues. And with women’s rights being stomped on repeatedly by the legislature and the governor, there is no longer any room there for anti-choice Democrats.

Unfortunately, Ohio Right to Life has found a couple of them to endorse in Cuyahoga County, the state’s Democratic bastion, which should also be a bastion of Democratic values. And threatening a woman’s right to choose is not one of those.

One of them is incumbent Bill Patmon (10th house district), who unfortunately has found confluence with Republicans on too many issues that hurt ordinary Ohioans. He does have a primary challenger — former Cleveland councilman Eugene Miller. Miller lost his seat last November when the number of wards was cut and he faced a more dynamic incumbent Jeff Johnson.

I can’t say I’m too excited about Miller or hopeful about his chances. He hasn’t been particularly outspoken on progressive issues, and his legerdemain with his voter registration was ill-advised. (He switched his voting address to the new ward, then after learning he would be required to resign his seat for moving out of his old ward, he said he wasn’t moving until January, thereby admitting to that rare occurrence — voter fraud). And I have no idea where Miller stands on a woman’s right to choose.

I have no such issues in the other race for the state senate seat Nina Turner is vacating to hopefully become our next secretary of state.

Ohio Voter Bill of Rights Moves Forward

After an attempt to detail it by vetoing the original petition language, attorney general Mike DeWine has signed off on the language for the Ohio Voter Bill of Rights, moving it a step closer to the ballot.

The Ohio Ballot Board will meet this week to make a technical ruling on whether the proposed constitutional amendment is in fact more than one amendment. If so, supporters will have to collect 385,000 valid signatures for EACH amendment instead of the entire thing.

I imagine secretary of voter suppress … I mean STATE … Jon Husted, who is on the ballot board, will push for dividing the bill into parts to make it more challenging both to get on the ballot and to pass. Anyone who remembered the 2005 RON — Reform Ohio Now — voting/redistricting measures knows how THAT goes.

But he’ll be sitting across from a formidable opponent. Also on the ballot board is state senator Nina Turner who is running to take Husted’s job. And she has staked out protecting voter rights as her ground.

Much of what’s in the Voter Bill of Rights falls right in her bailiwick. It would allow online voter registration, which Husted at least has claimed to support. But it would also set a minimum number of in-person early voting hours, which Husted has slashed to the detriment of urban counties. And it would enshrine in the constitution the type of voter ID required to vote, protecting it against arbitrary changes — and any changes are arbitrary since no need for ID let alone a particular type of ID has ever been demonstrated — from a partisan legislature. The only reason to change ID requirements is to confuse voters who show up with the form of ID they used in the last election only to find it no longer valid.

Lunacy and Extremism at the Ohio Statehouse

Well, that doesn't surprise anyone, I'm sure.

This not-so-august and extremely unrepresentative body has spent more time trying to figure out more places to allow guns and more ways to interfere with women's reproductive choices than working on issues that concerns most Ohioans, like job creation and education.

Not only haven't they taken a good hard look at education funding and what failure to build a strong education system could mean for Ohio's economy and its future, but now one of their Wingnut Caucus has ripped the veil off their antipathy to having an educated citizenry and a strong, economically flourishing state.

Yesterday's Columbus Dispatch quotes one of the legislature's most raging ignoramuses, state rep. Andrew Brenner, as saying that ALL public education is "socialism" and should be abolished. His solution, of course, is complete privatization, meaning that only the affluent could afford to go to school and Ohio would not only drop to dead last educationally and economically among the 50 states but would soon be lagging most third-world countries.

While many would agree with his call to do away with testing and the contentious "Common Core" standards, this is pure lunacy:

“We need to do something that was done about 25 years ago in the former Soviet Union and eastern bloc: sell off the existing buildings, equipment and real estate to those in the private sector."

Of course he wouldn't be a neanderthal, worker-hating Republican (you did guess that he was a Republican, didn't you?) without an attack on unions.

“Teachers unions are an outgrowth of our socialistic education system,” he asserted.

"Block Early, Block Often"

In this MSNBC segment with Chris Hayes, there is some good commentary on Secretary of Voter Suppress ... I mean STATE ... Jon Husted's attempt to make voting more difficult by restricting early voting hours.

In this segment, Peg Rosenfeld of the Ohio League of Women Voters rightfully points out that extended and evening hours are necessary in 8-10 big urban counties to prevent excessively long lines, while of course the 80 rural counties which don't need extended hours are perfectly happy. (Vinton County might have 6,000 voters to Cuyahoga's 600,0000 — VERY different needs). It's the clear argument why Husted imposing uniform hours does NOT provide equal opportunity to vote.

And Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald dismantles the GOP claim that extended voting hours would somehow break Ohio's budget — kind of hard to do considering that Kasich has increased state spending to record levels, as Ed points out.

Husted says he "bristles at the suggstion" that he's trying to restrict voter rights? Aw, the poor baby. He suggests we "pipe down the rhetoric"?

Mr. Husted, how about you piping down the efforts to keep voters who might not vote your way.

Watch it here:

Oh, and don't forget. A giant step toward restoring fair elections would be to get Husted out of office:

Did Jon Husted Get His Money's Worth From His Facebook Advertising?

Jon Husted spent some money buying Facebook ads, those sponsored posts that appear in your newsfeed.

"The pillars of my life are the same as yours: we work hard, take responsibility, follow our faith, love our family and do right by others. 2014 is our year to shape the ideas that will lead Ohio into the exciting future. Today As your Secretary of State, I have cut the “wait time” for new businesses by 50%."

He appears not to be reaching his target audience, based on the comments he's received so far. (I have found this thing in my feed three or four times in the last couple of days and I am definitely not his target audience.)

"Cut the wait time for new businesses, but greatly increased the wait time for minority voters," says the first poster.

"Do right by others... except black voters, right?" says the next one.

"THIS is a suggested post for me? Hope you didn't pay Facebook for marketing, that TOTALLY missed your target audience," adds another.

Sure, he has a few supporters who attack "libs," but most of it goes on like this:

"Don't you mean suppress voters so Republicans might win an election because they can't win on their ideas, because they don't have any. Hypocrite Husted."

"Oh my gosh- the guy who is making it harder to vote wants me to vote for him? Priceless."

"Absolutely NOT, Husted. Restore voting hours!"

"If he wants to be re-elected, he'd better stop restricting voters rights!!!"

"I understand taking care of family, can respect that. Sadly I do not agree with your effort in the public office you serve in by elected people. You work for them. And recent events on your part are not supportive to the people of Ohio on any level. The People Have the Right to Vote. Those rights need upheld not restricted."

And some posters are even venting about his GOP compatriots:

What is the point of having an attorney general?

Having Mike DeWine in office makes you wonder. Between trying to push his religious and ideological beliefs on all Ohioans, using the tax dollars of those who don't share his beliefs, he seems to be all about weird, pusillanimous pursuits and showboating.

DeWine never seemed like most the dynamic and focused individual but this is getting really stupid. Even the Columbus Dispatch is scratching its head:

Did we mention he needs to go?

The Arrogance of Voter Suppression Advocates

Maybe you too have gotten into this argument with someone.

When you express your opposition to the current flood of voter suppression measures coming out of Columbus, this person — probably a rightie but not necessarily — insists that there are "plenty of opportunities" to vote, that voters have an obligation to pay attention to arcana such as what years and what elections they'll get an absentee ballot application in the mail and which ones they'll have to figure out where to get one on their own or when the early voting period is and what the hours have been changed to.

Have you heard "Everybody voted on a single Tuesday for years — why is that a problem now?" Or "You can vote any time from 6:30 in the morning to 7:30 at night — who can't get there during that time?"

Here's who, spoiled white yuppie guy with a good-paying job who doesn't punch a time clock or get paid by the hour.

Imagine you are a single mom with a couple of kids, a low-paying hourly job (or two) and no car. You get up early to take one child to day care and another to school — maybe on the bus. Then you have to rush to get to work. You don't have a generous lunch hour and you may work far from your home. After work, you have to rush to pick up your kid from daycare so you won't be charged for extra time. You get home and it's 6pm and the kids are hungry and have to be fed. You're exhausted and they're cranky. So now you are going to get them back into their coats and head for the polling place when they are just about ready for bed? No, probably not.

This is the attitude that leads to someone like state senator Bill Seitz, the sponsor of this latest bill, to say of the rule that discounts ballots cast at the wrong location,

Kasich Quickly Signs Yet Another Voter Suppression Bill Because — Of Course He Did.

Look — word to all progressive groups and Democratic candidates. Don't bother sending emails asking that I contact Kasich and plead with him not to sign the latest attack on voting rights. He's fully in line with all these bills and will sign them just as quickly as the legislature can slam them on his desk.

And that looks like it's going to be frequently. They seem to be making a weekly ritual of pointless, unneeded bills that set more and more limits on voting and make gratuitous changes bound to confuse voters.

The latest aims to make some tweaks in provisional voting that means more provisional ballots thrown out for absolutely no reason at all except incorrectly filing out some information on the already extremely complex envelope. This should be illegal. It's an outrageous assault on democracy.

I'm sure the bills will be challenged by the Democrats and other true democracy-loving groups. But it's almost like they're lobbing bill after bill after bill after bill as a distraction and resource consumer. Am I being too paranoid? I don't think so.

One thing that troubles me about many of the provisions in these bills — such as one dictating the design of the provisional envelope — is that these aren't really matters for legislation. They are administrative issues that should be decided by the secretary of state AS issues arise, not by the legislature arbitrarily for no reason.

It's like they feel they have to control a process because it might fall into the hands of a secretary of state who cares about voting rights, fair elections, and democracy, someone who wouldn't rig the process to favor a political party.

I wonder who that might be.


Ohio Republicans Continue to Loot & Pillage Democracy

As we mentioned previously, Kasich quickly signed off on a couple of bills from the Republicans in the legislature intended entirely to limit people's access to the ballot for no good reason at all.

Apparently, their total control of our state and ability to trash democracy in Ohio with impunity has emboldened them. They've got two more bills racing their way through the general assembly, and you can bet Kasich will sign those so fast he's a blur. He must be wetting his pants over the challenge from Ed FitzGerald. He clearly doesn't care that he's giving Ohio a big black eye and subjecting the state to national ridicule as a backward, feudal, racist outpost, "Alabama of the north."

One of these completely unnecessary bills is already heading for Kasich's desk. It increases the required information on the absentee ballot envelope — more opportunities for a ballot to be rejected — even though this hasn't been a big problem. This is the kind of nitpicky thing that should be handled by a directive from the secretary of state as problems arise, not imposed by the legislature.

It reduces the length of time voters have after the election to produce valid ID if they cast a provisional ballot because they didn't have it, thereby increasing the chance they will not be able to make it in time. it did establish that ballots cast in the right polling place but the wrong precinct due to pollworker error must be counted — but only to rubber stamp court rulings. It's not like they're being generous.

Needless to say, Democrats have vowed to sue to stop this push to pass a blizzard of new and gratuitous voting laws that will confuse voters and limit the ability of voting officials to do what's best for their voters. It even limits the ability of the secretary of state in the case of sending out absentee ballot applications.

You know what else they are clearly scared of? This:

Mike DeWine Promotes a Lie

*David Pepper, the man we need to elect to replace the pandering, lying DeWine*

If you are keeping a scorecard on phony, ginned-up scandals that House Republicans have tried to pin on President Obama, you may remember the so-called “I.R.S. scandal,” the one where an I.R.S. branch office in Cincinnati — acting independently — allegedly targeted right-wing groups for investigation.

There was a cascade of problems with this charge. They blamed Obama himself because that was who they were trying to topple. But he had no involvement in the activities of a regional I.R.S. office.

Then there was the reason for these investigations. These groups had a tax exemption based on the fact that their supposed purpose was “social welfare,” not partisan politics, which these 501 (C) 4 groups were not technically allowed to engage in. And the names of some of the groups suggested that they had a political purpose.

Most damning, though, was the fact that conservative groups were never singled out and targeted, the supposed “scandal.” Liberal groups, as well as those that had no apparent partisan lean, were also investigated. But when congressional Grand Inquistor, Darrell Issa, the head of the House Oversight Committee and the shame of Cleveland Heights, requested the I.R.S. records, he not only demanded only the ones pertaining to investigations of right-wing groups so that he could create a nonexistent “scandal.”

Ohio Republicans Spit on Democracy

It would certainly be tempting to rip the flag pin off the lapel of the Republican Ohio legislator you see.

Too busy to deal with things like job creation or equitable school funding, the general assembly spent recent weeks easing through the passage of two bills intended to make voting more difficult and confusing.

They're no longer even maintaining the pretense that it has anything to do with “voter fraud,” as empty as that justification was. They’re doing it just BECAUSE — because they are so extreme and so deaf and blind to the needs of anyone who isn’t wealthy that they are shrinking their own chances of winning election — unless they prevent people who tend to vote against them from voting.

The bills — SB 238 and SB 205 — do things like cut the number of early voting days, eliminate the so-called “golden period” when you can register and vote at the same time, and ban counties from sending out mail-in ballot applications, while allowing the secretary of state to do so only in even-year elections, IF he feels like it, and only if the general assembly specifically funds it. This opens the door to mass voter confusion due to the lack of consistency. Voters won't know when or whether to expect an application in the mail. It's insulting.

It also prohibits election officials from guiding voters in filling out any part of the absentee application, ID envelope or ballot, exploding the possibility of errors that will cause the ballot to be tossed, given the obstacle-course complexity of the application and envelope. And of course it increases the authority of boards of election to toss out ballots for minor errors irrelevant to identifying the voter.

Equality Ohio Announces Opposition to Marriage Equality Ballot Drive

Two years ago, Columbus political consultants Ian James and James Gutierrez Winnett got tired of waiting for action on marriage equality in Ohio. They put posts online, recruited some volunteers, wrote some ballot language that was OK’d by the state ballot board in April 2012, and began to collect signatures to go to the voters to overturn 2004’s anti-gay “Defense of Marriage” Amendment.

Soon Freedom Ohio burgeoned into a statewide movement with thousands of volunteers who have now collected 650,000 signatures and are aiming for a million. With only 385,000 required to get on the ballot and months to go to meet the deadline for this November, it looks likely they’ll make it.

Then late last year, Columbus-based Equality Ohio, the big kahuna of state LGBT advocacy groups, formed its own marriage equality campaign called Why Marriage Matters and brought organizer Michael Premo to Ohio to run it. Now EO has announced its opposition to Freedom Ohio’s campaign and its plan to rewind the process to zero, starting its own education process and not aiming at the ballot until 2012.

Last Friday, Premo told Outlook Columbus that EO and its allies have a new set of concerns that essentially nullify the two-year efforts of all those volunteers.

It’s no secret that grassroots Freedom Ohio and Equality Ohio have never seen eye to eye on how to win marriage equality in Ohio. EO has suggested that Freedom Ohio’s efforts are premature: there’s not enough support yet, more education work needs to be done, polling needs to look better, Ohio needs to pass a housing and employment nondiscrimination bill first (Good luck getting THAT through the current legislature!). In other words, Ohio needs to wait its turn.

What would YOU like to hear from John Kasich?


No, no — OTHER than a concession speech, that is. I know you were thinking that, and that's so rude!

I just found an email from Mary Taylor in my inbox. (To refresh your memory, she's our lieutenant governor).

She says,

anastasia, be sure to save the date to tune in and watch Governor John Kasich deliver the annual State of the State address on Monday, February 24th at 7:00pm.

What would you like to hear Governor Kasich talk about this year? We look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas.

Well, we can't disappoint him, can we? Please tell Governor Kasich your thoughts and ideas!

Personally, I'd like to hear him say that since he has increased state spending by such an enormous amount, he plans to not only restore public school and local government funding but to increase it, and especially to invest a lot more money in education, from pre-K all the way through college. There is nothing he could do that would make more difference to Ohio's economy on so many levels.

What ideas do you have for the governor?

Here's the link:

Is Jon Husted Getting Worried About Nina Turner?


Would you buy a used redistricting plan from this man?

This week, this noble-sounding editorial written by Husted appeared in the Washington Post:

In it he comes out strongly against gerrymandering, expending lots of words to say how it has upset the balance of our political process.

Why NOW, after he's been in office three years, time in which he could have been a strong public advocate for this? It couldn't be about that election coming up, could it?

He goes on to promote the same better-but-still-weak idea for fixing redistricting that he's been flogging since he was in the legislature: a larger redistricting board requiring a super-majority with at least one minority vote to pass a map. The map would have to be "compact and competitive" with counties and communities not split.

Here's my beef with this. While his colleagues were busy slicing and dicing the state to their own benefit, creating the outrageously unbalanced maps that have resulted in a 50-50 state having a 12-4 Republican-favoring congressional delegation and super-majorities of Republicans in both houses of the legislature, Husted said nothing. He said nothing as they were even splitting precincts in pursuit of packing Democrats into a handful of districts and keeping most for themselves. Afterward he suggested that this wasn't a great idea. Thanks, Jon.

Portune Is Out

Thank goodness.

Hamilton County commissioner Todd Portune did a lot in the past month or so to sully his name and reputation with people outside his county who had never heard of him before when he announced his quixotic , last-minute challenge to Ed FitzGerald in the Democratic gubernatorial primary.

He would have had to have located a running mate — he seems have a zeroed in on a guy from Toledo — and gotten his 1,000 signatures to file by Wednesday. In the statement he released he seems to have recognized that the lateness of his entry into the race was a factor he couldn't overcome.

No kidding.

And he still gives no real reason for having gotten in the race in the first place, other than what he's been saying all along — that he's hearing from some people they aren't happy with Ed and that he thinks he would have more appeal to black voters. No clue why he, a white man from whiter Hamilton County, felt this. He never articulated a policy agenda that included stances so compelling to African-Americans that they would vote for an unknown white guy from another part of the state. He never explained how he would appeal to the state's largest block of black voters — those in Cuyahoga — with insufficient time, name recognition, or relationships with leaders in that community.

He suggested early on that it had something to do with FitzGerald's choice of Eric Kearney, an African-American state legislator, as his running mate, and then shedding him from the ticket when Republicans and the media went into hyper-overdrive about some tax issues Kearney had. Apparently, Portune was offended by this and latched onto this as a partial reason to challenge FitzGerald.

When a Difference 4 Years Makes When It Comes to Women & Ohio Democrats

Columbus-based political writer John Spinelli has an article today about something a lot of us have been talking about: the surge in prominence of women in the Ohio Democratic Party.

Four years ago this time, there was a lot of discontent among Ohio Democratic women activists.

We were still several days away from the withdrawal of Jennifer Garrison from the secretary of state race after more than six months in which key Democratic women in the state had talked themselves blue to party staff and officials about the unacceptability of such an anti-choice candidate.

The process of getting her off the ticket and naming a replacement left many women even more disillusioned. That was added to the feeling many of them had that Jennifer Brunner’s campaign for U.S. Senate was never taken seriously by party insiders, and that she was being pressured into stepping aside for Lee Fisher and trotting back to the SoS race like a good little girl, taking a hit to help the party.

There was a lot of conversation among Democratic women (I still have the emails) about tokenism in the party that was barely mollified by Governor Ted Strickland’s choice of Yvette McGee Brown a few weeks earlier to replace Fisher as his lieutenant governor.

Garrison was replaced with another woman — the highly qualified and much more politically acceptable Franklin County clerk of courts Maryellen O’Shaughnessy. But by then, the discontent was hardening, also driven by a sense that the party was less than fully behind Mary Jane Trapp’s candidacy for state supreme court and what was perceived as a dismissive attitude among certain male staffers at the ODP. I personally perceived this from a now-moved-on staffer.

Now Ohio Democratics have a historic ticket. It doesn’t feature one token woman — women comprise half the ticket.

Sharen Neuhardt Nails It

Sharen Neuhardt is going to prove a huge asset to Ohio's statewide Democratic ticket.

She's already demonstrating her ability to articulate Democratic values clearly and concisely in ways that are easy to understand. It's no wonder that Democratic activist women are just over the moon about this pick of gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald to be his running mate.

An article in today's Youngstown Vindicator describes her presentation at a campaign stop in the Mahoning Valley yesterday.

"Women's issues more than abortion."

You'd better believe it — and the GOP is wrong on all of them.

“Women’s issues are Ohio economic issues,” Neuhardt said during a campaign stop Saturday at Cafe 422. “When we reduce every woman’s issue to abortion, we do a disservice to the women of this state.”

She pointed out how the actions of the Republicans who dominate our legislature thanks to gerrymandering have hurt women across the state.

“They callously disregarded the needs of women,” said Neuhardt, who is pro-choice and a former board member of Planned Parenthood. “None of these services where they cut funding are related to abortion.”

They don't care — it's as simple as that. They don't care if women are less healthy and more impoverished, yet forced to give birth to children they can't support. They don't care if women's life choices are severely constricted, preventing them from giving a child what she needs to flourish.

Sharen Neuhardt is already making a difference. And it's one the Republicans won't be able to counteract by trotting out long-disappeared lieutenant governor Mary Taylor to prattle about what a disaster the Affordable Care Act is and lie some more about it.

Will Their Perversion of Democracy Never Cease?

So… we have Ohio attorney general Mike DeWine using our tax dollars to appeal a court decision limiting the ability of Ohio Republicans to keep third-party candidates off the ballot.

We also have our secretary of voter suppress … I mean STATE … Jon Husted setting “uniform” early voting hours for all of Ohio’s 88 counties — hours which offer disproportionate difficulties to working people by failing to provide any significant evening or weekend hours.

The two of them fought like crazy to block or limit the most popular early voting period, the three days before an election.

Now we’ve learned of another outrageous situation down in Hamilton County.

Currently its board of elections is located in downtown Cincinnati. And it’s looking to move. It’s eying a location about 10 miles out of downtown. It’s also looking to move its early voting location there — the only early voting location in the county. And, this being Ohio, where we don’t fund such things, it’s dauntingly difficult and time-consuming to reach by public transit.

The four BoE board members — twp Republicans and two Democrats — will vote on this move tomorrow. It’s not unlikely the vote will deadlock — with Republicans favoring this move and Democrats opposing it. That means Husted would break the tie. All eyes on Husted …

Democratic Council member P.G. Sittenfeld told WLWT that elected leaders will hold a press conference at 8 a.m. Monday before the board’s 8:30 a.m. vote on the move.
Sittenfeld said he and others believe the move will disproportionately affect voting access to women, minorities, seniors and low-income voters. It could also limit early voting.

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