The Columbus Dispatch
New Speaker Larry Householder had the first laugh, but we hope he doesn’t also get the last laugh over his Democrat-driven selection last week to the most powerful position in the Ohio House of Representatives.
House members made history on the first day of the 133rd session of the Ohio General Assembly when an even number of Democrats and Republicans — 26 from each caucus — returned the Glenford Republican to the post he had left under a cloud in 2004.
A master political strategist, Householder could obviously tell well before last Monday’s showdown that he would need Democratic votes to defeat Smith, who had been speaker since June. Householder’s pathway to those votes came via support from organized labor.
And it was the labor support that helped win over many in the Democratic caucus to tie their political futures to Householder, as central Ohio Democratic Reps. David Leland and Kristin Boggs later explained to the Dispatch editorial board.
The real test, though, will be how much, if any, of their legislative agenda Democrats are able to get passed. The Dispatch, too, would like to see the House pass stricter gun laws and forgo further abortion restrictions, but we’re not as hopeful as the 26 Democrats who gave Householder the gavel.
The Lima News
Regardless of which political party you support, it should be obvious that in a functioning democracy, district lines should be drawn fairly, rather than rigged to benefit one side or the other.
Last May, Ohioans voted overwhelmingly for a bipartisan plan that will give the minority party much more say in the drawing of congressional maps. Lima’s Matt Huffman played a major role in developing the plan, which should result in fairer maps and more competitive elections for Congress starting in 2022. Ohio lawmakers think their reform could be a model for how states can fix gerrymandering on their own.
The U.S. Supreme Court fumbled an opportunity in June to deal a death blow to political gerrymandering when it disposed of two cases on narrow procedural grounds. But two new cases to be heard later this year give the court an opportunity to atone for that abdication in time to ensure that all congressional and state legislative district lines drawn after the 2020 census will be fair.
The Supreme Court has agonized about partisan gerrymandering for more than three decades. It’s time to rule.
The Akron Beacon Journal
One theme of the campaign for governor involved how Mike DeWine long had thought about holding the office. An election victory would amount to reaching the height of his career as an elected official, starting in the 1970s as the Greene County prosecutor, including time in Washington as a House member and senator, with stints in Ohio as a state senator, lieutenant governor and, most recently, attorney general. So, now at age 72, he has had time to weigh what he would do as the state’s chief executive.
What deserves particular attention is the welcome diversity of his team.
DeWine has put together a Cabinet of 16 women and nine men. Five members are African-American. The makeup doesn’t amount somehow to denying openings to qualified white men. It gets to the point Justice Sandra Day O’Connor made in a 2003 Supreme Court ruling securing affirmative action, that "in order to cultivate a set of leaders with legitimacy in the eyes of the citizenry, it is necessary that the path to leadership be visibly open to talented and qualified individuals of every race and ethnicity."
An Ohio with steep challenges must take advantage of all its talent. That is the valuable message Mike DeWine has sent.
The Youngstown Vindicator
In July 2017, just months into his presidency, Republican Donald Trump ventured into the predominantly Democratic Mahoning Valley and made two significant promises:
First, that auto manufacturing in the U.S. would experience tremendous growth because of his edict to General Motors, Ford and Chrysler to close plants abroad and bring the jobs home.
Second, that there would be a revival of steelmaking with the resurrection of the huge mills that once dotted the banks of the Mahoning River.
GM has announced it will idle four U.S. plants, including the 52-year-old car assembly complex in Lordstown, and one in Canada. A total of 14,000 workers are affected.
At Lordstown, the end of production of the Chevrolet Cruze compact car is set for March, and more than 4,000 good-paying jobs in the Valley will be lost.
That said, Trump still has a chance to make good on his other promise to the people of this area: namely, the revival of steelmaking in the Valley.
All he needs to do is pick up the phone and invite John Ferriola to a meeting in the White House.