Scott Oelslager has announced he is again doing an "in your face" to the spirit of term limits. He is term limited out of the Ohio House. But he is not about to give up a good thing for himself. He is running for the Ohio Senate for a seat he has already held once.
This is not news to the SCPR. Oelslager told yours truly at the Stark County Fair last Labor Day weekend that he would be running for the Senate. His musical chair capers with Kirk Schuring have been treated in a number SCPR blogs since.
It is very likely that state Representative Scott Oelslager will be elected to the Ohio Senate in 2010.
How can the SCPR say that on May 29, 2009?
Stark County Democratic Party chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. has "no answer" for Oelslager or Schuring (should he chose to play musical chairs with Oelslager and return to the Ohio House in 2010) at the state legislature level.
It took the more personable (than Schuring), "war hero," highly financed John Boccieri (running amidst a huge Democratic year) to wrestle the 16th congressional seat from the Republicans.
Maier had "political" sweetheart relationships with both Oelslager and Schuring since the days he was in the legislature with them. In fact, he got along better with them than he with Canton Mayor William Healy, II's father (also William but called "Bill" by most).
Maier's politically cozy relationship with Oelslager may be the reason he gave Oelslager a free ride (no opponent in 2008; very weak opponents 2000 thru 2006) for all of his time in the Ohio House.
So why would things change in 2010?
Stark Countians are used to Oelslager smiling, talking about solving the problems of school funding because his parents were educators (which proved to make no difference in achievement), riding the horse of his solitary significant legislative success (Open Records) and generally being a dull, vanilla-ish and ineffectual legislator.
Just to pause on Oelslager and the fixing public education funding issue.
At one time in his treatment of the topic, he was saying that the Republicans had fixed the funding problem - citing the millions they added to the funding pot.
For him to banter this official Republican Party line at the time, was disingenuous at the very least. He knew or should have now that as a percentage of the Ohio budget, the funding of education was well under historic highs that had been attained by the Ohio legislature decades earlier.
Both Oelslager and Schuring have been "less than spectacular" legislators (to state the obvious) notwithstanding being the majority and sometimes supermajority most of their legislative careers.
There are plenty of powerful Stark County Democrats that could take on Oelslager. Maier, Strickland, Boccieri, Healy could lean on any number Stark Democratic warhorses to take Oelslager on. But they won't.
These Democratic power brokers will stand aside and let Oelslager skate right back into the Senate.
The SCPR won't want to hear local Democrats make excuses for Strickland in his second administration, to wit: "but the Senate is in Republican hands." No, not for a group that lets Oelslager sail back into the Senate
Ohio and, more importantly, Stark County will suffer because Oelslager continues his undistinguished career in the Legislature.
Undoubtedly, devoted Stark Republicans who will dutifully surface in 2014 to help Oelslager celebrate being in the Ohio General Assembly for 30 years. And that may be the first of many celebrations: thirty-five, forty, forty-five and fifty may follow.
However, those Stark Countians who want to see an effective legislator from Stark County will not be celebrating. They will be lamenting how much Stark has lost because of having this colorless, bland and the unadventurous man represent them.
The Stark Democrats themselves have a unexciting representative in Columbus. Stephen Slesnick of the 52nd, from reports the SCPR is getting out of Columbus, is schlepping around in Ohio House hearings.
Back to Oelslager for a final note.
Indeed, Scott Oelslager is getting to be like yesterday's newspaper; stale news.
But it appears all but certain that Stark Countians will be in for a steady diet of "stale - political - bread" from Oelslager at least through 2014. Maybe longer.
Lamentations, lamentations, lamentations!!!