One of the themes that Republican Governor John Kasich is trying to convince Ohioans of is his devotion to merit being a keystone of his administration.
So far, the SCPR sees that like his predecessor Democrat Ted Strickland, it is politics as usual and there is nothing distinctive about Kasich in terms of diminishing politics as primary criterion of his selection process of appointees to state and local government.
Stark County is about to see the Kasich's hand up close and personal in his selection of who succeeds David Stucki as Stark County Common Pleas Family Court judge.
The Stark County Political Report will not even go to "LA LA LAND" and suggest that he would, at his own initiative, consider a highly qualified Democrat to replace Stucki.
The only realistic question is whether or not he go for the Republican candidate who is the most qualified by experience or will he go for the one with the strongest political backing. The Report that it will be the former and not the latter.
It appears to the SCPR that the "Stark Republican Only candidates need apply list" for the Stucki post have varying degrees of political connection and therefore, assuming that Kasich will weigh the political dividends for himself come 2014. The Report predicts that Kasich will pick the one with the most political clout (in terms of backing) and not the one who seems to have the judicial gravitas to "merit" selection.
Stark's four sent to Columbus by the Stark GOP Executive Committee (in the order SCPR's assessment of the political strength of the candidate) include:
- Stark Court of Common Pleas bailiff, magistrate and staff attorney Lori Flowers. She works for former Stark County Republican Party Chairman and now Common Pleas Judge Charles Brown, Jr.
- Stark Court of Common Pleas bailiff Kristin Farmer. She works for Republican Judge V. Lee Sinclair in the Stark County Court of Common Pleas and she is the daughter of 5th District Court of Appeals Judge Sheila Farmer (Republican). Moreover, earlier in her career she was appointed to a job as an assistant prosecutor by a Republican prosecutor.
- Republican Brant Luther who served as a Republican appointee to the Stark County Auditor's office (to replace Janet Creighton who had been elected mayor of Canton) but was defeated by Democrat Kim Perez in the 2004 general election. Luther, after losing to Perez, was taken on by Republican Stark County Republican Court of Common Pleas Probate Court Judge Dixie Parks as one of her magistrates. Luther subsequently left Parks for the Republican controlled Stark County Family Court where he is in charge of the Court's guardian ad litem program. He also ran as the Republican candidate for Ohio's 61st House District in 2006, losing to Democrat Mark Okey.
- Rosemarie Hall. Apparently, her only connection - other than being a registered Republican - is being married to local attorney Charles Hall who represents a number of Stark County boards of township trustees. By experience and merit though she has been a magistrate for seven years in the actual court that has the opening that Kasich is selecting for.
Apparently, Lori Flowers is going full press on the political front. Look at this comment as reported by The Rep's Shane Hoover in Four finalists for Stark family court judge on April 14th:
She also said she has been a loyal Republican her entire adult life and is up for the challenge of keeping the seat, if selected. (emphasis added)And working for former Stark County Republican Party chairman Charles E. Brown, Jr. doesn't hurt either.
While the SCPR believes that political parties are an essential part of making the American system of government work, when political considerations for who gets appointed to office and who does not trump the range of consideration of candidates for a given office (i.e. opposite party qualifieds will not be considered), then something is very wrong about people like Kasich and Strickland in terms of caring about the governance health of the state.
Such is what is at the heart of why more and more Americans are turning against the Republican and Democratic political parties.
When a guy like Kasich mouths notions like "merit" but then demonstrates that he is about "politics as usual;" he does tremendous damage to the credibility his governance. Consequently, when he asks Ohioans to make sacrifices such is increasingly falling on deaf ears.
For Stark Countians, Kasich's power of appointment of a new Stark County family court judge is an opportunity for him to show merit is more than political polish.
Does Kasich have it in him - in the light to his pontificated "merit" position - to put the best qualified person (irrespective of political connections or party affiliation) in as judge of the Stark County?