The Stark County Political Report has learned that state Senator Bill Seitz (Republican - Hamilton County [Cincinnati]) has been disciplined by the Republican Senate Caucus for not following the party line.
The Columbus Dispatch reports (Republican who opposed Senate Bill 5 punished, April 7, 2011, Jim Siegel [SB 5 is the highly controversial collective bargaining recently passed by the Ohio General Assembly and signed by Governor Kasich]) that Seitz has been removed as chairman of the Government Oversight and Reform Committee (GO&RC).
While Senate President Tom Niehaus (Republican - New Richmond) gives some cockamamie about a supposed slight of another Republican member of the Senate as being the reason, the truth of the matter is that Seitz is being punished for voting to keep SB 5 successfully from keeping the bill from coming out of committee [the Insurance, Commerce and Labor Committee].
Along with Republican Jim Hughes voting with four Democrats on the committee, it was blocked 5 to 4 in getting out. So, the Republican leadership removed Seitz from the committee and replaced him with "tow the party line" state Senator Cliff Hite.
Now the punishment is complete with Seitz's removal as chairman of the GO&RC.
The SCPR's ideal elected official is the likes of Senator Seitz. He is willing to incur the wrath of political leadership and suffer punishment to vote his conscience. Moreover, he perseveres.
To be contrasted to Seitz is Stark County's Kirk Schuring (R - Jackson). He not only voted for SB 5 but he insulted mental processes of Stark Countians in justifying his vote in saying that it really is in the interest of affected public employees. "You can trust me and my judgment on this issue," he says "after all I have over the course of my legislative career gotten some recognition/awards from public employee organizations" (paraphrase)
While the SCPR has long maintained that Schuring is largely ineffective for Stark County interests, his vote for Senate Bill 5 and his bamboozling-esque justification of the vote is clear indication that he has become the persistent, consummate shill for the Republican Party line; whatever it happens to be. And if that means helping the Kasich administration balance Ohio's budget on the backs of middle class public workers, so be it.
But stand up for a constituent's desire that voters be more informed about local candidates and who are the big money contributors to their campaigns are? No much stomach for that.
About two years ago, the SCPR approached the then state Senator Kirk Schuring (Republican - 29th) to introduce legislation to require local (county level and below) candidates to report the occupation or employer for campaign contributions of $100 or more received from financial supporters.
This is important information for voters to know for such candidates (by way of example) as Mayor William J. Healy, II of Canton.
During his first run for mayor, he was out getting contributions from Cleveland political figures, Arizona interests and even a Las Vegas based contributor. However, in a number of instances no listing was made on campaign finance reports as to the occupation/profession of the contributor and the law as it currently exists does not require such of local candidates. The Report believes that Cantonians/Stark Countians should have a right to know who these contributors are and what, if any, financial interest they may have in helping likes of Healy get elected.
Well, Schuring did introduce the bill in October, 2009 (Senate Bill 191). And it got a hearing or two. One of which The Report went to Columbus to testify for. To hear Schuring tell it, the measure was very likely to pass.
For a time, Schuring was making periodic calls updating yours truly on the progress of the legislation. Over time the calls got less and less frequent.
Now that the 128th Ohio General Assembly is over and the bill died with the end of the session, of course, there is nothing from Schuring. No re-introduce. No nothing. After all yours truly is no longer a constituent. Schuring no longer is in the Senate. He has "musical chair gamed" (but in this game each player gets a chair; just a different chair) over to the Ohio House (the 51st) in tandem with Stark County political fixture Scott Oelslager in their joint enterprise to game Ohio's term limit law which both support when it became law back in the 90s.
So what good is this guy as a legislator whose main characteristic seems to be perpetuating himself in office, just to be in office? Playing it safe for the sake of his own political security.
No gumption, no perseverence! Certainly no putting himself out for the good of his constituents unless, of course, it has the Republican Party "good political housekeeping - seal of approval."
Senator Bill Seitz is; Kirk Schuring is not.