Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Less than six months ago, Stark Countians resoundingly defeated State Issue 2/Senate Bill 5 (SB 5) which is generally described as being an "anti-collective bargaining" bill.

Put forward in 2011 by Republican Governor John Kasich and passed through the Ohio General Assembly by the Republican majority in both houses as SB 5, it is being presented as a symbol of Republican antagonism towards organized labor by Democrats statewide and locally.

Issue 2 was primarily aimed at public employee teachers, police and firemen, but did include others.

Stark's vote mirrored the result across all of Ohio.

A question locally is whether or not Stark County's Democratic candidates can stoke the fires of Issue 2's defeat to help them in the 2012 elections.  Police, fire and teachers historically have not been the captive of Democratic candidates as have been most other union members.

The SCPR expects Democratic candidates for countywide office and statehouse races to bring up their Republican opponents position on Issue 2 - pre-election 2011 in an attempt to capitalize on the 2011 vote.

Specific targets are likely to be Republican state Representatives Christina Hagan running to be "retained" in the 50th House District and Kirk Schuring (the 48th).

Undoubtedly, the Dems will be scouring local media reports to dig out votes (by Ohio House incumbents) for or against SB 5 as well as statements by Republican candidates at that and other levels of candidacy expressing an opinion on the bill.

Help appears to be on the way.  As reported on the Cleveland Plain Dealer's website yesterday, (We Are Ohio, labor-backed group that fought SB 5, will remain active in Ohio politics, Joe Guillen), We Are Ohio has remaining some $700,000 of millions ($42 million, to be precise) the group raised for its anti-Issue 2 campaign and now are saying (via Dennis Willard, the group spokesman, a former Akron Beacon Journal Statehouse reporter): "We are here to stay."

And there may be a lightning rod of an issue to draw the group's ire and intense attention in the upcoming 2012 elections.

An effort is under way by Ohioans for Workplace Freedom to place a "Right to Work" Ohio Constitution amendment on November's ballot. 

If the initiative makes it to the ballot, Republicans had better hope that it fares better than a similar initiative that was roundly defeated in 1958.

Otherwise, there could be some unexpected political casualties littering the landscape of Ohio including Stark County come November 7th.

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