Wednesday, November 14, 2012


In September, 2012 the Republican side of the Ohio General Assembly (OGA) including Stark Countians Christina Hagan of  Marlboro Township (the 50th House District) and Scott Oelslager of Plain Township (the 29th Senate District) passed House Bill 319.

House Bill 319 was a piece of legislation which redistricted Ohio's U.S. House of Representative seats (as required every ten years by the U.S. Constitution) and Ohio's House of Representatives/Senate (as required by the Ohio Constitution decennially).

Led by President of the Senate Tom Niehaus and Speaker of the House Billy Batchhelder, the Republicans made sure that the Ohio delegation to the U.S. House would not match the political proclivities of the people of the Buckeye state.

While President Obama won Ohio by about two percentage points and Democrat Sherrod Brown was re-elected to the United States Senate by about a five percent margin, the results from the enactment of House Bill 319's gerrymandered congressional districts make it appear that Ohio is a lopsided Republican state a la Alabama, Arkansas and Louisiana.

An interesting fact is that the reliably Republican state of Georgia (in presidential [53% Romney to 45% Obama - 2012] and statewide elections) has more Democrats in its congressional delegation than does Ohio.

To the SCPR, the effect of HB 319 is to make Niehaus, Batchelder, Hagan and Oelslager and their partisan colleagues not merely the political opposition, but rather brings into question their commitment to representative government fairness and the values of America's democracy captured in the expression "one man, one vote."

There were a significant number of Republicans (six, including Jackson Township's Kirk Schuring) who opposed the carnage visited on redistricting fairness by the lopsided OGA Republican majority.

The bill did similar thing with Ohio's House and Senate districts and in the case of the House enabled Republicans to add one more seat to their already commanding lead of 59 Republicans to 40 Democrats.

In the name of Democracy, what Niehaus, Batchelder, and Stark Countinans Hagan and Oelslager and friends have done as the wielders of political power in Ohio is absolutely disgraceful.

Their action is not the kind of lesson that one would hold up to school children across Ohio as an example of how democracy should work.

The likes of Hagan and Oelslager like to justify their undermining of democracy votes by pointing out that Democrats have in the past and would in the future, if in control, do the same thing.

That argument only works with the wildly partisan.

Those of us who care more about the integrity and fairness of our government processes respond with a:  "pox on both their houses."

Politicos, whether Republican or Democrat, who support political party over competitive politics grounded in fairness and true representativeness of where voters really are in terms of the political affiliations, are not in the view of the SCPR small letter "d" democrats.

They are underminers of the greatest political and government experiment in the history of mankind:  the American democratic republic.

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