Friday, March 2, 2018



Was reading an article from The New York Times on a practice by some corporate "pharmacy benefit managers" in contracts with pharmacists to insist on including what are called "gag clauses."

According to the article a number of states have moved to correct the muzzling of pharmacists.

So the thought occurred to The Stark County Political Report:  What about the state of Ohio?

As The Report is apt to do and share with the readers of this blog, a Google® search was launched to determine the status of the law of Ohio.

And, lo and behold! what a pleasant surprise!!!

This popped up.

Canton's/Stark County's very own Thomas West as a Democratic (a party dwarfed by super majority Republicans) state representative flexing his muscle on behalf of everyday Cantonians and Stark Countians.


The SCPR wants to be.  But time will tell.

His predecessor Stephen Slesnick and fellow Democrat spent eight years in the Ohio House and never, ever got anywhere close to this HB 479 significance.

Slesnick's excuse for not achieving was his being part of a decided minority in the Ohio House.


Doesn't seem to stop West from having an impact!

Representative West has social skills (a long time social worker) and political skills (a long term Democratic councilman in Canton) that Slesnick could only dream about.

Slesnick only claim to fame was coming from a well known Canton/Stark County business family of which he was (in running to become the Democratic Party nominee over eight years ago) a vice president of.

Finally, finally, finally Cantonians and Stark Countians have a productive Democrat in the Ohio General Assembly?

William J. Healy, William J. Healy, II and Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. never were.  And Healy the father and Maier actually served in Democratic majorities.

The Republicans think they have a chance to defeat West in the upcoming 2018 general election and the SCPR thinks they have a pretty good candidate in James Haavisto as they did with Dan McMasters in 2016 when West was running for the first time.

But given:
  • the overwhelming registered Democrats and "independent" leaning Democratic voters in the 49th, and
  • West being legislatively active (teaming up with Republican Kirk Schuring [the 48th] on trying to help Massillon fend off the abrupt closing of Affinity Medical Center) and likely in the case of HB 479 productive,
it is hard to imagine Haavisto being successful in his quest to unseat West.

Especially so because of the seeming bipartisan stance that West embraces.  With West playing nice with Republican legislators when he can and not offend his fellow Democratic caucus, he does.

Of the Republicans in the Stark County delegation to the Ohio General Assembly, Kirk Schuring (the 48th) and Scott Oelslager (Senate, the 29th) have demonstrated some willingness to work with Democrats whereas Christina Hagan (the 50th) has not.

When one is in a huge minority as West is, then one must be operationally smart as West is demonstrating he is on this specific piece of legislation.

The SCPR applauds Stark's "organized" Republicans (Jeff Matthews, chairman) for offering the quality of a Jim Haavisto to the voters of the 49th.

Last evening Haavisto had a fundraiser.  Apparently he is determined to make a fight of it.

Every candidate in Stark County on the November ballot ought to have significant opposition.

And that includes Thomas West.

For the moment, the SCPR commends West for his work in the Legislature.  But, clearly, being an elected politician is a "what have you done lately."

Can he keep it up?  We shall see.  And James Haavisto will be quick to give reasons why he thinks the West we have seen in his 1-1/3 years in office is a "mirage."

Here is a video of West (at the 1:49 mark of a 3:22 video clip posted on YouTube by LesicCamper on February 2nd)  appearing with his Republican co-sponsor and a pharmaceutical industry representative talking about the prospects for HB 479.


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