Friday, January 11, 2019





Read this follow report from  Here are some excerpts:


It was a tense time in the Ohio House of Representative according to District 49 state Representative Thomas West.

West, who started his second term on Monday as the legislator in the House representing Canton, Canton Township. Massillon and Pike Township, was right in the middle of the "political sausage making" that has been going on ever since Republican Cliff Rosenberger resigned because of a reputed FBI investigation of him was said to be underway.

West wears two hats:  one as a Democrat and another as a member of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus (OLBC).

Which factor, as between Democrats and Black Caucus members, was "the king maker" in pushing former Ohio Speaker of the House Larry Householder over-the-top in a "battle royale" on Monday at the Statehouse?


The two were inseparable in being the reason why Householder upended sitting Speaker Ryan Smith from the speakership.

And, it appears to The Stark County Political Report that West and Republican and fellow member of the Stark County delegation to the House Scott Oelslager played important roles in puting Blac, Red and Blue sausage together that all Ohioans will be having for breakfast for at least two but probably four years forthcoming.

Kirk Schuring (now of the Ohio Senate, District 29) presided over the election contest between Householder and Smith.

Stark County legislator Oelslager (R, the 48th) placed Householder's name in nomination for Ohio Speaker of the House.


Both Smith and Householder courted the fourteen (14) votes of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus (OLBC).

West says Householder wowed them whereas Smith could only get an attentive ear in the Caucuses' meeting with him.  Obviously, the OLBC members (members of the decidedly minority Democratic Party) were looking for promises of getting a more significant place at the table than they had in the 132nd Ohio General Assembly (OGA), part of which was under the speakership of Ryan Smith (selected in June, 2018).

It has been clear for some time that the vote of Ohio House Democrats was going to be the critical factor on whether Smith would continue to serve as speaker or be replaced by Householder.

A major player in trying to guide the vote of the members of the OLBC was Democrat Fred Strahorn of the Dayton, Ohio area.

It is believed that Strahorn had "an axe to grind" with Householder growing out of Householder's past term as speaker.

And he worked hard to take his fellow OLBC members with him as he cast his vote for Ryan Smith telling OLBC that Smith had the votes and they needed to bSe on the winning side.  Only Catherine Ingram of District 32 was willing to follow his lead.

Strahorn was unable to deliver for Smith.

As can be seen from the Ohio House Journal for January 7th, Smith was clearly the choice of a majority of the 61 Republicans who make up the Ohio House Republican Caucus.  Thirty-four (34) for Smith; twenty-six (26) for Householder.

On the Democratic side, twenty-six (26) voted for Householder whereas only twelve (12) Democrats [of which only two were OLBC members].

Isn't it interesting that the Democrats mustered as many votes for Householder as came from the Republican side of the isle (26 each).

Obviously, the Democrats calculated that they would be better off with Householder at the helm.

West says he  personally had a tough time deciding which way to vote in the Smith/Householder matchup.

A major factor in West's decision (inferred by the SCPR, but not stated directly by West) and presumably the other OLBC members who overwhelmingly ended up voting for Householder, was "organized" labor's push for Householder.

Those of us who understand political reality know that unions had to have extracted certain promises from Householder

  • no Right to Work in Ohio during a Householder speakership? 
  • and, perhaps preserving the right of unions to negotiate "prevailing wage agreements,"
    • and likely, a number of other union "close to the heart" issues.
How about the OLBC and the Democrats at large?

For the OLBC, in interpreting West's account, it appears the SCPR that 12 out of 14 OLBC vote in Householder's favor seems to be (in addition to the "organized" labor factor) was grounded of getting promises of  respect, the ear of and an attitude of cooperation from Householder.

To expand or the Strahorn/Householder matter, the "thought to be" influential OLBC member Fred Strahorn is said to have been treated roughly by Householder in his first run of being speaker and Strahorn appears to have been in "an unforgiving mood" on the Householder "current" attempt to be speaker once again.

West's take and apparently the take of the 12 of 14 House members of the OLBC was that what happened between Strahorn and Householder  (January 1, 2001 through December 31, 2004) in his earlier stint as speaker was  not relevant in 2019 given the rapport Householder developed with the OLBC in his courting of their votes in the context of strong union support for Householder.

For the Democrats, in the SCPR's view, garnered in talking with West and from a number of media reports of the union activism bearing on the speaker election (in the light of the fracturing of the Ohio House Republican Caucus between Smith and Householder, the union push seems to have been decisive inasmuch as most political analysts know that unions overwhelmingly support the campaigns (in campaign finance dollars and campaign workers) of Democratic legislative candidates.

Locally, Stark County's building trades are said to weighed in heavily for Householder.

While West said he was possibly open to voting for Smith, it is clear to the SCPR that the union factor redounded to Householder's benefit.  West recounted to this blogger how strong the unions were for Householder.

West says he is concerned with the possibility of some fracturing of the Democratic Caucus in light of Strahorn and other Democrats voting for Smith.

He confirmed that there  move afoot among some of the Caucus Democrats to punish Strahorn for his being in the minority of Democrats not voting for Householder.

Householder upon being elected, sworn in and taking the gavel called Ryan Smith to the podium.

The move obviously intended to an olive branch to Smith and his supporters including the November, 2018 elected Reggie Stoltzfus of Paris Township (a former Paris Township trustee).

But Smith did not appear to the SCPR to be grasping the branch.

On viewing the session "live" on The Ohio Channel, it was clear to this blogger, from Smith's bearing and words, that he was not a happy camper in having lost and might be a basis of a Republican/Democratic/OLBC coalition in getting Householder's agenda to passage in the House.

So there you have it folks.

The MAKING of political sausage in the selection of Larry Householder the Speaker of the 133rd Ohio House of Representatives!

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