Two easy ways to solve the problem with district maps

  • Melodrama out of control at the Statehouse.
  • Potholes have a lobbyist.
  • Republican Jim Renacci gets endorsements.

The serial antics about General Assembly districts — who draws them and how — have become another Statehouse melodrama Ohioans could do without.

And there are two easy ways to do it:

Elect all 99 members of the Ohio House and 33 members of the Senate at large — on a ballot the size of a beach towel — with each party nominating 264 candidates. Voters could choose 132.

Candidates who fired with the first 33 totals would get seats in the House of Wind — doing business as the Ohio Senate — and the next 99 candidates would become members of the Ohio House.

Continued:Thomas Suddes: Ohio’s failed redistricting commission must go

From dollars to doughnuts, the legislature would end up with 20 members named Brown and a dozen named Sweeney, and you’d never know that wasn’t the same assembly Ohio has now.

Or a voter in Ohio might be asked one and only one question: who will represent you in the Statehouse – a Republican or a Democrat (or for that matter, an Independent)?

Then, seats in the State Senate and Ohio House would be allocated to match a party’s respective percentage statewide.

Thomas Suddes

If, for example, 60% of Ohio voters chose to be represented in the General Assembly by the GOP, that – depending on the rounding rules – would seat 19 or 20 Republicans in the state Senate and 59 or 60 Republicans in the Ohio House. The remaining seats would default to Democrats or Independents, as well as cake.

Continued:Letters: Kick politicians out of Ohio’s redistricting process. Term limits for Congress overdue.

Since most Ohioans, aside from voters with special interests (guns, abortion), don’t have a clue who their state’s lawmakers are, nothing could be simpler. . No more wondering which town is in which General Assembly District.

Of course, each plan has its drawbacks. For one thing, the army of campaign management consultants and ad agencies would have fewer clients because both parties would likely advertise statewide, rather than locally, for legislative candidates.

It’s also true that a bedsheet ballot — with more than 264 names — could help elect candidates with familiar names. In 1970, for example, a West Side Cleveland businessman named John F. Kennedy, otherwise virtually unknown, won a contested Democratic primary for Ohio’s secretary of state.

Kennedy then racked up a respectable 46% of the statewide vote in November against veteran Republican Secretary of State Ted W. Brown.

In Ohio, the people rule.

But a name can help.

PRESSURE: There is hardly a cause that does not have a lobby or a lobbyist. So, no surprise, it looks like the potholes have a lobbyist, not in human form but in the form of a bill – Senate Bill 277, sponsored by Senator Steve Huffman, a Republican from Tipp City.

For the five years beginning July 1, the bill would reduce Ohio’s gasoline tax, now 38.5 cents per gallon, and diesel fuel tax, now 47 cents per gallon, to 28 cents. This represents a 27% reduction in gasoline tax and a 40% reduction in diesel fuel tax.

Continued:GOP lawmaker wants to cut gasoline tax in Ohio and end surcharges on hybrid and electric vehicles

For the two fiscal years beginning July 1, the bill would cut state transportation funding by $973 million and transportation funding for counties, cities and towns by $798 million — a grand total $1.7 billion in cash that is no longer available for upgrades and repairs. The next pothole you come across, keep that possibility in mind.

PRIMARY: The Butler County GOP endorsed Wadsworth Republican Jim Renacci, for governor, rather than Republican incumbent Governor Mike DeWine. And the Clermont County GOP, in the eastern suburbs of Cincinnati, has them too.

Politically, the county’s two parties must march to different paces than those setting the tone elsewhere in Ohio. For 2019, Mike DeWine’s first year as governor, the average unemployment rate in Butler County was 3.8%. It was 3.7% in Clermont.

Continued:‘Sending a message’: Butler County GOP is second local party to avoid Gov. Mike DeWine

Two months ago, in December 2021, the latest month available, the unemployment rate in Butler was 2.9%, and in Clermont it was 2.8% – while the statewide rate was 3.4%. If, as veteran GOP Governor James A. Rhodes used to preach, jobs are Ohio’s No. 1 campaign issue, it’s hard to see what Butler and Clermont’s beef is with Mike DeWine – not that it takes much to squeeze Southwest Ohio Republicans.

Thomas Suddes is a former legislative reporter for The Plain Dealer in Cleveland and writes from Ohio University. [email protected]

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