Over the past two years we’ve seen a very partisan form of state government in Ohio. Governor John Kasich promoted and signed legislation that directly attacked organized labor (SB-5, a collective bargaining overhaul) which became the centerpiece of the Ohio Republican Party agenda last year and an issue championed by the GOP Governor. Kasich has been pursuing a specific agenda along with other highly placed state appointed and elected officials.
The governor and at least two top Ohio state officials share alumnus status with the developer of that agenda – ALEC.
Kasich pushed for privatized education – K-12 through college – accomplished through cuts to education spending, signed legislation allowing fracking, and slashed funding for the Ohio Consumer’s Counsel (OCC) which has interfered with Duke Energy’s attempts to pass along storm damage repairs to their customers.
Kasich appointed former Representative Todd Snitchler (R) to the position of chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) in 2011. One of Snitchler’s first acts was to approve rate increases proposed by Duke Energy and American Electric Power (AEP). Snitchler touted consumers would see smaller energy bills under the plans. Within 60 days of approval, PUCO and Snitchler repealed the approval after schools, residents and businesses saw rate increases of as much as 50% by both Duke and AEP.
More recently a furor has arisen over early voting hours, voter ID fraud and “election reform,” with Kasich signing a reform bill that overturned last year’s bill actually providing election reform. The net was that it would restrict early voting in Ohio.
Ohio’s current Secretary of State Jon Husted served six terms as a member of the Ohio House and one year in the State Senate before being elected as secretary in 2010. He has been at the center of a maelstrom of controversy over allowing some Republic counties to extend early voting hours while restricting Democratic counties to shorter hours. Last week he suspended two election board officials who voted to keep weekend early voting – only to reinstate those member this week.
All of the issues mentioned above are parts of an agenda advanced by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Nationally they have pursued a suppression of minority voters through voter ID “model legislation,” support for state legislation to allow fracking, unlimited drilling, and opposing renewable energy initiatives.
What most Ohio voters and consumers are unaware of is that Kasich, Husted and Snitchler are all ALEC Alumni:
Together these three public officials have been continuously advancing ALEC’s free-market, pro corporate agenda in Ohio. Voters in Ohio should be made aware of the affiliations of their top elected and appointed government officials.
The ongoing attempts to suppress the votes of what ALEC, Kasich, Husted and others perceive as predominantly Democratic voters is a national pursuit in this election cycle. With Ohio in the national spotlight due to the ongoing controversy as they attempt to make it difficult for Democratic voters to actually vote, Ohio should be pointed to as an example of how the GOP through ALEC has been able to advance a nationwide conservative agenda.
Unfortunately, Wisconsin also has a similar “Trifecta” pursuing the same agenda.