During the campaign, John Kasich attempted to make a serious play for the votes in Ted Strickland’s base of Southeastern Ohio, visiting the area number of times hammering Governor Strickland on the issue of jobs in the community:

"I’ll get a team of job creators focused on this area – people down here have been promised and misled for 50 years . . .  I will focus on this area like a laser beam when I’m governor." –John Kasich [Source: WSAZ (Oct. 22, 2010)]

Voters still backed Strickland in the region… albeit in a much smaller margin than the Strickland campaign wanted or needed.

In November, voters in the 89th District handily elected Scioto County Coroner Dr. Terry Johnson (R) to the open seat race to replace term-limited State Representative Todd Book (D) 58% to 40% (with a Green Party candidate getting less than 2%).  Part of that result was fueled by the national Republican wave.  Another significant factor was that there was a bitter Democratic primary fight in which businessman Ron Hadsell upset party favored Scioto County Commissioner Mike Crabtree.  Crabtree wound up disowned by the Scioto County Democratic Party when Crabtree recorded an ad endorsing Johnson over Hadsell.

As a result of the prominence of the Crabtree name in Scioto County, a high number of Democrats voted for Terry Johnson, making him the first Republican to represent the region in the Ohio House in sixty-five years.  (The longest occupant of the seat was powerful Democratic House Speaker Vern Riffe, whom after theRiffe Center in Columbus is named.)

Johnson ran on a tradition conservative campaign platform saying on jobs:

  • “I solemnly pledge to do everything I can to get government out of your pocket! I want you to pay less in taxes. I want our government to spend less, to be leaner and more essential, and to stop wasting your hard earned money!”
  • “What am I in favor of? Smaller government—it must be leaner and cleaner! I want less spending, lower taxes, and balanced budgets. How’s that for starters?”

State Representative Terry Johnson got his wish.  Governor Kasich’s “Jobs Budget” calls for the closure of the Department of Youth Services facility—the one located in Johnson’s district.

According to the Portsmouth Daily Times, the facility in Johnson’s district employees 333 folks in an area with chronically high unemployment and unbelievable rural poverty.  (In January 2011, Scioto County, the largest portion of Johnson’s district, had an unemployment rate of 13.2%.)

“The announcement of this closure comes as a complete shock to me,” Johnson said. “We in southern Ohio cannot afford to lose a single job, much less 333 of them. Whether it is a government job or a private sector job, we need to keep them all.”

“I anticipated a fight over privatization, which I am opposed to,” Johnson said. “I did not expect a closure — I was certainly not consulted in the making of this decision, and I will fight hard to reverse it.”

Johnson has already announced that he will oppose SB 5.  Now, as we predicted roughly a week after the election, he will be forced to vote against Kasich’s state budget.  So Johnson will be marginalized as one of the nine votes Republicans can afford to lose in his party.\

The problem for Johnson is that his opposition will be meaningless if the facility still closes.  Voters won’t care that Johnson voted against the budget if he was powerless to prevent a Governor of his own party from harming the region.  His opposition to SB 5 will only mitigate the political damage it has caused there, where the bill is widely opposed.  It’s almost as if Kasich had already concluded that absent the GOP wave, there was virtually no chance that Terry Johnson would stay in the House, so there’s no point in politically protecting him.  (The facility is also, I believe, in the district of Senate President Terry Niehaus… who actually lives in the opposite end of the district and would be under no risk of losing re-election even if he weren’t already term limited.)

In the end, we have a freshman GOP member of the House who is stunned that calls for government spending less could result in the loss of hundreds of good paying, middle class jobs in his district.  A “Jobs Budget” that cuts hundreds of jobs in an area the Governor promised he would “focus like a laser beam” to help fight its chronic unemployment and poverty that has lead to prescription drug abuse epidemic that in known throughout the nation.

So what does Governor Kasich have to say to those voters in Southeastern Ohio whom he promised he’d “focus like a laser beam” to combat unemployment there?

Kasich Lied

Kasich’s budget director denied in press conferences last week that Kasich’s “Jobs” Budget would lead to mass layoffs.  But we’ve already seen news stories that show 99 folks in the Taxation Department have already been told they’re going to be laid off.  Now hundreds in Southeastern Ohio.  This doesn’t count as a mass layoff?

For a “Jobs Budget,” this budget “doesn’t get the jobs done.”

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  • Hey, he “focussed like a laser beam” on jobs. He never said it wouldn’t be a destructive laser beam!!!

  • Anonymous

    I live in Southeastern Ohio in the state’s poorest county ( Lawrence ). We’re hanging on by our fingernails here and can’t afford to lose any jobs. I’ll be doing my best to educate voters here in 2012. Voters thought “balancing the budget”, “cutting spending” and “smaller government” were good things. It’s always the powerless that get screwed 🙁

  • Anonymous

    The Death Star Theory of Economic Development.

  • To Dr. Johnson,

    There is an option for you. Since the Ohio GOP and Kasich basically has cut you loose politically, come join the Dems. It’s your one and only chance of being re-elected.

  • Annekarima

    How does all the layoffs that do not create jobs help put money in Kasich’s coffers to pay for all he wants to pay for? The Ponzi scheme does not keep going without money coming in to it. I am stupid. I do not get it.

  • Wiggin

    Funny how it has escaped the attention of all the Tea Bag, anti-government (at least anti-Democrat run government) that government jobs are jobs and government workers are taxpaying members of the economy.

    It was never about Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, it was about Bonuses, Bonuses, Bonuses.

  • buckeyekelly

    Another SE Ohio House district that had no reason to turn red and it’s coming to bite us, their residents, and eventually the representatives voted in their asses. At some point a “coordinated campaign” will be both coordinated and a campaign, right?

  • Really?? Surprised…his campaign platform is what all Americans would like to see happen. The reality is they don’t have the ability to carry through on those promises. People need to open their eyes and ask their candidates “How do you intend to implement your promises?” The GOP is out for big business and “me”, they do not care about what happens to the middle class or the poor and they deceptively win those votes by campaigning on false promises and social issues which should be non-issues if we want less government. To the GOP less government means less regulation for corporations- like getting rid of EPA, etc…they don’t really mean less government in any other way!!

  • Really?? Surprised…his campaign platform is what all Americans would like to see happen. The reality is they don’t have the ability to carry through on those promises. People need to open their eyes and ask their candidates “How do you intend to implement your promises?” The GOP is out for big business and “me”, they do not care about what happens to the middle class or the poor and they deceptively win those votes by campaigning on false promises and social issues which should be non-issues if we want less government. To the GOP less government means less regulation for corporations- like getting rid of EPA, etc…they don’t really mean less government in any other way!!

  • You are right, it will eventually backfire, the same as the housing bubble. The rich are not quite smart enough to figure that out yet. I have a bad feeling we will end up like egypt, not being able to afford bread before average Americans will get their a***s to the polls!!!

  • Anonymous

    Well, by closing it, Kasich doesn’t have to spend the money to operate it. That keeps the money to spend elsewhere or goes to paying down the supposed deficit.

  • Annekarima

    Modern, I get that by closing it, the money stays, but people who lost jobs are no more paying taxes – anywhere – unless they are fortunate to find jobs in this economy. And that Kasich has not shown to create yet. Unless he has a magic formula, like a wizard, that money sitting there is not going to grow much either. Oh wait, they do tax unemployment these days and all that money one takes out of their retirement savings until that is gone if one is not of a certain age…and the list goes on….Ok I get it now.

  • Why surprised?

    This is a repost of a comment I posted on another article but it was so appropriate here I thought I might as well copy and paste…

    It has always confounded me that certain members of the conservative party fail to see that cutting spending equals cutting jobs. When Kasich ran, he ran on 2 things: he was going to cut spending and increase jobs in Ohio (all while lowering taxes). That right there meant he was a liar from the start. You CANNOT do both. He used rhetoric and the sad truth the most voters do not care to actually inform themselves on policy and the history of their party’s candidate to win an election, and now he is giving us all the finger. We, the American people, need to get our heads out of our butts and become informed citizens. We need to vote for what is best for ourselves, not just because we were raised to be a certain party. We also need to educate ourselves on the actual consequences of policy decisions. Finally, we need to realize that we can’t get something for nothing. If we want safe cities, fire departments that actually have enough firefighters to safely put out fires, and a world class education system, we have to pay for it. Taxes are lower now than they’ve been since the 50’s (especially for the super rich) and we are wondering why we are having financial issues. We need to suck it up and pay taxes like the rest of the industrialized world. It’s not pretty, it’s not fun, but it is what it takes to run a society. The policies that Kasich is promoting will do nothing but run us further into the hole while helping the super rich get richer. While I truly believe that he is a greedy and amoral person, I also have to think we have ourselves to blame. We, as a people, need to remember how to think for ourselves and become informed members of the society we all live in.

  • irishgal

    I agree with your post completely – When intelligent (supposedly) people told me they were going to vote for Kasich because “he’ll create jobs” (with no other details on how he would make this happen) I honestly did not know what to say. We have an incredibly uninformed citizenry and we are definitely paying the price for it across the country and in Ohio. I don’t know any other time in my life when I’ve felt so completely demoralized.

  • CDR Jan

    Unfortunately, the GOP DOES care about what happens with the middle class and the poor. King John and his Wall Street brahmin buds want to kill the middle class and turn us all into minimum-wage slaves. Very little for us, everything for them.

  • Guest

    Get it, now people. People wanted less government and here it comes…100% of nothing covered with smoke and mirrors. Isn’t that better now? NO, then don’t vote for R’s. Less spending means less jobs means more layoffs means less spending means less jobs. Don’t understand why this is ok with rich people. The middle is a buffer and is also someplace where you can fall and not fall all the way to the bottom and it gives the working poor someplace to aspire to. Now, not so much. People want to hit the lotto. I feel bad for people with children. Your children may actually do worse than you.
    Sigh?!

  • Anonymous

    What did this idiot think when Kasich said “he would cut spending”. That only means layoffs for everyone except the well connected friends of Kasich who got a big pay raise.

  • Delco

    I remember speaking to a dem from Circleville last October who shared with me her entire family would not be voting for Strickland again because they work in the prisons and Strickland was “too into rehabilitation” of prisoners. I wonder how she feels now about her family members losing their jobs and the release of those “horrible” prisoners not worthy of rehabilitation.

  • Wahoog

    Yeah, thanks to Obama. Tax laws force businesses to move to non-union states. Those states are flourishing.
    I can’t wait to see how the UAW unions deal with Ford. I hope Ford closes its plants and moves them to Brazil – all those poor union workers – and their kids.

  • Why would you hope Ford closes its plants. Do you want those people to be out of work?

  • Why would you hope Ford closes its plants. Do you want those people to be out of work?

  • Anonymous

    Huh? I’m assuming this is satire.

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