Butler and Warren Counties is about as deep red of a county with a significant population that you’re going to find in Ohio. The default GOP political map for any statewide campaign is to run up the score to offset the Democratic advantages in Cleveland and Youngstown. These are the counties that Ken Blackwell still managed to carry despite getting only 36% statewide.
These counties are not just controlled by Republicans, the GOP holds every virtually partisan office to the point that many Democrats are technically registered Republicans because the GOP primary is just about the only contested race voters will see (although there is new blood in the county Democratic parties who are working incredibly hard to turn this around.)
You couldn’t find local governments more appeasing to businesses.
And no area in this region is see as many massive layoff notices come out than Speaker John Boehner’s home county of Butler County. According to the Middletown Journal:
Butler County has lost nearly 1,300 jobs in the first six months of this year and about 3,500 jobs since 2009, according to county and state data.
No county in the region — including Montgomery, Preble, Warren, Clermont or Hamilton — has suffered more mass layoffs since July 2010 than Butler County, according to Workforce One of Butler County. And new job creation, so far this year, has failed to keep pace.
Liz Claiborne officials dealt another blow this week when they announced they would be closing their West Chester Twp. distribution center, which puts about 400 jobs at risk of leaving the county. They could join West Chester’s BAE Systems, which will lay off 125 employees in July, and FedEx, which laid off 222 workers, and MISA Metals in Middletown, which laid off 79 workers in May.
In fact, there have been thirty-three WARN notices of massive layoffs filed with the State of Ohio this year since Governor Kasich took office. Four of those have been for Butler County alone (12%.) Franklin County has six and Hamilton County has had four.
Butler County has had as many massive layoff (WARN) notices as Cuyahoga County has. Remember how during the campaign Kasich used to say that the Ohio Department of Development only contacted businesses after they had announced that they were thinking about closing a location or moving? Guess what:
But Ohio Department of Development spokeswoman Katie Sabatino said, “It’s important to note that Liz Claiborne is not a done deal.”
“We’re actively in dialogue with them to see what can be done,” Sabatino said. “Even though that’s a potential situation, that has not come to fruition yet.”
Sabatino said she cannot comment on the conversations between the state and Liz Claiborne officials, “but I do know we are reaching out to them.”
(Isn’t acknowledging that you’re having conversations with another a party a comment on them?) Anyways, note the verb tense here: “we are reaching out to them.” Not we’ve been in conversations with them before this announcement. Not we’ve had ongoing conversations with them for some time, and are trying to work out a deal. Instead, it’s “we are reaching out to them.” Implicit in that statement is that there’s not yet been any returned communications from the company from our outreach. In other words, we’re just now getting on it.
But fear not, Butler County, Speaker John Boehner’s spokeswoman has already identified who is responsible if Governor Kasich can’t keep Liz Claiborne in West Chester:
“American job creators are being held back by the policies coming out of Washington,” [Boehner spokeswoman Brittany] Bramell said. “As Congressman Boehner discussed in Middletown, House Republicans’ plan for America’s job creators will help companies like Liz Claiborne by removing government barriers to growth and boosting confidence in our economy.”
So it’s John Boehner’s fault because he’s an ineffective Speaker who can’t get his party’s agenda enacted? Seriously, isn’t this precisely the kind of thing they cover what a spokesperson should NOT say in the first day of Communications 101 course?
In Butler County, the two Johns aren’t getting the jobs done. Could that impact the GOP’s turnout hopes in the 2012 elections? It depends if the voters there blame the mass layoffs entirely on President Obama or on the Republicans (Boehner, Kasich) who they just elected on a promise of “jobs.”