As we enter a weekend before the Governor’s State of the State next Tuesday, I can’t help but wonder what’s in store that is going to give the House Republicans something they can run on for re-election this November.  I mean, let’s recap what the last litany  of policy proposals Kasich had in his last State of the State added to the Ohio House Republican’s re-election effort:

  • A “Jobs Budget” that since it’s been enacted has seen a net loss of jobs in Ohio.
  • A privatized JobsOhio program that is not much beyond the same planning/formation it was a year earlier . . . (moving at the speed of business?)
  • A tax credit created for American Greetings that then responded with an 18% raise for its CEO and thirty Ohioans laid off.
  • Scrapping of the state’s school funding model with no viable replacement and chances are a replacement model can’t be in place until the 2013-2014 school year at the earliest.
  • Billions in less funding for local schools and local governments that put pressure on property taxes to rise.
  • A tax cut for some of the most wealthiest Ohioans (or at least, their heirs come June 30, 2013).
  • Months wasted pursuing doomed anti-labor legislation that was rejected by 60% of the Ohio electorate.
  • A legislature that seem more focused on regulated abortion out of existence than setting policies to create job growth.
  • The creation of a regulatory reform agency, CSI, that a year later boasts about making it easier for businesses to buy liquor in bulk and doing something for the rental bouncy house industry but has done little else than serve as political window dressing so the Administration can say they are doing something about regulations that were already reformed and substantially modified under Governor Strickland.
  • Enacting changes to Ohio’s election laws that were blasted across the State as intending to benefit solely Republican candidates and that is facing a referendum this fall that has already lead to Secretary of State Husted to openly call for the bill (which contained mostly his own policy proposals) to be repealed and then replaced sometime after the 2012 election.
  • Voting in lockstep with Capt. 39% Approval Rating Kasich.
  • Enacting a mandate for merit pay for teachers… with no real workable guidance on what should be considered in determining a teacher’s merit

Yes, I know the Republican House Caucus has a 10:1 cash-on-hand advantage as well as gerrymandered districts right now,  and the Democrats would need to pick up ten seats to take over the chamber. 

But look at that list!  For the first time I can remember, the Ohio House Democratic caucus has managed to field a challenger against every Republican incumbent.  Also, their fundraising last year was hurt by the financial needs of the We Are Ohio campaign, and so they will likely improve quickly, especially if we get involved.

Sherrod Brown is kicking Josh Mandel’s tail.  Obama’s fortunes are improving… and well, LOOK AT THAT LIST!

Nobody asked me to write this post.  I was literally just sitting here remembering the last State of the State and how those policies have played out.  I’ve noticed that all the Ohio House Republicans want to see to talk about is JobsOhio and the repeal of the estate tax.

I mean take at look at what the House Republicans are calling their legislative priorities this year: the top two are school funding and JobsOhio… two things that have to be addressed because they failed to address them at all last year!

The House Republicans repealed the school funding formula as Kasich’s budget demanded, and just now are starting the long process to try to come up with an entirely new formula, which likely again won’t be in place at all until the next General Assembly is in office.   This is like my kid knocking over a glass at dinner and then waiting the next morning to clean it up and expecting me to applaud him for being responsible (in my house you clean it up when you mess it up, but not in Batchelder’s House on Capitol Square.)

Compare that to the agenda of the House Democrats for this year.

Look, if you were  upset over Senate Bill 5 and want to channel your activism last year into something productive this year, let me suggest you consider donating money and time to the House Democratic Caucus.

In 2010, there were five races in which the Republican candidate barely won with 51% or less of the vote: Mike Duffey, Lynn Slaby, Bill Hayes, Al Landis, and Casey Kozleski.  That’s half of what the Democrats need to pick up right there, just from Republicans (some of whom were elected with less than 50% of the vote) who barely squeaked by the most favorable year for Republicans in Ohio.  Also, keep in mind that these races normally only attract somewhere in the neighborhood of 30k-45k votes, so a couple hundred votes can decide the race.  We’ve taken the House under Republican maps before, as recently as 2008. 

I’m not yet predicting that Democrats will take back the Ohio House of Representatives.  But I am saying it’s entirely possible if people like you get to know your local Statehouse candidate and you put your time and donate what you can afford for the cause.  We beat back their bills, now let’s beat them out of office.

What do you say?