Kasich Hobnobs in Georgia with Donors and GOP Extremists

COLUMBUS — The Ohio Democratic Party and Georgia Democratic Party today released the following joint statement on Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s visit to the Peach State:

“On the very day Cleveland is working hard to address serious issues, Ohio’s sitting governor is 700 miles away, wining and dining with Republican big-wigs and donors,” said Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper. “It’s becoming clear that Kasich’s number-one priority is serving his presidential ambitions, not working for the people of Ohio.”

“John Kasich’s record in Ohio reflects the same failures as those of Georgia Governor Nathan Deal — placing huge burdens on cities and local governments by slashing state funding, devastating cuts to public schools, and doling out tax cuts to top earners while middle-class families suffer,” said Georgia Democratic Party Chairman DuBose Porter. “We’ve seen what Kasich has done to Ohio, and the damage done by our own governor here at home. Georgians need to send a Democrat to the White House — we need a president who has our backs.”

Kasich is eyeing a 2016 presidential run, but his anemic national poll numbers mean he is unlikely to qualify for the RNC’s first debate — which will be held in August in Cleveland. According to one Republican operative, “It would just be flat-out embarrassing if he didn’t meet the top 10 threshold in his home state.”

Attendees at Kasich’s Sandy Springs event included GOP strategist Ralph Reed, former candidate for governor Karen Handel and Secretary of State Brian Kemp.

“Kasich wants people to believe he is some kind of moderate,” Pepper said. “Birds of a feather flock together, and today’s event shows Kasich’s flock represents a deeply divisive agenda.”


HEADLINE: “Ralph Reed’s Group Compares Obama Policies to Nazi Germany.” [Mother Jones, 9/25/12]

Ralph Reed’s Faith And Freedom Coalition Mailed out “Voter Registration Confirmation Survey[s]” That Compared President Obama’s Policies To Nazi Germany And Said President Obama Has “Communist Beliefs.” “A mailer blasted out by the Faith and Freedom Coalition, a nonprofit group spending millions of dollars to mobilize evangelical voters this November to help Mitt Romney’s campaign, compares President Barack Obama’s policies to the threat posed by Nazi Germany and Japan during World War II. It also says that Obama has ‘Communist beliefs.’ A copy of this so-called ‘Voter Registration Confirmation Survey’ was obtained by Mother Jones after it was sent to the home of a registered Republican voter. The Faith and Freedom Coalition is the brainchild of Ralph Reed, the former head of the Christian Coalition who was once hailed as ‘the right hand of God’ and who is now tasked with getting out the evangelical vote for Romney.” [Mother Jones, 9/25/12]

HEADLINE: Ralph Reed: “Those Who Oppose Same-Sex Marriage Can Draw From Lessons From Fight Against Slavery.” [Yahoo News, 6/21/14]

Ralph Reed Gave A Speech Suggesting That The Dred Scott SCOTUS Decision Held A Lesson For Conservative Activists That Are Concerned With Judicial Overreach. “Speaking to about 40 attendees at an afternoon breakout session during the organization’s annual ‘Road to Majority’ conference in Washington, D.C. on Friday, Reed gave a speech in which he suggested the 1857 Dred Scott Supreme Court decision —which ruled that African American slaves remained the property of their owners even if they traveled to or resided in free states — held a lesson for contemporary conservative activists concerned about what they see as judicial overreach on the issue of gay marriage. Before the abolitionists triumphed, Reed reminded, it appeared for many years that the courts would squash the hopes of human rights reformers. ‘The battle looked like it was lost, but it really wasn’t,’ Reed said of the immediate aftermath of the Dred Scott decision, which went on to embolden abolitionist activists. ‘And that’s kind of like where we are right now. Anybody heard lately that we’re losing the marriage issue? Anybody heard that argument? You notice some similarities? I’m not comparing slavery to same-sex marriage, OK? I’m just pointing out that when you have these fights, what’s interesting is that if you look at same-sex marriage, it’s now legal in 17 states.’” [Yahoo News, 6/21/14]


HEADLINE: “BREAKING: Anti-Choice Komen VP Karen Handel Resigns, Admits Role In Planned Parenthood Decision.”  [Think Progress, 2/7/12]

Karen Handel, Susan G. Komen For The Cure’s Senior Vice President Of Public Policy, Resigned In Protest Of The Organization’s Decision To Consider Reinstating Funding For Cancer Screenings At Planned Parenthood Health Centers. “Today, Karen Handel, Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s controversial Senior Vice President of Public Policy, resigned in protest of the organization’s decision to consider reinstating funding for cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood health centers. Handel has been at the center of the firestorm surrounding the organization’s unpopular decision to sever ties with Planned Parenthood — a decision that was reversed just a few days later following a massive backlash from supporters and its own employees.In her resignation letter, Handel openly acknowledges her integral role in formulating the policy designed to cut off Planned Parenthood funding. Just a few days ago, Komen founder and president Nancy Brinker claimed, ‘Let me just tell you for the record that Karen did not have anything to do with this decision.’” [Think Progress, 2/7/12]


Karen Handel Drove The Susan G. Komen For The Cure’s Creation Of A Rule That Would Cut Funding To Planned Parenthood. “But three sources with direct knowledge of the Komen decision-making process told me that the rule was adopted in order to create an excuse to cut off Planned Parenthood. (Komen gives out grants to roughly 2,000 organizations, and the new ‘no investigations’ rule applies to only one so far.) The decision to create a rule that would cut funding to Planned Parenthood, according to these sources, was driven by the organization’s new senior vice president for public policy, Karen Handel, a former gubernatorial candidate from Georgia who is staunchly anti-abortion and who has said that since she is ‘pro-life, I do not support the mission of Planned Parenthood.’ (The Komen grants to Planned Parenthood did not pay for abortion or contraception services, only cancer detection, according to all parties involved.) I’ve tried to reach Handel for comment, and will update this post if I speak with her.” [The Atlantic, 2/2/12]



Ohio Democratic Party Statement on Cleveland’s Department of Justice Agreement

COLUMBUS — ​The Ohio Democratic Party today released the following statement from Chairman David Pepper on the City of Cleveland reaching an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice to address reforms to the city’s police department:

“Today’s announcement is an important step forward in building trust, securing justice and improving safety for all Clevelanders,” said Pepper. “By working together, Mayor Frank Jackson, U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach, as well as law enforcement officials and community leaders, have established a strong framework to move forward with reforms and a community policing model that will deliver real results for the people of Cleveland. This is by no means the end of the conversation and doesn’t take away the hurt felt by many in the community. And this isn’t an issue just for Cleveland or Ohio. Criminal justice reform is a nationwide issue that demands action like Cleveland is taking today.”

​Pepper also praised Party Engagement Chair and former state Sen. Nina Turner for her ongoing efforts to push for further statewide criminal justice reforms.

“Ohio Democrats hear and understand our communities who want to see real change in our criminal justice system,” said Pepper. “Trust, transparency and justice are essential ingredients for this to happen, and we stand ready to work with leaders across the spectrum to make meaningful progress.”


In Surprise to No One, Portman Votes to Outsource Jobs

COLUMBUS – Just as he’s always done, Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman voted to outsource Ohio jobs once again today as the Senate passed Fast-Track legislation that sets the stage for the massive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.

“Whether it’s NAFTA, CAFTA, or this massive new Pacific agreement, Washington special interests can always count on Rob Portman to fall in line behind their outsourcing agenda,” said Ohio Democratic Party spokeswoman Jennifer Donohue. “The difference this time is that Ohio voters are watching, and come November 2016 Rob Portman will finally have to answer to more than just the special interests that fund his campaigns.”

Portman had sought political cover under a failed amendment to address Chinese currency manipulation. But when his tough-on-China act – and his amendment – fell flat, Portman promptly fell in line and voted to outsource Ohio jobs anyway, just like he’s always done.

With TPP on the way, what can Ohio workers expect? Here’s a look back at what Portman’s outsourcing agenda has meant for Ohio jobs:


  • Ohio has endured a net loss of more than 323,000 manufacturing jobs – one out of every three – since the 1994 NAFTA and the World Trade Organization agreements took effect. [Public Citizen, Accessed 4/24/15]
  • The U.S. trade deficit in the top Ohio exports to NAFTA countries rose 476 percent in the last 17 years. [Public Citizen, Accessed 4/24/15]


  • The U.S. trade deficit in the top Ohio exports to Korea rose 22 percent after passage of the U.S. Korean free trade agreement. [Public Citizen, Accessed 4/24/15]


  • Ohio has a $10 million agricultural trade deficit with NAFTA partner countries, but a $1.8 billion agricultural trade surplus with the rest of the world. [Public Citizen, Accessed 4/24/15]
  • U.S. exports in two of Ohio’s top agricultural products – pork and corn – fell to Korea after passage of the Korean free trade agreement. [Public Citizen, Accessed 4/24/15]
  • More than 12,000 Ohio small-scale farms, or 17 percent, disappeared in the first 21 years after NAFTA’s passage. [Public Citizen, Accessed 4/24/15]



Ohio Democratic Party Statement on Kasich’s Decision to Rescind Executive Orders

COLUMBUS — The Ohio Democratic Party today released the following statement from Chairman David Pepper on Gov. John Kasich’s decision to rescind executive orders, signed by former Gov. Ted Strickland in 2007 and 2008, making independent home health-care and child-care workers eligible for collective bargaining rights:

“It’s a sad day when those who care for our children, our seniors and Ohioans with disabilities — and who simply want to be able to make ends meet while providing that invaluable service — become the target of a cynical political attack,” Pepper said.

“Unfortunately, this is yet another example where Ohio workers and families are used as pawns in the world of presidential politics. They should not have to pay the price for John Kasich’s need to compete with the likes of Scott Walker and Bobby Jindal.”


Portman Lacks Credibility on China as Fast-Track Advances

COLUMBUS – Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman’s credibility crisis continues after voting once again today to advance Fast-Track legislation that sets the stage for the job-killing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The increasingly vulnerable Portman is eager to distract from his support for the massive Pacific trade deal by attaching himself to efforts to fight China’s currency abuses. But a quick look at Portman’s record shows the trade deficit with China ballooned under Portman’s watch as chief trade negotiator. And Portman’s repeated votes to advance Fast-Track – even without any changes on China – reveal his true priority is passing a massive Pacific trade deal at all costs.

“Rob Portman may be talking about China, but he’s voting to advance the largest outsourcing agreement since he helped push NAFTA through – and that’s what this debate is really about,” said Ohio Democratic Party spokeswoman Jennifer Donohue. “Portman’s newfound ‘tough on China’ act, isn’t just too little to undo the harm of his massive outsourcing agreement –  it’s too late by a decade. Portman had every opportunity to stand up to China when he was the Bush Administration’s chief trade architect, but instead he stood with Washington special interests and Ohio lost 100,000 jobs.”

Portman voted to advance Fast-Track in the Finance Committee even after the China currency amendment failed. In addition, Portman voted to limit further debate of Fast-Track on the Senate floor today – even though the China currency amendment has yet to receive a vote.

The Trade Deficit with China Ballooned under Portman Costing Ohio 100,000 Jobs

  • While Portman was U.S. Trade Representative from 2005-2006, the trade deficit with China soared up $228 billion, an increase of more than 20 percent. [PolitiFact, 9/9/10]
  • Yet Portman failed to crack down on China’s unfair trade practices, even drawing criticism for his inaction from the libertarian Cato Institute. [Cincinnati Enquirer, 6/22/12]
  • And as a result, Ohio workers lost jobs: A 2014 study showed that Ohio had lost more than 100,000 jobs due to the trade deficit with China – 77,000 in manufacturing alone. [Cleveland Plain Dealer, 12/11/14; Economic Policy Institute, 12/11/14]


Granholm to Headline Ohio Democratic Party 2015 State Dinner

COLUMBUS — Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm will be the keynote speaker at the Ohio Democratic Party’s 2015 State Dinner on Saturday, June 27, at 6 p.m. at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

“Governor Granholm inspired the country with her fiery 2012 Democratic National Convention speech, so we’re thrilled to welcome her to Ohio to do the same as we prepare for 2016,” said Ohio Democratic Party Chair David Pepper.

“The Governor’s electrifying speech in 2012 highlighted the fact that the auto recovery didn’t just save Michigan jobs — it saved more than 150,000 good-paying, family-sustaining jobs right here in Ohio,” said Ohio Democratic Party spokeswoman Jennifer Donohoe. “Neither Rob Portman nor John Kasich fought to save those jobs. In fact, they opposed the auto rescue, and worse, tried to make excuses for Mitt Romney, who wanted to let the industry go bankrupt and lose millions of American jobs. Democrats are fighting for economic opportunity for all Ohioans and good jobs for the long term, and Governor Granholm will make that message crystal clear.”

As an adjunct faculty member at UC Berkeley, Granholm teaches courses in law and public policy. She is also a senior research fellow at the Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute and the Director of the American Jobs Project, a national research project focused on developing state-specific policy and technology roadmaps to create jobs in advanced energy economic sectors. She served as Michigan’s 47th governor from 2003 to 2011 and as Michigan’s attorney general from 1998-2002. After leaving office, she hosted Current TV’s political news analysis show “The War Room with Jennifer Granholm” and co-authored with her husband, Dan Mulhern, “A Governor’s Story: The Fight for Jobs and America’s Economic Future.” She is co-chair of Priorities USA Action, a super PAC that is supporting Hillary Clinton for President in 2016.

Granholm is one of the nation’s leading authorities on clean energy policy. During her tenure, she pioneered clean energy policies, working with business, labor, Republicans and Democrats, to create new economic opportunities in Michigan. Her leadership attracted to Michigan more than 89,000 clean energy jobs and $9.4 billion in investments in that sector.

Under her leadership, Michigan had the second-highest rate of child health care coverage in the nation. While serving as governor, Michigan was repeatedly named one of the top three states in the nation for business locations or expansions and was twice recognized by The Pew Center on the States as one of the best-managed states in the nation.


Members of the news media can request credentials for the state dinner by emailing Kirstin Alvanitakis at kirstin@ohiodems.org.

Members of the general public can purchase tickets by clicking here.


ICYMI: Portman’s Dark Money Friends Brag Over Outsourcing Record

COLUMBUS – Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman is so vulnerable that Karl Rove is pumping dark money into Ohio for the second time in less than a week to prop up Portman.

Rob Portman and his Washington backers are so out of touch with everyday Ohioans, they’re actually bragging that Portman is leading the way to Fast-Track jobs right out of Ohio,” said Ohio Democratic Party Spokeswoman Jennifer Donohue. “Too bad for Portman the only support he’ll get from his outsourcing agenda is from the special interests that fund his campaigns.”

According to reports, the Rove-backed radio ads boast that Portman is “helping to lead the way” in getting things done in Washington and point to Portman’s recent vote to advance Fast-Track legislation — the same Fast-Track legislation that sets the stage for the secret Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to sail through Congress with no amendments to protect Ohio jobs.

Fast-Track is simply the latest vote in a long record outsourcing Ohio jobs that has left Portman vulnerable in 2016.

  • The U.S. Business Industry Council called Portman a “dedicated outsourcer.” [CQ Today, 3/17/05]

  • Portman voted for and has been a consistently staunch supporter of NAFTA, which according to a 2011 study, has cost Ohio the fourth-highest percentage of its total state employment among all states and the District of Columbia. [Vote 575, 11/17/93; Cleveland Plain Dealer, 5/3/11; U.S. Trade Representative Press Release, March 2006]. AND Portman quarterbacked CAFTA for President George W. Bush. [CNN, 7/28/05]

  • Portman voted twice to support tax breaks for corporations that ship Ohio jobs overseas. [Vote 181, 7/19/12; Vote 249, 7/30/14]


Portman Faces Credibility Crisis As Fast-Track Amendments Begin

COLUMBUS – Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman faces a credibility crisis as debate over the so-called “Fast-Track” bill begins today with an amendment to bolster retraining programs for workers displaced by trade.

The Senate is expected to vote today on an amendment to bolster Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), a program that helps Ohio workers whose jobs are displaced by trade agreements… trade agreements like NAFTA, which Portman supports, and the job-killing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which Portman voted to Fast-Track.

But not only has Portman helped to outsource Ohio jobs, he’s voted repeatedly to slash the retraining programs Ohio workers depend on – making his election-cycle conversion hard to believe.

Rob Portman has made a career out of siding with Washington special interests to send Ohio jobs overseas, but now that he’s worried about losing his own job, Portman is hiding behind the same retraining programs he’s voted to slash time and time again,” said Ohio Democratic Party spokeswoman Jennifer Donohue. “All the amendments in the world can’t change the fact that Portman will stand with the Washington special interests that fund his campaigns and vote to Fast-Track jobs right out of Ohio with TPP, just like he did with NAFTA.

Rob Portman’s Real Record on TAA

  • In March 2011, Portman voted for a bill that would have cut job training funding in Ohio by nearly $60 million, cutting off job training for nearly 80,000 Ohio workers, including more than 6,000 whose jobs had been displaced. [Vote 36, 3/9/11; Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 3/1/11]

  • In September 2011, Portman voted to cut Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) benefits for workers hurt by trade. [Vote 143, 9/21/11]

  • In September 2011, Portman voted to hold support for Ohio workers hostage to the very trade agreements that cost them jobs in the first place by voting to delay Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) until pending trade agreements passed. [Vote 142, 9/21/11]

  • Portman voted twice in 2011, September and October, to end Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for certain companies altogether. [Vote 145, 9/21/11; Vote 168, 10/18/11]

  • In 2003, Portman voted against an amendment to protect health insurance benefits for workers displaced by foreign trade. [Vote 291, 6/19/03; Washington Post, 6/22/03]


ICYMI: Rove Dark Money Group Launches Pro-Portman Ad Blitz As Ohio’s GOP Senator Struggles To Defend Record On Trade

COLUMBUS – Just as Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman is struggling to defend his dismal record on trade, fellow Bush administration crony Karl Rove swooped in this week with a dark money super PAC ad that strains belief in depicting Portman as a defender of Medicare, despite vote after vote to end Medicare as we know it.

For those who are keeping track, Rove’s pro-Portman ad blitz comes nearly 18 months before the election — and in the same week Portman voted twice to move forward with debate of fast-track legislation that paves the way for the job-killing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Here are the facts on Portman’s record on Medicare:

·         Portman voted to turn Medicare into a voucher program THREE TIMES

o   Portman has voted for the extreme Ryan budget the Wall Street Journal said would “essentially end Medicare” every single time it has come up for a vote – in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

·         Portman voted to “severely slash” Medicare and Social Security

o   In 2011, Portman voted for the extreme “Cut, Cap & Balance” plan opposed by AARP and The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.

o    According to The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare: “These proposals would require draconian spending cuts of such a magnitude as to force policymakers to severely slash Medicare, Medicaid, and many other programs.”

[National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, 7/18/11]

o    AARP said the plan put Social Security and Medicare “at risk for arbitrary reductions.”

[AARP Letter, 7/21/11]


Ohio House Republicans’ Medicaid Plan Creates Bureaucratic Nightmare, While Cancelling Affordable Health Care For Thousands

COLUMBUS – A nonpartisan research group sounded the alarm this week about the Ohio House Republicans’ budget plan, which calls for changes to the state’s Medicaid expansion program that would create a vast new bureaucracy, place burdensome mandates on participants and enable cancellation of coverage for the mentally ill, domestic violence victims and the medically frail.

“George Orwell himself would be proud of the House GOP’s ‘Healthy Ohio’ plan,” said Ohio Democratic Party Executive Director Greg Beswick. “For a party that claims to hate government waste and bureaucracy, Republicans are proving themselves to be quite inventive in creating more paperwork and mandates for Ohio’s working families that need access to affordable health care. The inevitable result will be thousands of families kicked off their coverage and forced into overcrowded emergency rooms, while insurance rates go up for all of us.”

The Center for Community Solutions released their report on the Ohio House Republicans’ Medicaid plan this week and detailed how “Healthy Ohio” would require children to open health savings accounts, force many participants to drop coverage and seek care in “costly hospital emergency room settings” and increase government spending on “administratively burdensome” requirements. In addition, “Healthy Ohio” provides no exceptions for participants who suffer from natural disasters or domestic violence, the medically frail or mentally ill.


Paid for and authorized by the Ohio Democratic Party, not authorized by any federal candidate or campaign committee. David Pepper, Chairman, 340 East Fulton St, Columbus, Ohio 43215.