House Candidates across Ohio Standing Up, Fighting Back against GOP Overreach

COLUMBUS – Energized by legislative Republicans’ overreaching partisan priorities, Democrats in every corner of Ohio have filed their candidate petitions today to run for State Representative.  In addition to having more than 10 educators, Democrats are fielding numerous female candidates, veterans, local elected officials and several former state lawmakers.

“No Republican incumbent will go unchallenged in 2012 because Ohioans from across the state are fired up and ready to fight back against an overreaching partisan agenda that hurts middle class families,” said House Democratic Caucus Campaign Co-Chair, State Rep. Debbie Phillips.  “The strength of our candidates, along with the depth and breadth of their experience creates a recipe for success in 2012.”

Massive state budget cuts to schools throughout Ohio have prompted a significant number of teachers to run for office.  More than 10 teachers will be running for state house seats, including Maureen Reedy, the 2002 Ohio Teacher of the Year.  Reedy will be running in an open district (HD 24) in Franklin County.

“State budget cuts and the unfair attacks in SB 5 have put educators and our children’s education directly in the crosshairs of the Republican’s anti-middle class agenda and teachers are standing up, fighting back and getting involved,” said Phillips. “We are very excited to have so many great teachers running for office. They are trusted and well known in their communities, which are two key components of electoral success.”

A number of Veterans have also chosen to continue their service by running for State Representative. Among those is Todd LeVeck (HD 16), former active duty member of the United States Navy and current Naval reservist. LeVeck served in the Red Sea during Operation Desert Storm and Operation Deny Flight in the Adriatic Sea. Todd is also a middle school teacher at Willson Middle School.

In addition to teachers and veterans, 5 former state lawmakers are also seeking a return to the Ohio Statehouse.  Most notably, Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern will run in (HD 89) to replace State Rep. Dennis Murray, who will not seek reelection in 2012.  Former State Reps. Matt Patten (HD 7) and Josh O’Farrell (HD 98) will seek a return to the legislature.  Lake County Commissioner Dan Troy is also running in HD 60, and Jack Cera, who served in the legislature from 1983 to 1996 looks to replace State Rep. Lou Gentile (HD 96), who will soon be joining the Ohio Senate.

Other local elected officials include Columbiana County Treasurer Nick Barborak, who will challenge first term incumbent Craig Newbold (HD 5).  Portsmouth City Council President John Hass will challenge first term incumbent Terry Johnson (HD 90).   Coshocton County Recorder David Dilly will challenge first term incumbent Bill Hayes (HD 72).  Council member Luke Scott (HD 93) will be running for the open seat vacated by Rep. Carey.

“The GOP’s partisan agenda is out of touch, which is why their top legislative priority – Senate Bill 5 – was soundly rejected in Republican districts across the state,” House Democratic Caucus Campaign Co-Chair State Rep. Jay Goyal said. “We need to focus on job creation to strengthen Ohio’s middle class- not this divisive, partisan agenda. Ohioans know that they only way to stop this anti-middle class agenda is for Ohioans to take back the People’s House in 2012.”

Sherrod Brown: What about average folks?

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) criticized Congress Friday for being out of touch with average people and not spending enough time focusing on jobs.

“Members of Congress too often don’t think about how the things we do affect the daily lives of people. And we don’t meet enough single parents and we don’t meet enough people that are struggling,” Brown said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “That’s why Congress has to focus more on jobs than we have, frankly.”Brown went on to boost the payroll tax cut extension that Democrats in the Senate have backed, while criticizing the version of the extension that Republicans have proposed.

“This is a tax cut that will put money into people’s pockets. … Republicans, at all costs, say no if it’s paid for by people making over $1 million a year. They want to come up with phony pay-fors and they didn’t do anything until we brought this to the fore.”

Brown also sparred with “Morning Joe” host and former Republican congressman Joe Scarborough over the issue of entitlements.

The senator mentioned the case of a 62-year-old from Youngstown, Ohio, who was looking forward to being covered under Medicare. “And you’re going to tell the woman in the hotel that changes sheets and tell the guy that works construction or a woman [who] works in the diner, we’re going to raise the eligibility age so we can have a grand deal that you guys talk about? No,” Brown said.

Josh Mandel says Sherrod Brown has sided with Washington bureaucrats and fringe extremists on fracking – PANTS ON FIRE

Note to Athens, Ohio, residents: Your mayor and other elected officials in your part of Ohio are fringe extremists.

You may disagree with that statement, but then, you probably support the Washington bureaucrats who halted leasing in the Wayne National Forest for fracking. What’s that? It wasn’t a Washington bureaucrat who made that decision but, rather, a forester in Ohio?

Well, as Emily Litella used to say on Saturday Night Live: Never mind.

With apologies to the late Gilda Radner, these claims about fringe elements and Washington bureaucrats owe themselves to Josh Mandel, the Ohio treasurer. Mandel, a Republican now running for U.S. Senate, criticized incumbent U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat,  after Brown told Ohio Public Radio on Nov. 28 that he supports a local decision to remove 3,302 acres of national forest in southeast Ohio from a federal auction of land for oil and gas exploration.

So let’s recap:

Josh Mandel is all for fracking if it follows safe, acceptable practices. He sees it as a potentially huge economic win for Ohio. Sherrod Brown says he, too, is for fracking, but he says he understands the concerns of the Wayne National Forest supervisor, the mayor of Athens, the county commissioners and the university president, and he supports the decision for a delay to allow further study.

It would be easy to just say that Brown’s support for fracking comes with more qualifications, or that he deferred to the local officials. It would be true. But it would lack outrage, and outrage, apparently, is what Mandel was going for. He said that Brown sided with "fringe extremists," when these individuals happen to be a mayor, county commissioners and a state university president. And Mandel said Brown sided with "Washington bureaucrats," when the woman making the call was in Ohio. Her boss who signed off was in Wisconsin.

Political criticism is fair game. But it’s a stretch to equate a national forest supervisor in Southeast Ohio and her boss in Wisconsin as Washington bureaucrats.

And when rhetoric gets ridiculous — when a public official running for office implies that an Ohio mayor, county commissioners, a major university president and a federal forest supervisor are fringe extremists — PolitiFact Ohio has one rating for it: Pants on Fire!

Show Respect

House Bill 125, the heartbeat bill, would allow the state government to intrude into the most personal decision a woman makes in her life: the decision to carry a pregnancy to term. To allow the government to dictate these decisions is one of the most egregious violations of individual rights imaginable.

Ohio women deserve to protect their own health and safety as they contemplate continuing or ending their pregnancies. Women who need medical treatment for cancer, schizophrenia or debilitating pain, which can lead to severe fetal abnormalities, should not be forced to continue a pregnancy.

A woman who has suffered a rape should not be forced to continue a pregnancy. In fact, this bill is such a violation of women’s rights that a prominent Ohio anti-choice organization opposes it.

The Senate Health, Human Services and Aging Committee began hearings on H.B. 125 this week. Ohio senators need to set aside their ideological blindness, demonstrate respect for Ohio women and reject H.B. 125.

Denise C. Woods

Bath Township

Dems: US Chamber altered Ohio sen's photo in ads

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Ohio Democrats are accusing a leading national business federation of altering a photo of U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown and misrepresenting one of his votes in TV attack ads airing statewide.

Brown, the state's senior senator, has been targeted by several national groups heading into his re-election bid next year. Democrats say the latest round of ads, paid for by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, altered a photo taken by The Associated Press from color to black-and-white in a way that makes Brown look unshaven and haggard.

The party has dubbed the issue "Picturegate" and is seeking to link it to what they say has been a pattern of deception by Brown's likely Republican opponent, state Treasurer Josh Mandel.

"The countless false and misleading claims made by Josh Mandel and his special-interest friends have repeatedly been debunked by numerous non-partisan organizations, and apparently not just content with distorting his record they've now taken to distorting his picture," said Justin Barasky, a party spokesman. "Instead of repeated efforts to mislead the public, (they) should explain why he refuses to stand up for Ohio's middle class against bad trade deals and China's unfair currency manipulation which hurts our economy and costs jobs."

Sherrod Brown's fake beard, now worn by CEO of Chamber of Commerce

WASHINGTON — Democrats went a bit over the top by calling it "Picturegate." But the attack ad in which the nation's top business lobby used a doctored photo of U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown certainly drew attention.

Now it has led to more beard drawing – this time on the face of Thomas Donohue, the president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Since Donohue's group thought it was fine to make a United States senator look like a thug, the funny folks at FlackCheck.org thought it fitting to put the shoe, er, stubble, on Donohue's face. Thus, the video above.

"FlackCheck" is not a typo. It is a fledgling online operation under the same organization that started FactCheck.org, the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.

It got some early practice this week with its take on the Chamber of Commerce ad that used a doctored Associated Press photo of Brown. You can see how FlackCheck turned it back on the Chamber – using a doctored photo of Donohue — in the video above. (PolitiFact Ohio meantime rated a related claim by the Chamber "Mostly False.")

LTE: Political attack ads continue unabated

I had hoped that the Nov. 8 election would mean the end of political ads on local television, at least for a while. Unfortunately, we continue to be inundated with false and misleading commercials dogging Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, fomented by out-of-state interests.

First it was a commercial featuring that old rightwinger, Pat Boone, telling us that Brown is responsible for all the ills of the country. These commercials were sponsored by 60 Plus, an organization formed when AARP was deemed to be too liberal for supporting health-care reform.

When Boone's commercial was judged by PolitiFact Ohio to have the veracity level of “Pants On Fire,” it was replaced by another commercial expressing the same sentiments about Brown from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a known opponent of so-called Obamacare (www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2011/nov/25/pat-boone-earns-his-first-pants-fire/) .

Neither 60 Plus nor the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has any business telling us what we should do. Neither has our interests at heart and both should butt out of our political arena.

HARRY FARKAS

Columbus

LTE: Smear tactics under way against Sherrod Brown

They’re getting an early start smearing every non-Republican in view.

Regardless of the truth, the Karl Rove-ian machine is already in high gear, throwing dirt at folks like Sherrod Brown because he supports the efforts of the “Occupy” groups.

He also favors legislation for job creation, fair elections, consideration for the less-fortunate, preserving the environment, and for all this and more, they will trash him.

So, be alert and watch for the dirt machine to dishonor one of our finest legislators.

Elliott Berenson

Chester

U.S. Chamber of Commerce targets Sherrod Brown votes on energy, taxes – MOSTLY FALSE

Since energy was sole topic of the Chamber’s first ad and a key point of its second one, PolitiFact Ohio decided to take a look. We’re focusing on the group’s claim in the first ad that Brown voted to block American energy production and increase energy taxes.

The chamber cited votes that Brown made on May 17 and May 18 of this year.

One of those votes was on a measure that would have eliminated $12 billion in tax breaks to big oil companies over 10 years as a way to reduce the budget deficit. It targeted five companies: Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Shell, Conoco Phillips, and BP.

The second measure – which also failed to get enough votes to warrant full U.S. Senate consideration – would have expanded offshore oil and gas drilling. Brown opposed bringing it to the Senate floor.

PolitiFact previously has found that new domestic drilling won’t have much impact on oil prices … because of the many years it would take to realize production gains and because any contribution to the global oil market would be too small to significantly shrink prices.

Brown spokeswoman Meghan Dubyak said the measure Brown voted against "wouldn’t affect energy taxes by one dime" because it was a procedural amendment to prevent any Congressional debate over energy issues.

Where does that leave the Chamber’s allegation that "Brown voted to block American energy production and increase energy taxes"?

There is an element of truth in the claim. Brown’s vote to repeal tax breaks to big oil companies could be deemed a vote to "increase energy taxes." But those taxes would be on big oil companies – not the Ohioans whom the ad says "need economic help, not higher energy taxes."

PolitiFact has noted in previous items that the assertion that Brown’s opposition to the offshore drilling measure was "a chance to help cut energy costs" is dubious, since the consumer price impact of offshore drilling would be minimal and in the far future.

Refusing To Answer: Would Josh Mandel Vote To Raise Taxes On Millions Of Ohio Families To Protect The Super Rich?

Last Week Senate Republicans Blocked Payroll Tax Cut Extension For Workers, Mandel Yet To Reveal His Position

COLUMBUS, OHIO – Ohioans are still waiting to hear if their ethically challenged Treasurer Josh Mandel would vote to raise their taxes in order to protect the super rich. Last week Senate Republicans blocked a payroll tax cut extension for Ohio workers that would not only increase and extend the tax cut, but help small business create jobs. All indications are that Josh Mandel would have joined a minority of Senators in protecting millionaires instead of Ohio workers, but much like his refusal to take a position on China’s unfair currency manipulation, Ohioans don’t know where Josh Mandel stands.

The choice should be easy. Aside from raising taxes on millions of Ohioans, economists forecast that failure to extend the payroll tax cut will cost hundreds of thousands of jobs and hurt economic growth. Then again, Josh Mandel has a long history of refusing to side with Ohio’s middle class.

Despite recent reports that China’s illegal currency manipulation has cost Ohio more than 100,000 jobs in the last decade, the Columbus Dispatch reported that Mandel’s spokesperson refused to “provide the slightest clue as to where Mandel stood on an issue that has a lot of traction in Ohio.” Additionally, Josh Mandel fought on the side of Governor Kasich’s attack against Ohio’s police officers, firefighters, teachers and other public workers which would have destroyed jobs and hurt our economy.

“Josh Mandel needs to come clean with Ohioans about whether or not he would continue his disturbing pattern of attacks on the middle class and vote to raise their taxes in an effort protect the super-rich,” said Ohio Democratic Party Press Secretary Justin Barasky. “Josh Mandel’s history of fighting alongside the wealthiest among us and against the middle class is well documented, and if he’s going to add refusing to support a tax cut for workers, he owes Ohioans an explanation.”

BACKGROUND

Republicans Blocked Payroll Tax Cut For 2012 With Surtax on Incomes Over $1 Million – Only One Republican Voted For The Tax Cut For Workers In 2012.  In November 2011, Bloomberg reported "The U.S. Senate rejected a Democratic proposal to extend a payroll tax cut to 2012 for workers and cover the cost by imposing a 3.25 percent surtax on individual income exceeding $1 million a year."  Bloomberg noted that the "51-49 vote fell short of the 60 votes that were needed to advance the legislation."  [Bloomberg, 12/1/11; Vote 219, 12/1/11]

Payroll Tax Cut Would Reduce Social Security Payroll Tax Paid By Employees By Half From 6.2% to 3.1%.  According to the New York Times, “The bill, which could be voted on as early as Friday, would reduce the Social Security payroll tax paid by employees and the self-employed by half, to 3.1. percent of wages from 6.2 percent, for 2012. Those taxes were reduced to 4.2 percent of wages this year under a law set to expire at the end of the year.” [New York Times, 11/28/11]

Mark Zandi, Moody's Analytics:  If We Let The Payroll Tax Cut Expire, "We'll Likely Go Into Recession."  [MSNBC, 10/7/11]

Mark Zandi, Moody's Analytics:  Letting The Payroll Tax Cut Expire Would Cost 750,000 Jobs.  In October 2011, McClatchy reported “Economist Mark Zandi, who estimated the entire package would create 1.9 million jobs in 2012, said that extending the payroll tax cut alone would create 750,000 jobs.” [McClatchy, 10/03/2011]

Goldman Sachs:  Letting The Payroll Tax Cut Expire Would Reduce Economic Growth.  According to the Washington Post, economists at Goldman Sachs estimated that letting the payroll tax cut expire would reduce economic grown by as much as 2/3 of a percentage point in early 2012.  [Washington Post, 11/21/2011]

Barclays:  Letting The Payroll Tax Cut Expire Could Cause the GDP to Fall 1.5%.  [Bloomberg Television] 

As Many As 200,000 Firms Will Receive A Payroll Tax Cut.  The President’s plan will cut the payroll tax in half to 3.1% for employers on the first $5 million in wages, providing broad tax relief to all businesses but targeting it to the 98 percent of firms with wages below this level. In Ohio, 200,000 firms will receive a payroll tax cut under the American Jobs Act. [AmericanJobsAct.com, Accessed 11/29/11]

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