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Today in series of events in Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati, Cuyahoga County Commissioner Ed FitzGerald made official what has been obvious for a while: he's going to take on Taxin' John Kasich for the governor's office.

He spoke to a packed ballroom at the Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Cleveland before heading off to similar stops in Columbus and Cincinnati, accompanied by his wife and four teenage children.

He was introduced by former longtime congressman Louis Stokes, nearly double his age. (Stokes retired in 1993 and was succeeded first by Stephanie Tubbs-Jones and currently by Marcia Fudge). Stokes' lengthy introduction ran through all the points of Ed's career — including his stints as an FBI agent and prosecutor, his terms as mayor of inner-ring Cleveland suburb Lakewood, and his role as the first county executive, coming in to clean up corrupt on the heels of a widespread scandal.

Ed is an early entrant in the Democratic drive to clean up some of the mess of the 2010 elections, when Republicans swept into the governor's offices of many swing states and immediately began to ram through a radical right-wing agenda. 2014 will be about trying to evict some of those ghastly govs from office, and Ed is ready to roll up his sleeves and got after Kasich.

In Ohio, that extremist agenda meant Kasich's beloved union-busting SB 5, which he and his legislative stooges rushed through despite massive protests. But protests turned into action, and a mere eight months after SB 5 passed, it was repealed at the ballot by by a landslide.

Ed made it clear he's not going to let Kasich bury that episode and that, if he's elected, the focus of the office will shift dramatically to protecting the interests of working people and creating the types of jobs people can actually live on.

He also spoke a lot about education, which he's emphasized in the county as well. In contrast to Kasich, who has robbed the public schools of money so he can redirect it to for-profit charter schools run by GOP donors and cronies, he's likely to make strong public education a cornerstone of his administration.

He got the biggest ovation when he promised to protect women's health-care choices. His second biggest ovation came when he said he would fight back against the wholesale voter suppression drive Ohio Republicans have been mounting.

Ed blew up Kasich's bluster about his brilliant budget-balancing by pointing out — too seldom mentioned — that Kasich's last budget was the largest Ohio has ever seen and that he paid for it by robbing public schools and local governments. He talked about Kasich's tax plan, maligned by right and left alike and currently cut from the state budget by the Tea Party state House: to cut taxes for the wealthiest Ohioans while making the sales tax much broader and moving the burden to ordinary Ohioans.

He also mentioned something else that the mainstream media in Ohio has ignored. Ed was elected to Cuyahoga County Commissioner on the tail of a scandal that involved county elected officials enriching themselves and their friends and donors at taxpayer expense. He promised to make that way of operating a thing of the past — and he did.

But he said, that is exactly the way state government is operating under Kasich. And it is. The creation of JobsOhio aka RobsOhio, which shifts state development money to a semi-private entity that's funded with tax dollars but isn't required to account for them, and his shifting of public school money to for-profit charter schools (which ought to be banned) run by big Republican donors are far more shameful and costly than anything former Cuyahoga County officeholders did. Papers like the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Columbus Dispatch like to obsess over trivial Democratic scandals while downplaying and ignoring enormous thefts of public resources on the other side.

Kasich is already trying to paint himself as a frugal budgeter who has magically made jobs appear. But Ohio LOST jobs last month, and the effects of public service and school cuts will continue to exact a toll. Meanwhile, his legislature is in disarray, nixing one of his few positive policies — the expansion of Medicaid — tossing out his sales tax cut, and going on and on about abortion, abortion, and more abortion, while schools decay from neglect and the infant mortality rate in certain neighborhoods of Cleveland exceeds that of Haiti or Uganda.

Kick Taxin' John's ass, Ed.

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Ed FitzGerald with Congressman Louis Stokes (Ed's wife is on the right; one of his teenage daughters is on the left).

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Comment Preferences

  •  Okay (3+ / 0-)

    I gotta ask the question. What are his chances to rid o-hi-o of the teabagger prince?  When will it be safe for me to venture back to there?  My folks are still stuck south of the border suffering from the teabagger reign of stupid.

    Born in Oklahoma Raised in Ohio Escaped to Meechigan!!!

    by MI Sooner on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 02:28:14 PM PDT

    •  I think his chances are fairly good (5+ / 0-)

      Nothing is guaranteed, of course, but he's a hard worker with a clean reputation and record of accomplishment, and he comes across low-key and likable compared to Kasich who is a big of a blusterer who tends to talk AT people rather than TO them.

      Kasich got 49% of the vote in 2010, a Republican wave year. Since then he has attacked unions, women, local governments, and public schools. Right now, people are angry about his sweeping plan to expand the sales tax so he can cut the income tax. That will benefit primarily rich people. But it is so unpopular (even the U.S. Chamber of Commerce hates it) that the state House axed it from the budget. There's a lot to attack there.

      Jon Husted is a dick.

      by anastasia p on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 02:35:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've been hoping for Richard Cordray, but I can (3+ / 0-)

        support any qualified Democratic candidate over the radical Kasich.

        Republicans are like alligators. All mouth and no ears.

        by Ohiodem1 on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 03:21:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  There were several people in the room (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ohiodem1, Silvia Nightshade

          hoping for Cordray. But even they had to admit his window of opportunity is rapidly closing. He will pretty much have to enter the race in the next month or two, and I just don't see that happening. He hasn't uttered an encouraging peep. This race is going to take a lot of work and intensive campaigning, and I think Cordray just doesn't thrive on that sort of campaigning as much as he does on the work he's doing now. If he's not confirmed by the end of the year, when his time at the CFPB is up? Progressive advocacy groups and nonprofits will be beating on his door brandishing large checks.

          Jon Husted is a dick.

          by anastasia p on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 03:34:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I should add that one of Ohio's problems — (3+ / 0-)

      speaking of the teabagger reign of stupid — is that teabaggers have the legislators collective nuts in a vise. There are maybe 20 of them, but they wield the threat of a primary challenge which, ironically, the GOP has made more threatening to themselves via the lopsided gerrymander.

      Jon Husted is a dick.

      by anastasia p on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 02:36:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good luck getting rid of your (3+ / 0-)

    awful Governor/Emperor.  It will take a lot of grassroots work because the monied interests will flood the state with propaganda and ads.  Hopefully, you'll have decent media coverage highlighting the differences.

    There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

    by Puddytat on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 03:10:11 PM PDT

  •  Good luck, he seems like a stand-up (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    anastasia p, Silvia Nightshade

    guy. But then, Kasich set such a low bar... The sooner the ALEC stooges are swept out of office, the better.

    „Wer kämpft, kann verlieren. Wer nicht kämpft, hat schon verloren.“ - Bertolt Brecht

    by translatorpro on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 03:27:35 PM PDT

  •  Jennifer Brunner is better (0+ / 0-)

    I lived in Cuyahoga County at one time, and I've never heard of this guy.

    •  Jennifer Brunner is not running (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Silvia Nightshade

      I'm disturbed by the attitude of some people that there's something wrong with Ed because there's this magical, perfect candidate out there who is a sure thing (that wouldn't be Jennifer; her name recognition is also very low — as are most state Democrats' at this point).

      I have heard people express reservations about several of the candidates on the ticket, not that there's anything wrong with them but that they wistfully yearn for — well, SOMEONE else. Maybe Bill Clinton?

      Anyway, you say you lived in Cuyahoga county "at one time." If that wasn't in the last five or six years, it's unlikely you would know him unless you lived in Lakewood. He's announcing now in order to spend 18 months crisscrossing the state getting known.

      Jon Husted is a dick.

      by anastasia p on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 07:06:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  First, (0+ / 0-)

    I love that your signature line is still "Jon Husted is a dick."  It's lovely, hah.

    Second, oh please dear FSM can get get Kasich out?  I hate him so much.  A lot of his "consolidation" efforts for various state agencies are asinine and terrible ideas.  He wants every state agency to have one IT department, run out of the Office of Information Technology (OIT), part of DAS.  It sounds great in theory but in practice it's a cluster.  Also it's one way of eliminating jobs, instead of creating them--because we all know how evil government jobs are.  And how government employees make ridiculous amounts of money (yeah right, when non-union agencies have had wage freezes for years AND folks are underpaid compared to the private sector and even non-government non-profits).

    I'm interested to learn more about Ed.  If he becomes the D nominee, I'll be happyt to knock on doors in Boehner's (R-asshole) district where I live.

    "I don't want a unicorn. I want a fucking pegasus. And I want it to carry a flaming sword." -mahakali overdrive

    by Silvia Nightshade on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 09:37:59 AM PDT

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