Editorial

In the race for who will succeed John Kasich as governor of Ohio, we enthusiastically support the election of Democrat Richard Cordray. The former Ohio attorney general is a straight-shooter with common-sense solutions to persistent issues facing this state. 

His opponent, current Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, with his checklist Republicanism, will do nothing to restrain the Trump reactionaries in Ohio’s General Assembly. Under DeWine, Ohio will remain stalled in neutral or heading in reverse on any number of key issues.

Also running in the governor’s race are two minor-party candidates, Travis Irvine of the Libertarian Party and Constance Gadell-Newton of the Green Party. Neither has a realistic chance of winning, and each is likely to siphon around the same number of votes from the major-party candidates.

The main candidates, Cordray and DeWine, both have extensive records in government and both have been quoted extensively, so the sort of governor they’d be isn’t a big mystery.

Yet, if you’re not happy with the direction that the Legislature has been heading in recent years, you undoubtedly should cast your vote for Cordray. Republican DeWine isn’t likely to apply pressure on the GOP-majority Legislature to take more reasonable or moderate positions, much less progressive ones.

DeWine in fact will march lockstep with Republican legislators in supporting ever more extreme positions on guns and abortion; a continued bias toward fossil-fuel industry positions over those of communities and a renewable future; kneejerk opposition to any health-care reform that benefits ordinary people; a miserly reluctance to adequately fund public schools; and a continued draining of state aid from local government.

On that latter point, Cordray recognizes that municipalities, townships, counties and school districts can’t fulfill the services voters expect if the state continues to reduce local outlays. It’s easy enough to crow about reducing taxes at the state level, when down at the city and county level that effectively slashes essential services and/or results in higher local taxes.

Overall, Cordray will serve as a necessary governor (both meanings) on the General Assembly. With his power of the veto, Cordray will seek to push them toward more consumer- and community-friendly and less extreme positions.

In his service from 2012-17 as director of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Cordray provided effective leadership, protecting consumers from bad banks and other financial institutions. According to the Columbus Dispatch’s Sept. 30 endorsement of Cordray (only the second Democrat the daily has endorsed in 56 years), he “recouped $12 billion for 30 million American citizens despite resistance from a Republican Congress.”

It also bears knowing that DeWine has been a bitter foe of the Affordable Care Act and has not supported the related Medicaid expansion that provided health-care coverage for 700,000 low-income Ohioans. Yet DeWine offered no reasonable alternative. As the Dispatch endorsement noted, DeWine “worked as attorney general to dismantle federal health-care reform in the ACA and has declined to join other state attorneys general in protecting insurance coverage for those with pre-existing conditions.”

Where politics are concerned, Ohio is a historically moderate state, sometimes going in one direction, sometimes in the other. A hard-right General Assembly led by a rigidly conservative governor will not be an accurate reflection of the people of this state.

Ohio needs to move forward, not backward. Vote for Richard Cordray for governor.

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