free market

Voter Suppression in Ohio

The ALEC “Trifecta”

Over the past two years we’ve seen a very partisan form of state government in Ohio.  Governor John Kasich promoted and signed legislation that directly attacked organized labor (SB-5, a collective bargaining overhaul) which became the centerpiece of the Ohio Republican Party agenda last year and an issue championed by the GOP Governor.  Kasich has been pursuing a specific agenda along with other highly placed state appointed and elected officials.  The Governor and at least two top Ohio state officials share alumnus status with the developer of that agenda – ALEC.Kasich pushed for privatized education – K-12 through  college – accomplished through cuts to education spending, signed legislation allowing fracking,  and slashed funding for the Ohio Consumer’s Counsel  (OCC) which has interfered with Duke Energy’s attempts to pass along storm damage repairs to their customers.

Kasich appointed former Representative Todd Snitchler (R) to the position of Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) in 2011. One of Snitchler’s first acts was to approve rate increases proposed by Duke Energy and American Electric Power (AEP). Snitchler touted consumers would see smaller energy bills under the plans. Within 60 days of approval, PUCO and Snitchler repealed the approval after schools, residents and businesses saw rate increases of as much as 50% by both Duke and AEP.

More recently a furor has arisen over early voting hours, voter ID fraud and “election reform,” with Kasich signing a reform bill that overturned last year’s bill actually providing election reform.  The net was that it would restrict early voting in Ohio.

Ohio’s current Secretary of State Jon Husted served six terms as a member of the Ohio House and 1 year in the state Senate before being elected as Secretary in 2010. He has been at the center of a maelstrom of controversy over allowing some Republic counties to extend early voting hours while restricting Democratic counties to shorter hours.  Last week he suspended two election board officials who voted to keep weekend early voting – only to reinstate those member this week.

All of the issues mentioned above are parts of an agenda advanced by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).  Nationally they have pursued a suppression of minority voters through voter ID “model legislation”, support for state legislation to allow fracking, unlimited drilling, and opposing renewable energy initiatives.

What most Ohio voters and consumers are unaware of is that Kasich, Husted and Snitchler are all ALEC Alumni:

Why privatize education?

Something is wrong with conservatives’ free market argument for privatization of Utah’s public schools as promoted by several Republican legislators and their ally, the corporate lobbyist American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC.

…ALEC’s devious ways do not compute to this business owner. ALEC is bamboozling Utah state legislators into thinking school privatization is the right thing to do. But is it?

Our nation cannot afford a free market education system. Education of poor children, minority children, and children from large families will suffer. Children left in some form of public education will be neglected. They will fall through the cracks. In the long term our country will be devastated.

A well-educated society — poor to rich, boys and girls, all children — is the best investment our country could ever make.

Instead of privatization, why don’t we look at a successful public school system and employ its standards? Say, Maryland, the best in the country. Yes, it spends more per pupil than Utah; no cost-plus-profit, just cost. If we want results, we need to swallow the hard pill of the means for better education.

No ALEC-type organization should ever be able to place its own special interests over those of American families. No child should be left behind.

To read this fascinating article about how ALEC’s privatization of education in Utah flies in the face of their own corporate logic–complete with facts and figures, please click here