Editorial Roundup: Ohio

Akron Beacon Journal. May 8, 2022.

Editorial: Ohio primary winners, redistricting vote and leaked opinion on abortion leave many on edge

Donald J. Trump served one term before losing in 2020, but the effects of his reign and his win-at-any-cost attitude continue.

Witness the Republican race for U.S. Senate in Ohio. Think about the near-certainty that U.S. abortion rights will be overturned. And because of the Republican-dominated Ohio Redistricting Commission’s refusal to play fair, gerrymandering will continue to silence nearly half of the state’s voters and the state will pay extra millions for two primaries.

A minority of registered voters (almost 21% in Ohio and Summit County) did their civic duty last week, picking partisan candidates in statewide, congressional and local races, as well as deciding on a smattering of school levies and other issues.

We’re disappointed and a bit surprised that author and venture capitalist J.D. Vance won in the seven-person Republican race for Senate. He failed to tell us how he would work for Ohio, instead tethering himself to Trump and minimizing past condemnations of Trump.

Vance captured 32% of Republican votes — likely thanks to Trump’s endorsement. Former Ohio treasurer Josh Mandel and state Sen. Matt Dolan were next in the field.

To us, Dolan was the superior candidate. He rejected lies that Trump won the 2020 election and condemned the Jan. 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol. Former Gov. Bob Taft was among those who endorsed Dolan and praised his “substantive solutions and vision for our future.”

But we’re in a new era, when the words of local and state leaders carry less weight than those of such polarizing figures as Trump and Republican Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz — who also backed Vance.

With low voter turnout, primary candidates who appeal to one-issue voters tend to fare the best. That explains Mandel’s choice of the annoying but memorable slogan “pro-God, pro-gun, pro-Trump.”

It’s also why it’s crucial that a wider range of voters turn out in November, when Vance faces current U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Howland, the Democratic nominee. Voters will need to weigh the 10-term congressman’s record and decide whether he is the best to “shepherd” our democracy, as he stated at a Tuesday victory party.

Vance hasn’t yet proven that he can take on issues that matter to the public, including inflation, the government’s role, the Russia-Ukraine war and immigration. He’s offered no solutions and has even been dismissive about Ukraine.

Republican Gov. Mike DeWine easily defeated three challengers, including former congressman and Wadsworth mayor Jim Renacci. For the anti-abortion segment of one-issue voters, DeWine has a solid record, including his support for the so-called Heartbeat Bill.

DeWine will face Democratic primary winner Nan Whaley, who took to Twitter the night before the primary to remind everyone that she has been consistently supportive of abortion rights, unlike opponent John Cranley. Her tweet came after a draft of an upcoming U.S. Supreme Court ruling on abortion was leaked to the Politico news site.

Whaley, it seems, is in the majority on reproductive rights. Support for Roe v. Wade protections has been the norm for decades, polls show. Whaley might also have the issue of gun policy on her side. DeWine failed to “do something” about gun violence and instead signed a bill that allows carrying a concealed gun without a permit.

Or, there’s the issue of the Ohio Redistricting Commission, on which DeWine serves. On Thursday, the panel continued its outrageous pattern of neglect by passing state legislative maps already struck down by the Ohio Supreme Court.

Democrats also are keeping up the pressure on DeWine by filing a lawsuit concerning records of his meetings with FirstEnergy lobbyists and others involved in the House Bill 6 nuclear bailout law.

Whether enough Ohioans who worry about these issues will turn out for the general election is another matter. We do expect “dark money” to bring us many angry and divisive commercials, when what we’d like to hear is solutions to the many problems our state and nation face.

___

Cleveland Plain Dealer. May 8, 2022.

Editorial: Chips bill compromise would be a win for Ohio, bipartisanship and the nation: editorial(backslash)

In a heartening example of cross-aisle cooperation for the benefit of Ohio, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, a suburban Cincinnati Republican, says he’s joining with Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Cleveland Democrat, to help craft and get across the finish line compromise legislation to benefit the domestic semiconductor industry. Portman and Brown will be part of a bipartisan team negotiating differences in separate semiconductor bills proposed by the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Their efforts are critically important to Ohio and the nation. If congressional negotiations are successful, the legislation would subsidize research into, and U.S. production of, semiconductors. Often termed computer chips, semiconductors are tiny devices vital to today’s electronic components, whether in cars or smartphones. Typically composed of silicon, these chips act as a sort of hybrid of conductor and insulator.

But while semiconductors are at the heart of today’s revolution in electronic devices, they also are in short supply, a problem compounded because so much production is overseas while U.S. demand is rocketing.

The Chips for America legislation is aimed at creating incentives to reshore chip manufacture to the United States -- and Ohio.

In effect, the semiconductor is as central to today’s economy as the steam and internal combustion engines were during humankind’s earlier technological eras. But the COVID-19 pandemic, by exposing the susceptibility to disruption of international supply lines, likewise revealed the peril of offshoring too much of the vital U.S. manufacture of chips. The technology website CNET reported in March that “the U.S. share of chip manufacturing slid from 37% in 1990 to 12% today.”

Portman told cleveland.com’s Sabrina Eaton that the proposed compromise legislation would provide more than $50 billion for U.S. research and manufacture of semiconductors. That’s vital given conditions now prevailing in the semiconductor market, where U.S. chip manufacture is in catch-up mode, but global demand is booming. The Wall Street Journal reported May 3 that global chip sales exceeded $500 billion in 2021 and that demand could double by decade’s end. At the same time, the newspaper said, “lead times for chip deliveries remain at historic highs.”

Bolstering America’s chip industry is especially vital for Ohio. Intel Corp., the mammoth, California-based technology company, has announced plans to invest $20 billion in semiconductor production in suburban Columbus, creating 10,000 jobs, with economic spinoffs likely to become statewide in scope. If conditions allow, Intel has suggested it could quintuple that Ohio investment.

Portman noted to Eaton a paradox of the semiconductor industry as it now stands, a paradox the new legislation aims to address: “We (the United States) were the ones that came up with the technology and the research for semiconductors, and now, unfortunately, the vast majority of the manufacturing takes place offshore,” he said.

Portman said that the Senate-passed version of the plan includes a measure he devised to protect American technology from global competitors and – in a measure he and Brown worked on – to fight unfair trade practices by overseas manufacturers.

Brown, meanwhile, who chairs the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, said he’d “play a role especially on the labor, trade and Intel-related issues on that committee and in this bill.”

Earlier this year, in a joint letter to legislative leaders calling attention to the nationwide chip shortage, Brown and Portman wrote that “over the summer (of 2021), General Motors, Ford, and other automotive companies announced short-term plant closures in Lima and Toledo, in many cases due to pandemic-related production issues at overseas manufacturers of automotive-grade chips.”

In his State of the Union address, President Joe Biden called for passage of the Senate chips-subsidy bill.

Brown told Eaton that House Republicans who opposed the chips legislation did so “because they don’t want Biden to have a victory.” But he added, “The victory is not Biden’s .... The victory is the people in Ohio that are going to benefit from this bill, and that’s going to be millions of Ohioans, ultimately.”

The people of Ohio have benefited before from the bipartisan cooperation that Portman and Brown have demonstrated on issues vital to this state. Their cooperation on semiconductor legislation is but the latest example. Their join quest to boost the semiconductor industry is vital to Ohio’s and America’s future and deserves to yield success in the form of compromise legislation that can win enactment.

___

Elyria Telegram-Chronicle. May 5, 2022.

Editorial: Striking down abortion rights would be a mistake

Women in Ohio are on the verge of losing their right to have an abortion.

They hardly will be alone if the conservative majority of five U.S. Supreme Court justices follow through on their plans to return decisions about abortion rights to the states. The faulty legal logic at work here was revealed in an unprecedented leak of a draft opinion published by Politico Monday.

The draft, written in February by Justice Samuel Alito Jr., would strike down Roe v. Wade, which has protected abortion access for nearly 50 years. It also would strike down Planned Parenthood v. Casey, another key abortion rights case.

While some of Alito’s caustic language might be toned down by the time the court releases its final decision sometime in the next few months, there is every reason to believe conservatives are about to fulfill their dream of rolling back the clock on abortion law.

Red-state Republicans would then move to restrict or outlaw abortion with impunity.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, fresh off a win in the GOP primary, said state Attorney General Dave Yost, another Republican, would seek to lift a federal court’s stay on Ohio’s so-called “heartbeat bill,” which bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

Since that’s usually around five or six weeks, before many women even know they’re pregnant, it would drastically reduce the amount of time women have to seek legal abortions in the Buckeye State.

Worse, DeWine has indicated that he would sign a wholesale ban on abortion and is open to a signing a so-called “trigger law” banning abortion to go into effect once Roe falls.

As it happens, just such a bill has been introduced in the Republican-dominated General Assembly by state Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Loveland.

The bill, like so many others, contains no exceptions for cases of rape or incest. Schmidt revealed the awful cruelty of leaving no room for exceptions when she was asked whether a 13-year-old rape victim should be forced to carry her rapist’s baby to term.

“It is a shame that it happens, but there’s an opportunity for that woman, no matter how young or old she is, to make a determination about what she’s going to do to help that life be a productive human being,” she said.

Schmidt’s bill would allow abortions in cases when the life of the mother is in danger, but it’s poor wording might make doctors reluctant to perform such a procedure because they worry about being prosecuted.

Anti-abortion laws passed thus far tend to focus on going after the medical workers who perform abortions. Yet it’s reasonable to fear that some states would go further and target women who obtain abortions or even subject those who miscarry to criminal investigation and prosecution.

Such draconian laws would force women, at least those who can afford it, to seek abortion care out of state, and that might prove difficult since some states are moving to prevent even that choice.

Other women might be driven to seek dangerous back-alley abortions. Still others might have no choice but to carry a pregnancy to term, even if they’re emotionally or financially unable to care for a child.

Alito’s draft opinion also could have consequences far beyond abortion.

Part of the legal rationale for abortion rights has centered on the right to privacy. That same logic helped shape a raft of other court decisions. If such a right can’t protect abortion access, what other rights grounded in privacy might the court’s conservatives strike down?

No doubt sensing such criticism would be forthcoming, Alito tried to downplay the risk.

“We emphasize that our decision concerns the constitutional right to abortion and no other right,” he wrote. “Nothing in this opinion should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion.”

We don’t find that particularly reassuring given Alito’s willingness to overturn settled law on abortion to further conservative policy goals. If he and the other activist justices are willing to discard one precedent, what’s to stop them from doing so again?

It wouldn’t shock us if some red state passed a law outlawing, say, contraception or same-sex marriage in the hope that the court’s conservative majority would go along.

This could be the first in a line of decisions that allow a minority of Americans to impose their views on the rest of the nation.

Consider that the majority of Americans have long supported Roe. Indeed, a Washington Post-ABC News poll, taken shortly before the draft opinion’s release, found that 54 percent of Americans believed Roe should remain the law of the land. Only 28 percent believed it should be overturned.

Despite Alito’s insistence that an earlier set of justices got Roe “egregiously wrong,” they recognized what he cannot: Women, not the states, have the right to control their own bodies.

___

Sandusky Register. May 5, 2022.

Editorial: Call Sen. Portman

One down, nine more to go.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio is the only Republican senator who has signaled he will vote in favor of the Heath Robinson Honor Our Pact Act. The proposed law would require the Veterans Administration to provide presumptive benefits for veterans suffering illnesses or dying from exposure to toxic smoke from burn pits (or other toxins) related to their service in the U.S. military.

The men and women who served in the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and in Desert Storm are absolutely owed our gratitude and support. And those who returned home and later became ill with lung diseases and other rare illnesses caused by toxic exposure that the military could have — and should have — prevented must be supported in their time of need.

Heath Robinson was a member of the Ohio National Guard who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He was stationed for a time at a base near one of the military’s burn pits, giant outdoor, open-air fields used to incinerate chemicals, paints, computer hardware, weapons, oil and other dangerous materials. The military kept burn pits operational at all times, creating a constant stream of toxic smoke and putting thousands of military personnel at risk.

Those veterans who returned home and became sick, the ones who already have suffered or died, and their families are casualties of war. Robinson, who died on May 6, 2020, after suffering for several years from a rare lung cancer caused by his exposure to toxic smoke, was just 39. He left behind a wife, Danielle, who is from Sandusky, and a young daughter.

The bill that bears his name was approved by the U.S. House in March thanks to a bipartisan majority. Although Ohio’s U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan and U.S. Rep Bob Latta both voted against the measure, it was approved with the support of all Democrats in the House and with support from 33 Republican representatives.

That’s the good news: In this time of unprecedented division in the nation, a bipartisan vote brought this bill through the House and landed it on the Senate floor for final approval. The House vote came after President Joe Biden pushed for it during his State of the Union address in March, which Danielle Robinson attended as a guest of the president.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown has championed this legislation, as did U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, the Democratic nominee for the Senate seat now held by U.S. Sen Rob Portman. Portman, however, has not announced whether he will vote for, or against the measure, which is expected to come up for a vote later this month.

Portman is one of the nine other Republican votes that are absolutely needed to enact this law and get the men and women who served our country — the defenders of this nation — the benefits they most assuredly deserve to have. Democrats in the Senate unanimously support the bill.

We don’t agree with the assertion that covering veterans for injuries and illnesses they suffered as a result of their service to the nation would be too expensive. Lawmakers who adopt that standard are cold and callous to our veterans, their families and to the honor of our nation. And we agree with the provision in this legislation that warriors with illnesses related to toxic exposure would be presumed to have been exposed and would not be required to prove to the VA that their illnesses were related.

We must honor our pact with veterans if we are to remain an honorable nation.

Call Sen. Portman at 202-224-3353, or toll free at 1-800-205-6446 and tell him to support the Honor Our Pact Act. To get phone numbers for other Republican senators go to https://contactsenators. com/

END