The classic Wizard of Oz quote “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” could apply to the attitude of the top leaders of the Ohio Republican Party.
Gov. Mike DeWine and Ohio Republican Party Chairwoman Jane Timken have taken to the road to proclaim how wonderful the economy is and talk about government spending plans for children’s programs. Noticeably absent are comments about red flag laws, refugees and primary endorsements that the two have drawn heat on lately.
DeWine seems especially fond of the Lincoln Day Dinners hosted by various county parties.
Last Wednesday he was the keynote speaker at the Holmes County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day Dinner, The Daily Record reported.
“Gov. Mike DeWine was our guest speaker,” Holmes County Republican Party Chairman Rob Hovis said. “This was the first time in the 30 years of our holding annual Lincoln Day Dinners that a sitting governor has addressed the event.”
“He said that Ohio is a great place to raise a family and a great place to start a business,” Hovis said. “In the recent past, Ohio had not ranked as high as he thought we should in certain measures, such as quality of life and business climate.
On Tuesday, DeWine announced the state’s first-ever Infant Mental Health Credential for early childhood professionals, WKTN said.
He has also been talking about a statewide decrease in infant mortality rates, The Daily Sentinel said.
DeWine is also touting the state’s first-ever collaborative suicide prevention plan, the Gallipolis Daily Tribune reported. Oh, and he was the guest speaker at the Meigs County Republican Party Lincoln Day Dinner, the Daily Tribune said.
Timken is on the “campaign trail” as well. She spoke at the Richland County Republican Party monthly luncheon last month, the Richland Source said. She touted President Donald Trump’s national achievements like a 3.5 percent unemployment rate and the creation of more than 7 million jobs.
If you eat at a Lincoln Day Dinner or attend another event with DeWine and Timken, odds are you will not hear about certain topics.
DeWine has been silent about his STRONG Ohio gun control legislation.
However, the bill has had three hearings in the Senate, among other action, but no opponents have been given an opportunity to testify, WCMH reported last week.
State Senator and chairman of the Government Oversight and Reform Committee William Coley II (Liberty Township-R) says he is working behind the scenes with opponents, trying to find common ground. When asked why not give them an opportunity to express their opposition openly, he said he didn’t want people to cement their feet in that opposition.
The governor and the chairwoman may be bully on the economy, but one could be excused for asking what’s causing the excitement.
Ohio’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in December held steady at 4.2 percent from the prior month, higher than the national average of 3.5 percent, the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services said.
The governor may not have checked the unemployment report as he remarked at a January engagement at Ashland University that the state’s employers have more job openings than they can fill, The Alliance Review said. The state needs to invest in people and education to fill all those job openings, he said.
Also missing from recent road appearances is discussion on DeWine’s gas tax increase.
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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.