ALEC tries new gerrymandering efforts in Ohio counties

Our United States of America is the richest country in the history of the world. Yet, millions of our fellow citizens are struggling, and for too long failing, to maintain a minimum standard of living, with far too many falling below the poverty level.  46.2 million don’t know where they are going to eat next.

The productivity of American workers has skyrocketed and is  among the highest in the world. Should they not be enjoying a high standard of living? Yet, the total income of American workers today is the smallest share of national income in our history.

How can this be? The problem we face is the largest portion of the unprecedented wealth created in our industrial, financial, commercial, agricultural, and overall economy goes into the coffers of the tiniest fraction of our population. The giant corporations that control our economy have record profits and hoard $1.7 trillion in liquid assets, which rises to $ 5.1 trillion if overseas holdings are included.

Contrasted to this growing wealth accumulation by the ‘one percent’, the wages and benefits of millions of working Americans keeps going down as the cost of living goes up, and additional millions try to survive with no jobs.

A rash of legislation at federal, state, and local levels has contributed to this downward slide in living standards for workers, retirees, and youth. In the year 2013 alone, 117 bills have fueled a “race to the bottom” for working people, with many passed into law, especially at the state level. The laws passed have enforced suppression of working peoples voting rights; turning our public services, schools, and prisons over to private, for-profit corporations. Added to the list are attacks on collective bargaining rights for public workers and those employed in private industry along with reduced, and sometimes outright abolition of pensions for both public and private industry workers.

These bills are in fact written and pushed forward into law by an organized group of owners of some of the richest corporations which control our economy, known as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALEC’s “modus operandi” is to bring aspiring politicians into meetings with think tank operators such as The Heritage Foundation, corporate CEO’s such as the Koch Brothers, lavish them with high entertainment and perks, then hand them written bills which they are to take back to their communities and present as their own bills. They have had considerable success at the state level, with Ohio and many other industrial states being subjected to a rash of ALEC written bills.

Not content with what has been done on the state level, and determined that Ohio will never be able to repeat the 2012 Democratic Party election victories, the ALEC forces are now subjecting  Ohio counties with a strong Democratic Party and organized labor base, to an onslaught of proposed changes in county government which, if passed, will abolish countywide election of county leaders. They seek to accomplish this by dividing up the counties into gerrymandered districts which will guarantee Republican majorities in as many districts as possible, as has been done at the state level.

The Democratic Party and organized labor are aware that both are being targeted by the right-wing corporate and financial barons, and have united in a campaign to defeat the county charters. VOTE NO on the CHARTER is being highlighted with handbills, lawn signs, and mailings, and will be followed up with phone calls and door-to-door visits.

The coming November elections will be critical in determining Ohio’s role in 2014. The fight-back continues.

Photo: Oct. 29, 2011, union and community members rally before canvass on SB5. Tim Wheeler/