Both sides of Ohio Issue #2 rally to get out the vote

Senate Bill #5 referendum prompts action

CINCINNATI - Friends and foes of Ohio Issue #2 pulled out all the stops Monday to make sure supporters of their positions cast their ballots.

Ohio Governor John Kasich spoke in favor of the measure during rallies in Clermont County's Union Township and Butler County's Liberty Township.

"When we can control our own destiny, we can make Ohio the promised land again," he said.

Middletown firefighters rallied against the proposal with Harold Schaitberger, President of the International Association of Firefighters.

"Senate Bill 5 was to strip away the fundamental rights of workers," he stated.

Issue #2 is a referendum on Senate Bill 5, which drastically changes Ohio's collective bargaining laws.

Building A Better Ohio is the campaign to keep the bill intact, while We Are Ohio is campaigning to have it repealed.

Speaking from the back of a pickup truck, Schaitberger said Issue #2 is all about political power.

"This is about the governor and those that supported the governor's Senate Bill 5 that simply wants to have all the power."

Schaitberger added he feels Governor Kasich is trying to take away the political voices of teachers, police officers and firefighters.

"This isn't about Republican or Democrat," he said. "This is about an ideological, right-wing, extreme group that's come into office and decided that what they wanted to do was have all the power and take us off the playing field."

Many polls show that Issue #2 will be defeated, but Gov. Kasich said that regardless of the outcome, Ohio is going to make it. If voters reject the measure, it's likely new efforts will begin on legislation along similar lines.

His comments came during a 20-minute address to several hundred supporters at the Eastgate Holiday Inn.

The governor pointed out that his efforts on economic development have resulted in 191 projects that have saved or created 41,000 Ohio jobs.

That's why he said he believes Issue #2 is important to allow governments to be able to control costs.

One element of Senate Bill 5 is to require public employees to pay more for their health premiums and pensions.

He told a story about a single mom with a couple of children who didn't have a pension, her 401-K contributions weren't being matched, yet she still wanted to have a better life for her family.

"She pays for her own health care and retirement and then her taxes go for someone else," he said. "That's not fair. It has to stop."

Kasich drew a laugh from the crowd when he said that teachers shouldn't be laid off based strictly on seniority.

"If the Bengals did things that way, we couldn't have Quarterback Andy Dalton," he quipped.

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