Sunday, January 16, 2000

Schuler in line for GOP chairmanship


CAPITOL INSIDER

BY MIKE DeCOURCY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Term limits prevent state Rep. Robert Schuler from running for re-election this year. But the Sycamore Township Republican may soon have a new job.

        State Republican leaders are pushing for Mr. Schuler to take over as chairman of the Hamilton County GOP after Ohio Treasurer Joe Deters steps down from the post.

        Mr. Deters, the former county prosecutor, assumed the top job at the local party after lawyer and financier H.C. “Buck” Niehoff abruptly quit in December following a battle over party endorsements for five open seats in the state House.

        Neither Gov. Bob Taft nor Bob Bennett, chairman of the Ohio Republican Party, wants the politically ambitious Mr. Deters to stay as party chairman for too long. And Mr. Deters himself has said he doesn't plan to stick around past this year's elections.

        “I think Bob Schuler would make a great chairman down there,” Mr. Bennett said recently.

        Mr. Schuler said last week that he is considering the idea. “It might be a good fit,” he said.

        As the seemingly endless term limits game of musical chairs continues, one scenario has Mr. Schuler as Hamilton County GOP chairman until 2002, when Senate President Richard Finan, R-Evendale, faces the end of his legislative career. Then Mr. Schuler runs for Mr. Finan's seat and Mr. Finan takes over as party chairman.

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        Ohio Democrats are the Rodney Dangerfields of state politics. They just can't seem to get any respect.

        The Dems lost every statewide nonjudicial race in 1998 for the second time in four years. And they face seemingly impossible odds of regaining control of the General Assembly, where Republicans enjoy a comfortable advantage in both the House and Senate.

        But you would think the folks who run the state's Web page (www.state.oh.us) could at least give the Dems credit for the bodies they've got in state government.

        A Web page listing “quick facts” about the House of Representatives says there are 60 Republicans and 39 Democrats.

        Better wake up the fact-checkers. The Dems gained a seat in the last election, creating a 59-40 split.

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        With a name change and a newly created political action committee, the National Taxpayers Union of Ohio plans to get more involved in state politics.

        The Ohio affiliate is now known as the Ohio Taxpayers Association.

        Scott Pullins, executive director of the conservative, anti-tax group, said the new name reflects its focus on state issues, though it remains affiliated with the national organization.

        The group's PAC plans to get involved in several primary races for seats in the General Assembly, including two open House seats in Hamilton County, Mr. Pullins said.

        Issue ads and other forms of “voter education” will be employed on behalf of Tom Brinkman and Charles Tassell, who are running against candidates backed by the Hamilton County Republican Party.

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        State Rep. Sam Britton, D-Cincinnati, wants to require group homes, nursing homes and assisted-living centers to have air conditioners on during the summer.

        Mr. Britton introduced the bill in response to the death of a Cincinnati woman who died of heat stroke during last year's heat wave.

        Under the legislation, most nursing home and group home owners would face fines if they fail to cool the places where senior citizens and the disabled live.

        Pamela Current, 34, died in an Oakley home for the mentally ill after the temperature in her room shot past 92 degrees. Her father said he sought to install a window air conditioner in her room, but the home's operator denied his request.

       



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