Strickland#039;s decision good and bad for area

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 20, 2005

How about a riddle? What do the Cleveland Browns and Southeast Ohio have in common? Both will have to wait another year for the chance to reach the big time.

As the Browns lick their wounds after a downright depressing 4-12 season, Southeastern Ohio is in a similar situation after Tuesday's announcement.

U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland (D-Ohio) ended the rumors that he might run for the Ohio governor's office in 2006.

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With Strickland's withdrawal from the field of candidates, so departs our area's hope that the next governor will come from our neck of the woods.

While we respect Strickland's reasons for staying put, part of us certainly starts wondering "what if" he had chosen a different path and "what if" he won the election and became the governor. "What if" that happened and what would be the benefit for our home county?



But we can't help it.

Having the potential to finally have someone in authority in Columbus could be a dream come true for Lawrence County - eventually.

And, perhaps more to the point than crying over Strickland's decision is a broader fact. We can't help but be just a bit bitter toward redistricting moves in the last several years that have split Lawrence County into simply an add-on county for much larger districts.

Quite simply, the numbers are against us in several statewide offices. It's quite possible, for instance, for some of our state house and senator candidates to completely ignore the voters of Lawrence County and still get easily elected.

Columbus has used redistricting to make Lawrence County - and other parts of Southeast Ohio - politically insignificant and that just burns us up.

However, despite our selfish short-term desire to have Strickland take a shot at Columbus, his desire to stay focused on the big picture is probably best for the country.

This is one case where bad news is also good news. Lawrence County may not wind up with a close friend and neighbor in the governor's office, but on the good news side of things, we are still able to call Strickland a friend - and our congressman who is fighting for southern Ohio in Washington.