Cooperation still necessary

Published 9:37 am Friday, November 7, 2008

The common belief is that when it comes to government, one-party rule is typically not in the public’s interests.

A division of power is typically viewed as the climate where legislatures work best. Well, Ohio will get its chance to see if that’s true.

On Tuesday, Democrats reclaimed the Ohio House of Representatives. It marks the first time Democrats have controlled that body since longtime Speaker of the House Vern Riffe retired in 1994.

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Although Gov. Ted Strickland has been praised for his ability to find common ground with state Republicans, the legislation he has signed has been orchestrated and dictated by the Republicans.

Tuesday’s victory gives Democrats more of a stake in the legislation that will come across the governor’s desk. But that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily time for Democrats to have a parade down Main Street. Strickland was wise to show measured excitement.

The same spirit of cooperation needs to take place in Columbus in order for anything to get accomplished, particularly in light of a looming budget process that is likely to be painful.

The shift is good news for local representative Todd Book, whose 89th District includes western Lawrence County. Book is poised to become the Democratic Caucus chairman and is in a key position to influence house legislation.

So regardless of which party is in power, legislators still have the same objective – to find solutions to the challenges that face Ohioans with dwindling resources.

Whether those challenges can be met effectively remains to be seen, but one thing is for certain … legislation will now look a little bit different in Columbus.