Saturday, February 12, 2005


I live in the 21st House District of the Ohio General Assembly. The district encompasses a swath of northern Franklin County (click the link for a detailed pdf map; you'll need Adobe Acrobat to read it) and includes parts of Dublin, Worthington, Columbus, and Westerville.

I thought I'd begin keeping this blog as a way to ground my interest in politics in a practical context. If, as they say, all politics is local, this would seem an intelligent approach. Periodically on this blog I will look at the local, state, national--even international--political scenes. But I will always try to draw a thread of connection back to the 21st House District.

As nearly as I can tell, the district boundaries are drawn with a view toward advantaging Republican contenders for the House of Representatives seat. In civics class this is called "gerrymandering," but it's the way business has always been done and, if kept within limits, no one cries foul.

And in fact the incumbent is a Republican, Linda Reidelbach. Her Democratic opponent in the 2004 election was Abramo Ottolenghi. She received 26,547 votes (52.61 percent); he got 23,917 votes (47.39 percent). This data is drawn from from the first place I could find it on the web, a Democratic blog called Bring Ohio Home which includes recent Ohio State House election history. They apparently found it on the web site of the Ohio Secretary of State, which has very good links to state election results if you spend enough time navigating the site.

I will do my level best to post to this site once a day. I don't expect anyone to discover it for a while, and by the time they do I hope I will have posted enough info to make the blog worth reading.

Oh: who am I? Well, who do I have to be? I'm a citizen who lives in the 21st Ohio district. That ought to be the end of it--and would be if it were normal for Americans to take a serious interest in politics and government.

But if you must know, I'm also a 45-year old homeowner. I'm a lifelong Democrat. Yet I welcome the appearance of a new, moderate Republican political action committee called My Party Too. It is headed up by former New Jersey governor Christine Todd Whitman, who served as director of the Environmental Protection Agency under the first George W. Bush administration. By most accounts, including her own, she was not treated very well. My current reading includes her new book, It's My Party Too: The Battle for the Heart of the GOP and the Future of America.

Lastly, I believe that healthy republics are held together from below, by a politically aware, engaged citizenry. Judged by that criterion, I do not think our republic could at present be called healthy. But I see signs of improvement. More people seem to realize these days that political choices matter, that the two major parties are not tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum, and that even within the two main parties there are significant differences in opinion and approach, as the existence of My Party Too demonstrates. People talk more about politics and the blogosphere especially is dominated by political discussion. Some of it is crap but some of it is discussion of a very high order.

Anyway, I would like to be one of those politically aware, engaged citizens. This blog is my way of stepping up to the plate.


Blogger Jimmy Stewart said...


Do you know who will be running as a Democrat in '06? It's not too early to think about that, and to start recruiting a good candidate if you don't have one (or, ideally, several) already.

I'm running for State Representative on Ohio's 22nd District, just beside yours. I'm already walking the streets in the district, meeting people door-to-door. The only way to win againat an entrenched encumbent is to start early.

There's a lot of frustration out there. Democrats and independants are unhappy with Ohio's leadership, and even many Republicans I've spoken with want a change. This election is ours to lose, but we need to be clear about why we are better, and what we offer that's an improvement over the status quo.

A bold stance in support of his beliefs served Paul Hackett well, and can work even better in Franklin County. People here appreciate honesty, they appreciate frankness, they understand that there's no free lunch, and they want to work to build their communities. They need leadership that identifies problems and proposes solutions we can all rally behind. We've had enough pablum.

Strengthening Ohio's education system builds wealth for all of us. It builds our future, and investing in ourselves attracts more of the good jobs that we need today. This is why I am running.


    Jimmy Stewart
    Progressive Candidate for State Rep.
    Ohio's 22nd District

11:41 AM  

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