Highland County Press give perspective on OCP Speaker Efforts

11/21/2014 6:51:00 PM

The Cynic searches in vain

Rory Ryan
Rory Ryan

Rory Ryan


Diogenes the Cynic spent much of his life in search of an honest man. To the best of my knowledge, he didn’t find one.

He probably spent too much time around the politicians of his day.

Poor old Tom Zawistowski must know how Diogenes felt.

Mr. Zawistowski is president of the Ohio Citizens Political Action Committee.

This week, he began distributing a House speakership survey to all Ohio Republican House members.

As of this moment, the only House member who has responded is the conservative Clermont County Republican, Rep. John Becker.

According to a news release from Mr. Zawistowski, Rep. Becker tells the citizens of the 65th District (and the state of Ohio) that he “voted for Representative Jim Butler for House speaker because he appeared to be the candidate most substantive.”

Representative Butler, of course, lost to Rep. Cliff Rosenberger of Clinton County.

That’s all well and fine.

But Mr. Zawistowski – and others – would like a little more transparency regarding the political process. (Good luck with that.)

“Surveys are being distributed to all Republican Ohio House members so that the citizens they represent can know, before the official vote in January, who their representatives intend to support for speaker of the Ohio House and why,” Mr. Zawistowski said.

“They are also being asked to assure voters that their speaker vote is consistent with the Ohio Constitution and the promises they campaigned on during the past election.”

Both requests seem reasonable enough.

“The issue comes down to elected members of the Ohio House defending the right of all citizens to be represented in the Ohio House by the people they elected,” Mr. Zawistowski said. “Will their vote for speaker ensure an independent Ohio House not controlled by the governor, as required by our Constitution?”

Again, reasonable requests.

Sadly, those in political power look at people like Mr. Zawistowski as if he’s tilting at windmills. (He isn’t.)

As someone who was (but no longer is) a registered Republican for more years than Cliff Rosenberger has been alive, I can assure you that the questions raised by Mr. Zawistowski deserve answers from elected officials. I can further assure you that no answers will be forthcoming. Trust me.

Republicans own Ohio at this point in time. They will not debate their opponents during the campaign season. They refuse to answer questions from the public and press, if those questions are too tough. The locals follow the state’s lead, too. Let there be no doubt. (Obama’s Jonathan Gruber isn’t the only one playing taxpayers for fools.)

Ohio Republicans often stretch the limitations of their own arms, patting themselves and each other on the back. Last week, Gov. Kasich complimented the new House speaker on his secret-ballot victory and mentioned his alleged commitment to attracting new jobs in the 91st House District. The governor did not mention any specifics as how the speaker-elect attracted these jobs or where they might be or what they might pay. (The new House speaker has created zero jobs and he knows it.)

According to Policy Matters Ohio, “Ohio’s 12-month job growth rate did not break 1 percent (0.7 percent), including the 1,000 jobs gained in October and an upward revision of the gain previously reported for September. Over the same time, the national growth rate (1.9 percent) was more than double the state’s. While the country has recovered the jobs lost during the recession and has grown by an additional 1 percent, Ohio still needs 110,900 jobs (2 percent), just to get back to our pre-recession job count.”

From those of us who have spent 40 years or more working in the private sector, Policy Matters Ohio seems more accurate than the Ohio GOP Machine, which, upon learning that a private company just hired a new employee, immediately takes credit.

We have witnessed similar political expediency in Highland County when one of the few remaining local manufacturing entities added a few jobs and a dubious politician quickly claimed credit. (We’re still waiting for confirmation from the company.)

What’s painfully obvious to anyone who’s watching is this: Ohio Republicans are quick to take credit for whatever success stories they can find. But don’t expect them to accept any blame for the failures.

Let’s consider the latest local ventures at taxpayers’ expense.

Less than five years ago, Highland County had one economic development director. The position was eliminated, as commissioners said it was no longer feasible.

Today, the city of Hillsboro has announced that the mayor’s erstwhile real estate agent is now the new economic development director for the city. Meanwhile, the county has announced that it, too, needs an economic development director.

What gives?

And at what cost?

And at what return on (taxpayers’) investment?

Less than five years ago, Highland County Republicans decided that one economic development director was an excessive expense. Today, two are a necessity.

Perhaps they are in direct competition?

It reminds me of the joke the late Roy Gabbert used to tell me. “When I first opened my law practice in West Union, I almost starved. Then, another lawyer moved to town and we both got rich.”

Reasonable minds might suggest that these two new directors of economic development work together and avoid costly and unnecessary duplications of services – all at taxpayers’ expense.

Reasonable minds also might suggest that the employers of these directors present an outline to the public of their respective duties and expectations. Surely, they will be expected to bring in sufficient new revenues to justify their positions.

If not, let’s refer back to the local Republicans’ decision of March 2010 (http://www.highlandcountypress.com/main.asp?Search=1&ArticleID=2288&SectionID=2&SubSectionID=20&S=1).

In March 2010, the county said: “Due to limited funds and our access to Rafael Underwood, who is a regional economic recovery coordinator for Highland, Clinton, and Fayette counties, we are moving in this direction. Rafael has been very instrumental in other areas of economic development. We are, therefore, taking advantage of his connections with the Ohio Department of Development to further Highland County economic development and to pursue a regional view that can, hopefully, benefit this entire area.”

That was the last time Rafael Underwood was discussed in open session at the Highland County Board of Commissioners’ meetings. Why?

Diogenes would understand.

Rory Ryan is publisher and owner of The Highland County Press.

Representative John Becker is First to Return Speaker Vote Survey

Akron, OH – Ohio Representative John Becker (R-District 65) became the first to return the Ohio House Speaker vote survey being distributed by Liberty Group leaders and members. Becker tells the citizens of the 65th District that he “voted for Representative Jim Butler because he appeared to be the candidate most substantive.” Becker also said that he is still open to changing his vote before January and will “consider any and all candidates.”

Survey’s are being distributed to all Republican Ohio House members so that the citizens they represent can know, before the official vote in January, who their Representatives intend to support for Speaker of the Ohio House and why. They are also being asked to assure voters that their Speaker vote is consistent with the Ohio Constitution and the promises they campaigned on during the past election. Becker’s full survey is attached.


Press Release: Liberty Groups Begin Distributing House Speakership Survey

Liberty Groups begin distributing House Speakership survey to Ohio Republican House Members
Akron, OH – Today, Tom Zawistowski, President of the Ohio Citizens PAC, announced that Liberty Group leaders and members around the state have begun distributing the Ohio Citizens PAC survey to Republican Representatives concerning their January vote for Speaker of the Ohio House. The multi-question survey asks Ohio Republican House members to disclose, to the citizens they represent, who they voted for in the “straw poll” held last week and why they voted for that person. They are also asked to assure citizens that the actual vote they will cast in January will be consistent with the Ohio Constitution and with the positions they ran on to get elected among other things. (Copy of full survey attached as PDF.)
In making the announcement, Zawistowski said, “The issue comes down to elected members of the Ohio House defending the right of all citizens to be represented in the Ohio House by the people they elected. Will their vote for Speaker ensure an Independent Ohio House not controlled by the Governor as required by our Constitution? Will their vote for Speaker in January be consistent with the campaign promises they made to the citizens who voted for them and elected them? Will their vote ensure voters that their voices will not be silenced by the next speaker and that conflicting views on issues will be heard in what must be a deliberative body to truly represent all the varying views of the people of Ohio?”
Zawistowski continued “If our representatives do not stand on principle, they willingly turn their backs on the few voters who still came out to vote for them this month, believing that our system of government can still work. Believing that those who swear an oath to our Constitution will faithfully defend that oath. To betray these citizens will deny them the opportunity for the issues that matter to them to be heard and debated on the floor of the House by their duly elected Representatives. That is what the Governor’s blatant attempts to install his puppet as House Speaker are designed to do. Government of the people, by the people, and for the people will be replaced by government for the people who donate money to the Kasich campaign – to the detriment of all other citizens.”
Zawistowski, concluded by saying “The citizens in each Ohio House District deserve to know who their Representative intends to vote for as the next House Speaker and why. This is the people’s business, it should be conducted in the full light of day and not in some back room “secret ballot”, that is determined by influence pedaling and worse, a month before the legal vote. The Ohio Revised Code calls for the vote to be taken in public on January 5, 2014 and nothing less than a full roll call vote for this important government position is deserved by the citizens of Ohio. The only thing a “unanimous vote” tells the people, particularly when it includes Democratic votes that should clearly be dissenting, is that the fix was in and the rights of the people lost out to the special interests. We will publish the results of each Representatives survey on our website at www.OhioCitizensPAC.org and we will expose any who refuse to fill out the survey. Our actions are designed for no other purpose but to defend the rights of the citizens of Ohio to be heard in the peoples House, and to hold accountable any and all people or parties who will deny them their lawful constitutional rights.”

Media Spin of Kasich Win in Ohio Distorts the Facts

Media Spin of Kasich Win in Ohio Distorts the Facts
Akron, OH – Tom Zawistowski, President of the Ohio Citizens PAC, today rejected the spin the media is putting on the re-election of Ohio Governor John Kasich, prompted by Kasich and his staff, as a distortion of the facts.  Kasich won re-election by a 31% margin and won in 86 of Ohio’s 88 counties. He and his team are trying to use the results, such as their winning “69% of Independent Voters, 60% of Women Voters, and 57% of Young Voters”, to suggest that Kasich could be a viable republican candidate for President in 2016.
Commenting on the Governors “race” Zawistowski said “Here are the facts that the media is leaving out of their post election reports of what actually happened in Ohio. As the chart below shows, nearly a million more Ohioans stayed home this year compared with 2010 – 3,956,045 vs 3,010,760 – because the voters are not stupid and they knew they had no real choice for governor. This year Kasich ran virtually unopposed, due to his nefarious actions, and had 18 times the cash, $20 million compared with $4.6 million for FitzGerald, yet he only attracted a measly 33,000 more votes than he got in 2010. Which shows that his popularity is not what he claims. Furthermore, 88,000 Ohioans voted and left the Governor’s choice blank, more than his margin of victory in 2010. In his two elections for governor, Kasich has yet to attract even 25% of the votes in the state – having had only 23.5% of voters vote for him in 2010 and only 24.81% in 2014. Hardly a mandate. Kasich did not get people to vote for him, he only got people to not vote at all and stay home. If they would not vote for him this year, they would not come out to vote for him for president in 2016, they would come out to vote against him.”
Zawistowski concluded, “We just had an election for Governor in which not one issue was discussed. Not one debate was held about the actual state of the Ohio economy and our future direction. Despite Kasich’s dubious claims of economic growth Ohio is 44th in the nation in job growth, we are still 200,000 jobs down from where we were when the bottom fell out. We haven’t even recovered let alone grown jobs and Kasich is just blowing smoke about how everyone is doing great. Does anyone believe that Kasich could win Ohio in a presidential race when Barack Obama got over 1,000,000 more votes in 2012 than Kasich did in 2014 running without any credible Democratic campaign or money against him? Particularly after alienating the conservative base with his liberal first term record as indicated in the chart below? Like we said before this election, not only would conservatives not vote for John Kasich for president, we would not work for him as a presidential candidate and he can’t win if we don’t.  He would not have won re-election this year if he had not bribed the democrats and kept other candidates off the ballot. What he did to win re-election this year will not work in a presidential election.”

Ohio Citizens PAC to Dispute Today’s “Vote” for Speaker of the Ohio House


Ohio Citizens PAC to Dispute Today’s “Vote” for Speaker of the Ohio House

Akron, OH – Today, Tom Zawistowski, President of the Ohio Citizens PAC, released a statement indicating that his organization intends to dispute today’s “vote” for Speaker of the Ohio House. The announcement comes after the Ohio Republican Party controlled House Majority announce that Cliff Rosenberger has been “elected” in a secret ballot “vote” by the 65 Republican House Members who will be serving for the next two years. Including those who were just elected a week ago.

Zawistowski explained the reason for the challenge, “While it may be convenient for the Ohio Republican House Caucus to try to call what happened today a “vote” the fact is that is nothing more than a “straw poll” and is in no way legally binding on anyone. How can people who were just elected last week, but will not be sworn in until January or have even met the Speaker candidates, vote on anything involving the peoples business? The answer is that they can’t and they did not “vote” today.  Otherwise they would not have to vote again in January.”

Zawistowski continued by saying, “The only reason for this charade was that the corrupt Republican “leadership” did not want to give citizens the opportunity to talk with their Representatives before voting. This is unacceptable for the citizens of Ohio as is the fact that they conducted a “secret ballot.” The only reason for a secret ballot was to avoid retribution by the Party and we find that unacceptable as well. We also understand that various House members may have been offered committee seats and other benefits for their “votes” today. This corruption in our state government must be stopped. Therefore, the Ohio Citizens PAC is going to stand up for Ohio citizens and ask Liberty Group leaders and members around the state to join other citizens in every Republican controlled House District in surveying their House members between now and January. We will be demanding to know who they are going to actually vote for in January and why, if they have been offered anything in return for supporting a particular candidate, and where they stand on key issues concerning all citizens, like common core, medicaid expansion, Photo Voter ID, taxing Oil and Gas, etc.”

Zawistowski concluded by explaining, “We will use our considerable resources to educate the public in each district about the positions held by their Representative and may even hold a public debate between Jim Butler and Rosenberger so that all citizens can learn the qualifications, beliefs, values and vision of those who wish to be the third most powerful political person in the state of Ohio. The citizens deserve no less than total transparency for what must be a co-equal, independent branch of Government.”




2014 Ohio General Election Recap and Commentary


Ohio Citizens PAC

P.O. Box 6211

Akron, OH 44312



November 6, 2014

Contact: Tom Zawistowski, President,



Akron, OH – Today, Tom Zawistowski, President of the We the People Convention and the Ohio Citizens PAC, released a recap of the 2014 Election from the view of the Ohio TEA Party movement.  The Ohio Citizens PAC had endorsed 44 candidates for various state and local offices in Ohio in the General Election.  Over 63% of them were elected to office including all endorsed state office holders, 15 Ohio house members and 4 of the 5 endorsed county commissioners. This performance was an example of how this Republican “wave election” was powered nationally by the TEA Party movement.

A major highlight of the election for the Ohio TEA Party movement was the biggest upset in the state. TEA Party member and TEA Party backed candidate Steve Kraus defeated Ohio Democratic Chairman Chris Redfern for his seat in the 89th Ohio House District.  A race few thought could be won. After the defeat Redfern resigned as State Democratic Chairman. Nationally, the role that the Ohio TEA Party played in winning the North Carolina Senate seat was another huge success.

Zawistowski, talked about the Kraus win over Redfern, “Steve Kraus ran a great race in the Congressional Primary in 2012 and really showed that he knew how to connect with people. We thought that he would run against Kaptur for Congress this year, then at the last moment he decided that he could beat Redfern and he put his name on the ballot. When we saw the first polling showing Steve was in the lead, we contacted the ORP but they did next to nothing to help. So, the Ohio Citizens PAC put what few resources we had into the race and Steve did the rest. Now the people of the 89th House District have a representative who is only beholding to them because no party or special interest did anything to help Steve win. That is representative government it is meant to be.”

Zawistowski was also proud of the role the Ohio TEA Party played nationally in trying to take back control of the Senate. “With so few contested races in Ohio this year, we knew that we had to use our resources elsewhere and do what we could to win the Senate.  Freedomworks and TEA Party Patriots gave hundreds of Ohio TEA Party members the opportunity to make calls from home into the key Senate states. Other members actually went to other states to help and many gave money.  Our biggest success was in North Carolina where we teamed up with Concerned Veterans for America to take volunteers from Ohio down there every week during October and through to election day.  By our count, Ohio TEA Party members knocked on 40,000 doors in the Charlotte and Greenville areas, mostly in areas where the Democrat Hagan was expecting to win votes. The election in North Carolina came down to the Charlotte area and Hagan did not get the votes she needed and we know that our members were partially responsible for the Republicans winning that key Senate seat. The sacrifice and effort our people made for the good of our nation is more than admirable, it is truly Patriotic.”

Zawistowski concluded by saying, “Nationally we were very happy to take over the Senate, grow conservative strength in the House, and add to a growing majority of conservative governors.  This was a total repudiation of the liberal regressive agenda and a demand by the American people for Republicans to stop the policies of the past six years dead in their tracks.  We will quickly see if establishment Republicans have the guts to do what is right for the American people and if they do not, they will lose control of the Senate and the Presidency in 2016.  On the downside, the turnout for elections was terrible, as more and more Americans feel disenfranchised and shut out of the political process.  In our view voters must be given legitimate choices in every election and candidates with different views should be on the ballot. Unfortunately what we saw Tuesday in Ohio was the exact opposite. There were only a hand full of races that were actual elections with voters left with no reason to go to the polls – and they did not.  Only 38.86% of registered voters came out to vote, down almost a million and 10% from 2010. This is what you get from gerrymandering districts so that only one voice can be heard. The TEA Party Movement is determined to reclaim the electoral process from the parties so that true citizen candidates, like Steve Kraus, can run for office and not be owned by a party machine or other special interests. We can assure the people of Ohio that in the coming years, there will be many more Steve Krauses and a lot fewer John Kasich and Chris Redferns on the ballot.”

Tea Party Candidate Defeats Ohio Democratic Chairman For Ohio House Seat


Ohio Citizens PAC

P.O. Box 6211

Akron, OH 44312


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Contact: Tom Zawistowski, President, 330-592-1848 TomZ@OhioCitizensPAC.org

Steve Kraus, 419-239-4283mailto:stevekraus2014@gmail.com


Akron, OH – In a major victory by the Ohio TEA Party Movement, TEA Party Republican Candidate Steve Kraus from Sandusky, Ohio, has defeated Ohio Democratic Chairman Chris Redfern for Ohio House seat in the 89th District that includes Erie and Ottawa Counties. Redfern had been in the Ohio House since 1999 and has been State Chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party since 2005.  Kraus made a strong but unsuccessful bid for Congress in 2012.  He decided to run for Ohio House against Redfern after the Ohio Republican Party showed little interest in fielding a candidate in the race.  Kraus got little support from the ORP even after early poling showed him with a small lead. The Ohio Citizens PAC did robo calls into the district as did the TEA Party run Ohio Republican PAC in an effort to get Kraus over the top. Kraus won 51% to 49%.

Tom Zawistowski, President of the Ohio Citizens PAC, said, “Steve is a great citizen candidate who will faithfully represent the people of Erie and Ottawa County – not himself or some political party.  He ran a terrific race two years ago but I was surprised when he told me he thought that he could beat the Ohio Democratic Chairman. But he worked very hard and ran a great race and with a little help from his friends in the TEA Party he pulled off the biggest upset in the State tonight. Hopefully this will stop the whining by Republicans who claim we never go after Democrats. This win proves that the TEA Party does not care about political parties, we care about people and the way government serves them.”

Ohio Citizens PAC Candidates win Five House Races Achieves other Major Goals

Ohio_Citizens_PAC_small_LogoFor Immediate Release: Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Contact: Tom Zawistowski, President, 330-592-1848 TomZ@OhioCitizensPAC.org

Ohio Citizens PAC Candidates win Five House Races Achieves other Major Goals

Akron, OH – Tuesday, in the 2014 Primary Elections, candidates endorsed by the Ohio Citizens PAC won five (5) Ohio House races as well as state central committee, county central committee and many local races. This despite ORP assurances that the TEA Party would not win any races in the primary. In the 27th House District Tom Brinkman defeated Peter Stautberg 57-43%; in the 54th House District Paul Zeltwanger won a three way race by getting 51%; in the 75th House District Nick Skeriotis defeated Kenneth Hendrickson 67-33%, in the 79th House District Kyle Koehler won a three way race with 54% of the vote and in the 85th House District Nino Vitale won a three way race with 54% of the vote. None of the seven OCP endorsed candidates for Senate were able to win their primary. The OCP can not endorse in Federal races, but did endorse in two congressional races through the We the People Convention under Citizens United.  Richard May won his primary against Robert Horrocks 72-28%, while Matt Lynch lost to Dave Joyce 45-55%.

Tom Zawistowski, President of the Ohio Citizens PAC, said “We are so proud of our candidates, their volunteers and supporters. Tuesday was the culmination of a new effort that started for us just five months ago in December. That is when we decided that we would never get the governance we seek until we can elect people who we chose to represent us and are not controlled by monied special interests. To do that we needed to develop new competencies, because we had no real experience recruiting candidates and running campaigns or winning elections. So, we decided to start with a very small first step, we simply asked people to put their name on the ballot. At the time we were told by the “experts” and the political establishment that we would not get five people run for office. Instead we got 68 to run for state office and hundreds more to run for county and local offices.  The Ohio Republican Party assured the media as recently as Sunday that the TEA Party would not win any races. Winning five House races is a pretty amazing achievement, particularly when you are outspent 20-1 or more. We are proud of all our candidates because they had the courage to put their name on the ballot and give citizens a choice when few others would do the same.”

Zawistowski concluded by saying, “What this effort is about is trying to find a way to reclaim the electoral process from the monied special interests, on both sides, so that we can restore representative government to the people. We took a major step toward doing that Tuesday by successfully recruiting candidates, learning the hard way how to run a campaign, and actually electing people that the establishment party did not pick or finance. This is just the start for us. Many of those candidates will be running again in future elections and we will recruit many more for future elections. Overall, it was a great day in Ohio for the TEA Party. The only disappointment was the lack of primary challengers in both the Democratic and Republican Primaries overall, which is what the establishment parties want, and the horrible turnout of just 16.65%. Which is a direct reflection of that lack of choice and the overall disgust with the political process by citizens – which no one understands better than those of us who are directly confronting the political establishment of both parties.”

PDF link: 2014 Ohio Primary Endorsed Candidate List


PRESS RELEASE: Ohio Citizens PAC filed OEC Complaint Against Ohio Republican Party – SEE ATTACHMENTS


Ohio Citizens PAC

P.O. Box 6211, Akron, OH 44312


For Immediate Release: Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Contact: Tom Zawistowski, President TomZ

MEDIA NOTE: PDF Copies of Documents Attached

Ohio Citizens PAC files Complaint with Ohio Election Commission against Ohio Republican Party FlyersAkron, OH – Today, the Ohio Citizens PAC filed a complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission concerning the mailers produced and sent out by the Ohio Republican Party claiming that endorsed Republican State Central Committee candidates can “Vote Republican’s Stainbrook and Gallagher to Stop Obmacare.” A statement that the Ohio Citizens PAC says is patently false and is intended to mislead voters. Multiple versions of the mailer were sent out around the state with the names of the endorsed State Central Committee candidates changed to match the district.

Tom Zawistowski, President of the Ohio Citizens PAC, said “This type of unethical behavior by ORP Chairman Matt Borges and others within the Ohio Republican Party has got to stop. The statements on these mailers are clearly an intentional attempt to misleads voters by making a false claim of some legislative authority being held by Republican State Central Committee members which simply does not exist. Not only are their actions unethical, they are insulting to the educated Republican party base who will vote in Tuesday’s primary election. We are asking the Ohio Elections Commission to hold a hearing on this issue before the election and to force the Ohio Republican Party to take action to inform voters of the truth.”

Zawistowski concluded by saying, “Unfortunately, this incident is a part of a pattern of unethical behavior that resonates from the ORP Chairman right through to the local level. The people endorsed by the Ohio Citizens PAC for State Central Committe who are listed on our website at www.OhioCitizensPAC.org are running for two simple reasons. First, they have all pledged to vote, if elected, for the Ohio Republican Party to adopt the National Republican Party Platform, because the ORP currently has no platform of its own. Second, to hold Republican elected officials accountable to the values and principles within the National Republican Party Platform, which is why the ORP currently does not have a platform because they do not want Republican elected official to be held accountable to anything. Sending out this flyer shows the desperation of the ORP leadership to keep control of the state central committee and that they will do anything to keep their power – including lying to voters. We are hopeful that primary votes will see the truth and vote in our candidates to restore the Ohio Republican Party to Republican values and principles.”


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