Columbus Dispatch. August 14, 2022.
Editorial: Unwelcomed in Ohio. Leaders working to make state less attractive, not more
“Ohio. Find it Here” road signs welcome visitors at most of our state’s borders.
The slogan developed by Columbus-based Cult Marketing was meant to “show how activities and attractions in Ohio can develop deep, emotional connections that will last over time,” Ohio tourism officials told the Dispatch after it was revealed in 2015.
The marketing firm now uses its work with Tourism Ohio as a case study of how it was able to market a “state that is not known for anything iconic?”
No offense to Cult Marketing, but we’d say there are many iconic things to know Ohio for.
A state steeped in innovation
We will start with the iconic inventors who brought the world the traffic signal (Garrett Morgan), the light bulb (Thomas Edison) and the airplane (Orville and Wilbur Wright). And they are far from the only ones.
For starters, Columbus-born Granville Tailer Woods — the first Black mechanical and electrical engineer following the Civil War — transformed railroad technology.
In more recent years, Columbus has been the home of innovations in healthcare, retail, and computer science. The city is the birthplace of the GIF ( Graphics Interchange Format ) thanks to Steve Wilhite, an employee at the then-formidable CompuServe Incorporated.
Innovation is steeped in Ohio’s history and, with the announcement in January that Intel plans to spend $20 billion to build two plants in New Albany, there is renewed hope that innovation will help shift the state from the “Rust Belt” to the “Silicon Heartland .”
What of future innovation?
That bright future might be compromised if state lawmakers continue to push an agenda that makes many feel unwelcomed.
Around the nation, companies and their potential employees are paying attention to the laws state legislature are passing regarding race, gender, sexual orientation, and abortion access — seen as a human right by many on both sides of the issues.
The young and the educated favor abortion rights.
According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, 74% of adults younger than 30 say abortions should be legal in all or most cases, as do 62% of adults in their 30s and 40s.
Sixty-six percent of college graduates surveyed said most abortion should be legal as do 63% of those with some college education.
If the employee shortage prompted by the pandemic taught us one thing, that thing is that workers have options, and many want to work for places that share their values.
About 80% of American workers who took part in a 2021 CNBC/SurveyMonkey Workforce Survey said that they want to work for a company that values diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Sought after workers want to work for companies that value diversity, so it reasons that companies want to be located in cities and states that value diversity.
Clash between corporations and politicians
Eli Lilly and Co. is among the companies that recently took Indiana to task after Eric Holcomb, that state’s governor, signed a law banning abortion except when there is risk to the life of the mother or within the first 10 weeks in cases of rape and incest.
A spokesperson for Eli Lilly, one of the state’s largest employers, told the Indianapolis Star that the ban would hinder the company’s ability to attract diverse scientific, engineering and business talent to Indiana and force it to expand outside of the state.
“Lilly recognizes that abortion is a divisive and deeply personal issue with no clear consensus among the citizens of Indiana,” spokesperson Molly McCully said in a statement. “Despite this lack of agreement, Indiana has opted to quickly adopt one of the most restrictive anti-abortion laws in the United States.”
Ohio’s new abortion law is even more restrictive than the one in Indiana, banning most abortions — even those that resulted from rape and incest — after a heartbeat can be detected, typically around six weeks of pregnancy.
After the US Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade in June and Ohio’s new abortion law kicked in, a 10-year-old Ohio rape victim left this state and had a legal abortion in Indiana.
Diversity and inclusion are a part of business
Changing demographics of the workforce and the nation’s population help make diversity and inclusion a topic of conversation at many companies even before the murder of George Floyd brought inequalities against Black people and other marginalized groups out of the shadows.
Most large companies and many smaller ones have diversity, equity, and inclusion policies and/or initiatives.
Intel has been measuring its DEI efforts for more than 10 years, according to an article published by HRexecutives.
Intel published the United Kingdom study “Inclusion: The Deciding Factor – How inclusion and diversity will shape business success — in 2030.” Among other things, it concluded that it is “increasingly important for people to work somewhere that welcomes people of different backgrounds, provides equal opportunities for underrepresented minorities and people with disabilities, and which is LGBTQ+ friendly. ”
After backlash from its employees earlier this year, the Walt Disney Company entered a messy feud with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on that state’s new Parental Rights in Education law which critics have dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” law.
The conservative Ohio Chamber of Commerce is among several business groups that have spoken against House Bill 616, which would suppress what teachers can teach kids about the LGBTQ community, racism and history.
“Ohio needs to be a welcoming place for all. We should focus on ways to cultivate and harness the talents of Ohioans, while also attracting out-of-state workers to relocate here,” an April statement from the Chamber reads. “The Chamber is concerned that some of the language in this bill may impede Ohio’s ability to lure the best and brightest minds to fill these opening and put down roots in the Buckeye State; however we trust that through the legislative process everyone will get a chance to have their voice heard.”
Way back in 1984, the Ohio Division of Travel and Tourism created the famous slogan “Ohio, The Heart of It All.”
We believe the Buckeye state remains the heart of this nation.
But we cannot grow if it is not welcoming.
That’s bad for our businesses and terrible for our people.
Toledo Blade. August 12, 2022.
Editorial: David McCullough’s message to Ohio
America has lost a treasure with the death of historian David McCullough. The two time Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner was a special friend to the state of Ohio.
At the height of his eminence as a best-selling author and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, Mr. McCullough wrote about the achievements of great Ohioans. The Wright Brothers and the pioneers, who made Ohio America’s first frontier, brought David McCullough to our state.
In telling the story of Ohio’s pre-statehood days, Mr. McCullough makes it clear that the decisive event to the survival of the Marietta settlement was victory by General Anthony Wayne in the battle of Fallen Timbers. Before there was an Ohio, and still true today, our area is crucial to its success.
External validation conferred by an independent expert is Mr. McCullough’s great gift to Ohio in his final book, The Pioneers. The historian who reminds us that “nothing had to happen the way it happened” celebrates the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 as better than America’s founding documents.
We should all be proud that Ohio created a blueprint for governance of what ultimately came to include Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin, that improved upon the US Constitution and Declaration of Independence.
Thanks to Ohio’s settlers, at a time all 13 original states allowed slavery, it was not permitted here. At a time there was no commitment to public education anywhere in America; it was a cornerstone of Ohio’s foundation.
The principal author of these documents, Manasseh Cutler, is so little known that he was a discovery to Mr. McCullough in research for a commencement speech at Ohio University, founded by Mr. cutler.
mr. McCullough’s conclusion to that 2004 speech is worth repeating:
“When bad news is riding high and despair is in fashion, when loudmouths and corruption seem to own center stage, when some keep crying that the country is going to the dogs, remember it has always been going to the dogs in the eyes of some and that 90 percent or more of the people are good people. They are generous hearted, law abiding, good citizens who get to work on time, do a good job, love their country, pay their taxes, care about their neighbors (and) their children’s education, and believe rightly in the ideals upon which our way of life is founded.”
Youngstown V indicator. Aug 9, 2022.
Editorial: Ohio must never again hold two primary elections
Ohio never should have split this year’s primary election into two.
And that opinion is not just hindsight — we shared that very clear feeling at least twice on this page long before the decision ever became official to divide this year’s primary into two elections held May 3 and last week, on Aug. 2.
The decision for Ohio to host a second primary election requiring every precinct to be open for business as usual came after the state redistricting commission was unable to submit new legislative maps that held up to constitutional challenges. After multiple attempts to meet the redistricting guidelines established by voters in a constitutional amendment calling for fair — not gerrymandered — districts, a federal court adopted and put into effect a temporary set of maps.
Those maps had been offered previously by the Republican-led state redistricting commission and subsequently were rejected 4-3 by the Ohio Supreme Court which opined the maps unfairly favored Republicans.
Finally, a federal court in April ordered this set of maps be used, but it was too late for the May 3 election because, by then, ballots already had been printed and early voting had commenced.
So, our elected leaders in Columbus moved forward with splitting the primary election into two. Statewide and county races were decided on May 3, and races involving the new district lines were decided last Tuesday.
As expected, turnout last week was extremely poor.
According to the Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose’s office, out of Ohio’s 7.97 million registered voters, 631,994 voted in the Aug. 2 election — either early or on election day. That equates to a paltry 7.93% — the lowest turnout of a statewide primary in at least 60 years.
Locally, it was a little better — but not much.
Trumbull County’s turnout last week was 11.62%, while Mahoning was 9.08% and Columbiana was 10.32%.
Most election experts believe Tuesday’s poor turnout voted largely from confusion and the lack of candidates in competitive races on many ballots.
Also as predicted, the cost of splitting the primary into two election days was astronomical.
The second statewide primary cost is about $20 million to $25 million to hold. Using even the lower, more conservative figure of $20 million to fund an election in which 631,994 people voted means taxpayers paid about $31.64 per vote.
Such an enormous waste of taxpayer money was ridiculous and must never, ever happen again.
Sadly, the map issue still is not settled, and there’s nothing to guarantee that this primary election split wouldn’t happen again. Unless we get this map issue ironed out, the very real possibility exists that this waste of money absolutely could occur again.
Further, the entire scenario as it played out was patently unfair to the local boards of elections who were forced to handle two elections, hire already hard-to-find poll workers for not one, but two elections and to field repeated questions from voters, including some who even thought Tuesday’s election was a “do-over” for the May 3 primary.
There is no other way to describe this experiment than as a disaster.
At the end of the day, the right answer is always to keep primary election races and issues together on one ballot in one primary election.
This debacle must never, ever happen again.
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