Last month, Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s (R) approval ratings plummeted to 30 percent after just two months in office. Kasich has repeatedly balked at transparency, reneged on his own promises to vulnerable constituents, insulted law enforcement and minorities, and muscled through a highly unpopular anti-union bill that dramatically restricts 350,000 workers’ rights.
In response to Kasich’s disastrous reign, Democratic state Reps. Mike Foley and Bob Hagan will introduce legislation this week to make Ohio the 20th state to allow voters to remove and replace state officials, including the governor and legislators. The legislation requires a petition signed by 15 percent of the votes cast for that office in the last election. In Kasich’s case, they would need more than 577,870 signatures. While acknowledging that the bill is unlikely to pass in a GOP-led legislature, Hagan said Ohioans deserved a chance to recall a governor who is “hurting the people in this state”:
State Rep. Robert Hagan, a Youngstown Democrat, cited what he called “an attack on working people, an attack on organized labor, an attack on the ability to collectively bargain” as reasons he’s co-sponsoring the measure. He said it also had to a lot to do with Gov. John Kasich.
“He’s dividing the state,” Hagan said. “He’s hurting the people in this state and we think that this legislation that will be offered will go to the heart of those constituents and voters who have grown disenchanted with this governor.[...]
Hagan said he did not expect the legislation to pass. But, he added, “I think that they would be foolish not to have some hearings and have this discussion. I think it would be even more foolish for them to stand in the way.” [...]
“People wanted to know why if they can do it in Wisconsin, why can’t they do it in Ohio — why can’t we do it in Ohio,” Foley said. “They wanted that same right here in Ohio.”
In Wisconsin, 16 senators “face possible recalls for their actions on the bill which limits collective bargaining by public employee unions.” Four, so far, have enough signatures to face recall elections. Wisconsin’s Gov. Scott Walker (R) can face recall in January of 2012. In Arizona, Gov. Jan Brewer’s (R) outlandishly radical moves have spurred Arizonans to start a recall effort against her. And as ThinkProgress’s Ian Millhiser points out, Michiganders can recall Gov. Rick Snyder (R) this July for an attack on workers’ rights similar to Kasich’s.
Should Ohio’s recall bill fail, the state’s citizenry does have a “fall back option” to write the power of recall into the Ohio Constitution by collecting almost 400,000 signatures of registered voters. Kasich, however, rebuffed any recall effort as sheer politics. Viewing his record as “pretty remarkable,” Kasich said, “I don’t care about a lot of the other political things that go on.” His spokesman Rob Nichols called the proposal “gutter politics” and “borderline absurd.”