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Will The Ohio GOP's War On Firefighters Flame Out Next Tuesday?

Connie Schultz

Connie Schultz is a nationally syndicated columnist for Creators Syndicated. Schultz won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for commentary and was a finalist for the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for feature writing. She has also published two books: Life Happens: And Other Unavoidable Truths -- a collection of her previously published columns -- and ...and His Lovely Wife: A Memoir from the Woman Beside the Man, which chronicled her experiences on the campaign trail with her husband, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown.

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  1. SHUGrules November 4, 2011

    After reading your column on how the GOP’s war on firefighters is flaming out, I fully understand why you are a Pulitzer Prize winning columnist because to put it succinctly- your letter from that man apologizing to his wife moved me to tears! I am not the type of person to post comments on blogs, but your column struck a chord that is still resonating within my soul and I must give it voice. All of our lives have enriched by the selfless service of our teachers, firefighters, every other public servant who labors on behalf of us, the sometimes apathetic and indifferent public. But I thank Polictical shills and hacks such as your Governor Kasich and Governor Walker, Governor Scott and many more from rousing us out of our somnulescence and forcing us to realize that these foolislhy elected officials are really seeking to strip us of our freedoms. As a former U.S. Veteran, I have learned that the cost of preserving our freedoms is CONSTANT VIGILANCE! So I applaud the young fighfighter who going door to door warning voters about the legislated perfidy inherent in SB 2 , as I applaud you for chonicling his efforts. God bless him, God bless you, and God bless America!

  2. pacman3000 November 4, 2011

    I spent 30 years in the education field , mostly as an administrator. The last 15+ years as superintendent of schools. I totally agree with the man apologizing to his wife. 99% of the teachers I encountered were dedicated and sincere individuals who had but one objective that being the welfare and development of the students in their charge. All were grossly underpaid for their efforts. I found this dedication to be true of most if not all public employees I met during my tenure.

    The efforts of the tea party and BUSHITES makes me sick and terribly concerned about the future of our country.


  3. GEORGE SMITH November 4, 2011


  4. MaryRitaHorvath November 4, 2011

    Wow! How I identified with this article. Everything it said is 100% true. Anyone who lives with a teacher knows it is! And yet I wouldn’t have traded any of the sacrifices my family and I made, because of the joys of teaching children. But I just wish others understood. When I hear comments from those who don’t know, it makes me heartsick that they demean my dedication to my former craft like that. I am praying that this country turns back from the path it has taken, What will it take???

  5. moonroper November 4, 2011

    America’s middle class better wake up and see that the Republicans are taking away our powers, state by state, from people like our firefighters, teachers, police, and all the other unions across the United States. The Republicans are now attacking all Americans who are not rich, with their Right to Vote, Social Security, Medicare, and Disability. It will affect all of us, if you are not in the top 5% of the country. One day soon there will be no middle class, just the rich and the poor, if we do not start standing up for our rights. I do not care if you are a Republican or Democrat, you must stop this before it is too late. When I was very young, my Dad and Grandfather would say if the silent Americans would ever stand up and be counted, it would change the way this country was being run.

  6. Reinaldo Valdes November 4, 2011

    What we forgot and the letter you published brought home, is that those public employees are our love ones and live with us and in our communities.

  7. Steve HigginbothamBraunginn November 4, 2011

    Connie, you’re right on the mark. At one time, in a country long, long ago, teachers were revered in their comunties. They, we, were and are one of our country’s most valuable assets. The phrase, “If you can read this, thank a teacher” stands as the iconic illustration on how critical a good education was and remains to be to our economic and civic leadership. Frankly, I consider a good education as a major national security issue. Undeveloped nations are who they are largely in part due to their lack of indigenous brain power. Consider President Jack Kennedy’s declaration to significantly boost and proliferate education in the U.S., especially in science and math. It was one of the strategies deployed during the height of the Cold War with the Soviet Union boosted by the Soviet’s successful launching of Sputnick. I began teaching in 1979, working with students with learning and behavior disabilities. My beginning salary in this rural WI school district was only $9,600. And I was the only teacher for these students in this district that spanned over a three-town region. I was also ordered to pick up administrative responsibilities. I taught there and in Madison, WI. At the beginning of all my nine years teaching I had to purchase supplies; the money came from my meager salary which was to support a family of three at that time. Years later, when R. Reagan became president, educators along with other public service professionals and support staff began to be demonized. Look at what he did during the Air Traffic Control Union strike. Reagan fired them, replacing them with non-union workers. Their firing began the slow destruction of public service unions and the grossly false statements by politicians and subsequently the taxpayers. Today’s protests are 30 years in the making. Today, teachers as before work long hours (often at work by 7:00am and out by 5-6:00pm, and those aren’t the ones who stay to coach, tutor, serve on district committees or meeting with parents. I frequently did home visits). So it was no surprise to see teachers along with firefighters, police officers, state and municipal policy makers marching side-by-side with the steel workers, communication union members; demonizing union members, pointing the blame finger at us for the economic ills of our country. It’s now backfiring. In Madison, it was humorous amidst the raging storm of protestors to see a parent pushing a stroller with one hand while holding the hand of another child. This was and is middle-class America rising up declaring with one voice, we shall not be victims of the far and wealthy right wingers. So, when you read the multitude of signs being carried by those of us with AARP membership cards in our pockets, thank a teacher. For sure they will smile knowing someone cares about education and the teachers.

  8. djs062875 November 4, 2011

    I will be voting no on Tuesday. Although there are things I like in the bill such as teachers getting tenure (I think all raises and staying on jobs should be based on performance)there are many more things in the bill I don’t like. Plus I love to see the republicans fail, as I am liberal and really hate their values.

    As a Vertern from the U.S. Army if I decided that I wanted to retire I would not have had to contribute $1 to my pention, and I don’t see police, fire, or teachers any different than a soldier, they are just working on a local level and I was working on a federal level.

    Please if you are a conservative reading this article do something you’re not used to. Think before you vote, and vote NO!!!

  9. RAM1020 November 4, 2011

    It is fairly certain that Issue 2 will fail in Ohio. What will also fail is the +10% property tax increase that the School District is requesting. If costs aren’t cut in some way, we will not be able to afford what we have … or many of us will have to move out of the area.

    It would seem to me that if some of the costs were shared by public employees as they are in the private sector (we pay 6.5% in SS with no guarantee, and then have a 100% self funded 401k … and pay 25% of the cost of insurance), then more money would be available to keep staff. If issue 2 and the tax levies fail, then there will have to be cuts.

  10. in.the.flood.zone November 4, 2011

    The saying’s as true as ever: “Be careful what you wish for, you’re likely to get it.” Many voters are “single-issue” — they don’t care what happens as long as their pet issue is addressed. The wins of Kasich and the Tea Party are due to the GOP skilfully manipulating this fact to their advantage by their dumbed-down, broad-brush, pie-in-the-sky sales pitch, masquerading as campaigning. We’re in the midst of an epic civics lesson, the kind the schools don’t offer, that is showing us how all issues are interconnected and that we’re all in this together.

  11. Retiredautoworker1112 November 4, 2011

    The silent majority is silent no more. After Kasich’s issue is defeated its time to defeat Kasich. I agree with the blogger about the middle class coming close to nonexistance. We must all come together to defeat the elected members of the house and senate. Their only interest is protecting the top 2 percent of the nation’s wealthiest. Impeach them, recall them, or vote them out of office. God Bless America!

  12. doane November 4, 2011

    Yea.. lets get rid of unions, government, SS, Medicare…get rid of the government too! ..all these evil things, all these lazy people, too lazy to make it and be rich like the few who have so much.. all these commie/socialists that take away our freedom and our money!
    There is a small part of our population with tremendous power and wealth, wealth translates to power, the power to lobby, the power to influence through deceptive news advertising, the power to miss guide the rest of the nation and convince many of us to turn against the very life line that we have against them, our freedoms of speech, our freedom to vote, our freedom to think. But they want to take that away too, and if they are allowed to get that far, being the 99% won’t make any difference. Don’t be mislead by what the real problems are in this country, fight back against special interests like this example, save our country and those who will have to grow up with the decisions and actions we have the choice to make now.

  13. AlesterP November 4, 2011

    Comments are good, but let’s get out the vote… We can change things by voting those who oppose fairness out of office.

  14. ROCKCUT November 4, 2011

    I was born and raised in the broken steel country of Youngstown, Girard, and Warren and saw my Father labor all his life in the Steel Mill. He taught me the lesson of not going into the mill but to get an education…..I took his advise and saw the world during my 22 yrs in the USAF where I earned two degrees….and proudly the Father of two children who are teachers. I support from afar your efforts to protect the working class in Ohio. Defeat these heartless Republicans and remember that Obama is the only true choose come Nove 12.

  15. MapesTerry@aol.com November 4, 2011

    My uncle Chris Clark was a teacher and then a head guidance counselor in the Ohio school system. We come from a strong Republican family, but he became an avid support of the teacher’s union in Ohio. I wish he were still alive to go out and canvas voters. I know he would want to see Kassich go down.

  16. billgeorge November 4, 2011

    I am a retired public worker and I hope everyone votes NO on issue 2. I also think kasich should pay rent on the governor’s Mansion. He sure doesn’t work for the people of Ohio.

  17. traveller1861 November 4, 2011

    It really comes down to what you can and can not afford. Ohio, or America for that matter, can afford little more. Sure we all want it, but the money has to come from somewhere and most want it to come from someone other than themselves…hence the bashing of the rich by the OWS mobs.

    The apology letter from the husband to his teacher wife is touching, but the reality is that if the family unit in America was the priority she would not have to buy a student socks, gloves and hats, walk through a metal detector or spend time and money to buy school supplies.

    I applaud any teacher for taking on the task of educating the youth of the country. I could not do it in the decayed state of our families in this day and age…I understand why some animals eat their young…

    Parents must take responsibility for their offspring and become the guiding light to their children. It is not the responsibility of the government, in any fashion, be it through schools or food stamp programs for the well being and education of your children.

    It is not that we lack compassion. We are weary. Tired of supporting a nanny state that continually gives and gives with no expectation of someone finally taking the responsibility of taking care of themselves. We are tired of being taken advantage of by the unions; especially the teachers unions. We have no problem making sure that you are paid well, but in turn we should have a guarantee that our children will be properly educated and that every child graduates.

    Take a look at the salaries that the Ohio Education Association staff and officers make….Over 100 of these are paid more than $100,000. With salaries like these, I have to ask; “Why are you a teacher?”

    Things will change when we stop rewarding mothers to have more children to increase their support form the state and when the teacher’s unions put the student first and not the union staff and membership.

    The current out of control spending has to have a measure of control implemented. This is a good place to start.

  18. argosberyl November 4, 2011

    The previous commenter, traveller1861, who appears to have named himself after Robert E. Lee’s horse, presents the same old tired arguments against government spending. If we could turn back the clock and wipe out all the funds we have spent on the welfare programs he (or she?) describes, we wouldn’t be any better off. However, if we did the same thing and wiped out all the money we spent to remove weapons of mass destruction from Iraq, we would not have a deficit.

  19. doane November 5, 2011

    Argosberyl: Yep, the war has wasted this country economically, but the “tax reforms” (tax cuts for the wealthy) have done even more damage. Never in history has an administration given huge tax cuts during a war.. what President Bush did.. it’s insane.

  20. rustacus21 November 5, 2011

    In the comic book original “Fantastic Four”, Johnny Storm’s famous phrase “Flame On”, preceded his mad dash into action & adventure! His partner in crime-fighting, Ben Grimm, would yell, “It’s Clobberin’ TIME!!!” when it was time for kicking a@#! The problem w/contemporary America is its lack of fundamental literacy. The comic books available in my childhood brought to my imagination the theory of the “possible.” America is similarly an extension of the Constitution’s authors’ excursions into this same realm of imagination & possibilities. But today, media is dominated by collections of misfits who imagine themselves as patriots, like the “tea baggers” (who I REFUSE to insult the original patriotic legacy of “REAL” Patriots!!!, by using the 2 synonomously), who often quote the Constitution & The Federalists, but can’t understand a word they’re repeating! Literally!!! If they did, they would first concede that the Constitution is a Progressive-Liberal philosophy, explaining the mechanics of the Social Contract initiative. 2ndly, they would vote for Liberal or Progressive Conservative, if that’s their true ideological orientation. The desperation shadowing the last 11 Conservative years of American politics is a threat, no question. But Americans of virtue, intelligence & personal resolve, having lifted themselves from fear & corrupted reason, remember that this nation didn’t “become” by way of cowardice. & like the Fantastic Four, going against obviously daunting odds never slowed them in the least. Too much TV creates the cluttered mind inhibiting the free-thinking process. & is why Conservatives have gained so much ground, w/the FOX network as proof perfect. Casually reading, w/out TV as background “noise”, integrates thinking & imagination to conviction. Conviction becomes action. Suddenly, reason overcomes fear. By sheer magnitude, 10’s millions of Americans arrive at the same understanding that it is WE, the people who control this Democracy. Elections, then become referenda on Constitutional – NOT ideological principles! We are therefore able to visualize, at a mature level, what is BEST for the NATION – NOT the individual. Then, “Flame On” will mean the ignition of impassioned voters. The yelling of “It’s CLOBBERIN’ TIME” will be the overwhelming voter rampage installing Progressive Liberals into office in Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Kentucky, Georgia, Texas (whoa, maybe I’ve gotten way ahead of myself – Texas needs way more work still!) & down the line & those legislators will have the threat of recall hanging over them, by way of an energized & intelligent voting public. Failure to enact a citizens agenda will indeed mean it’s “CLOBBERIN'” time!

  21. RobertA.Marquardt November 6, 2011

    Help me here! Unions allow workers to have bargaining rights! Is that correct? So the government also has bargaining rights? How can the unions then be responsible for the deficits in government spending? Seems the government doesn’t know how to say “we can’t afford it” and compromise to come to a figure that the government can afford. I sense the officials of the government are simply too lazy to compromise…maybe if they had to work they could come to a sensible solution to the problem.

    I recently saw that over 50% of the Federal Congress are in the 1% of the highest incomes in America. Therein lies our problem. I haven’t heard Kasich tell us what cuts he or his staff is going to take? Maybe we don’t need him if he can’t work with public unions to get the job done! He, as with so many politicians, is only interested in making his job easier, getting richer, and getting reelected. This isn’t DEMOCRACY! This is called TYRANNY! JUST GET RID OF THE OPPOSITION!

  22. DAlnB November 6, 2011

    This should have been expected; it has been a primary Republican movement for the last couple of years. Newly elected Republicans take on the effort striving more for the recognition and favors it draws from the GOP leadership than the benefits it will have or harm it may do to the state.

    The question has to be why these new governors take the problem out on the workers. NO UNION CONTRACT or AGREEMENT can be implemented without collective bargaining between management and the employee union or association. Both sides are required by law to bargain in good faith. That means both the union and state management had to reach an agreement and neither side can be bullied into accepting any unreasonable decisions. That is what mandatory arbitration does; intervene when talks become stalemated to ensure the agreements/contracts are properly negotiated and accepted by both sides.

    If there are contracts or agreements that are bad for the state then the blame is with the state managers who accepted the contracts and those are the people the governor should be going after. Once that is completed then the governor should set down with the unions, go over the problems and make an attempt to renegotiate the contracts; with collective bargaining done in good faith.
    If the new governor can not function diplomatically rather than as a tyrant then the people of the state should start working toward recall actions. America is hurting because our elected representatives have left bargaining behind with a preference of using force and obstructionist efforts to either force their way or stop any other attempts to get America back on track!

  23. DAlnB November 6, 2011

    We would never have had a need for ANY unions if management had been doing the right things! It is because management rarely considers the welfare, need for a safe, sound and secure place of employment, or a fair wage for work performed that unions became necessary. Management seems to think they are worth the huge benefits they receive but that should not be shared with workers. Unions are essential but just as management can become too strong creating problems for labor, labor can also become to strong creating problems for management. The pendulum must swing with a very small arc between management and unions; if either one gets too strong the other suffers. Good bargaining, in good faith, is intended to see that both sides share the best interests of the company and the employees!

  24. Marion November 7, 2011

    I am a retired teacher, and certainly appreciate the touching and oh-so-true letter the fellow wrote to his teacher wife. I disagree strongly, however,with the notion that teachers need unions in order to be properly represented and paid. I worked in Kansas and then Texas, a right to work state, for over 37 years, and would never, ever strike.

    Over the years, the teacher organziations gave us as much voice as any union ever would have, and we weren’t obligated to anyone except the state and our local school districts who provided us with extensive instructional requirements. The SEIU has embarrassed me more than I can express in this short space. Joining a union would be admitting that my elected teacherf representatives didn’t have the intelligence or verbal skills to negotiate with officials in the district and the state. If the SEIU is an example of how unions behave, I want absolutely nothing to do with them..

    I have my pride and most of all, freedom. I didn’t go into education to make buckets of money; and I never met an outstanding teacher who did. No union would ever had told me to join, what to do, or taken my hard earned money for dues. Our teachers always succeeded in negotiating directly with the districts and the state. The state, furthermore, provided reasonable benefits, for which the teachers paid part. My retirement is comfortable and secure, which is all I asked. My state is in excellent financial shape compared to the rest of the country, largely due to the fact that it’s a right to work state!

    I was taught in college that it is unethical for teachers to belong to unions, and I still hold to that notion. We are smart enough to get along using our teacher organziations.

  25. ronkerr November 8, 2011

    As an outsider,(I live in Australia)I can’t understand a country which….
    1. fears its Government
    2. fears its workers (ie unions)
    3. fears a health system which stops people going bankrupt.
    Apart from that, it’s a great country.

  26. robyndi17 January 21, 2012

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