CINCINNATI (TDB) -- No surprise here. The Hamilton County Democratic Executive Committee won't pick sides in the Democratic primary contest between Steve Black and Vic Wulsin. There won't be an endorsement, the group decided Thursday night. Wulsin was the party's nominee in 2006. Dem insiders have long been saying the party would stay on the sidelines.
ON THE GOP SIDE: State Rep. Tom Brinkman (who is not endorsed by Republican county officials across the district) says that U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt voted against the College Cost Reduction and Access Act last September. Brinkman's campaign argues that the measure -- which had the support of President Bush and 77 House Republicans -- was crucial for Ohio's economy because it expanded access to funds for college education.
In Ohio, Gov. Ted Strickland and the GOP-controlled General Assembly have froze college tuition rates for two years. There is widespread agreement in Columbus that Ohio needs to expand college enrollment -- while holding costs in check -- in order to create a more attractive business climate for jobs growth. Brinkman contends the state economy has been in the tank and Schmidt turned her back on a revival opportunity. A majority of the state's House delegation backed the measure.
At the Sept. 27, 2007 bill signing ceremony, Bush said he had been "looking forward" to putting his signature on the law because it expanded an important and successful higher education initiative. He said Congress had acted to build a better future.
"The other thing is, this is a practical approach to dealing with the fact that we're -- live in an age when technology is transforming the way we live and work. In order for our citizens to be able to seize the opportunities of a new era, they're going to have to have skills that can only be learned through a post-secondary education. That's the realities of the world in which we live. According to one study, 80 percent of the faster-growing jobs in America require some sort of education after high school. Times are changing when we were -- the baby boomers like me were younger -- it's a different era. We're living in a global economy. And we've got to stay competitive as we head into the 21st century, and the best way to stay competitive is to make sure people have access to good education."
Brinkman contends Ohio's economy needs help adapting as manufacturing jobs disappear. He said Schmidt doesn't get it. Ohio's 2nd Congressional District includes five counties in Appalachia, and several are plagued with chronic unemployment and poverty. Often, the only way out is a college degree. Brinkman appears to be settling on an issue that could resonate across the district -- Schmidt turned her back when she had a chance to help Ohioans with crushing college tuition costs.