Ohio’s Census results mean that our leaders have failed us again


America’s Census every 10 years functions like a report card for Ohio’s leaders. And with the recent announcement that Ohio would lose yet another congressional district, Ohio’s officials have failed us yet again. In fact, they deserve a big fat F on their grade cards.

When I first packed up my car and moved to Ohio more than 30 years ago, Ohio had 21 congressional districts, 23 electoral college votes for president and significant clout and funding from Washington, D.C. that resulted from those numbers. However, between the 1990 Census and today, Ohio has lost a whopping six members of Congress – and the clout and funding that went with them.

This year’s Census results are clearly the worst. Why? Because Ohio was one of just two – along with West Virginia – of clearly Republican states to lose a congressional district. The only other states to lose districts were the highly taxed, highly regulated, heavily blue Democrat-governed states like California, Illinois, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania.

Meanwhile, conservative Republican governed states like Florida, Montana, North Carolina and Texas all gained seats. Today, Ohio is the ninth-highest state for residents to move from to another state.

COVID-19 has only worsened this situation. While Republican governors like Florida’s Ron DeSantis, South Dakota’s Kristi Noem and Texas’ Greg Abbott have utilized the fewest restrictions and mandates possible, Republican Gov. Mike DeWine has governed more like his Democrat counterparts in California, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania.

Even now, while most Republican states have reopened their economies and eliminated mask mandates, Ohio’s Mike DeWine continues to dig in his heels to the detriment of all of us. What we know now, and many warned against a year ago, was that we should have never shut down Ohio’s economy and unilaterally imposed these rigorous mask and other restrictive mandates.

Ohioans value their freedom, and they are voting with their feet. And no single person, whether Democrat or Republican, should be able to usurp this freedom without at least some legislative oversight.

Ohioans have a choice. Should our state look more like the growing, vibrant states of Florida, Tennessee and Texas? Or should Ohio look more like the failing, shrinking states of California, Illinois and New York?

Read this op-ed as originally published in The Highland County Press.