It's spring break for state lawmakers, so that gives us time to revisit some important issues and topics. For instance, Ohio's population of people over 60, which is the 7th highest in the nation. By 2035, half of Ohio's population will either be people over 65 or children - and those folks don't earn much money or pay much in taxes, but do tend to use government services. The coming "silver tsunami", as some have called it, inspired one of the state's leading social services and public policy research groups to look into its impact on the state budget and spending. Jon Honeck from the Center for Community Solutions and Bill LaFayette, an economist who's also the founder of Regionomics, created a report on the impact of the "greying of Ohio". But a group that advocates on behalf of people 50 and over says that report is not the full picture. AARP's executive vice president Nancy Leamond recently traveled through Ohio recently to talk about its study on what it calls the Longevity Economy.
There have been 63 governors of Ohio, and six of them have served two separate terms in the state's top executive office. The legacy of the last multiple term governor, James Rhodes, lives on in many minds, and now in the pages of a book that's been described by another governor, Bob Taft, the first "thorough, balanced biography of this dominant political personality and amazing human being." The book "James A Rhodes: Ohio Colossus" tracks the rise of Rhodes from his modest upbringing in Jackson County to his athletic accomplishments to his long political career, beginning on the school board and ending as one of just six governors anywhere in the US who served four four-year terms.
The book is so comprehensive and well-researched it has three co-authors - former Plain Dealer reporter Richard Zimmerman, who started the book before he died, former Plain Dealer and Associated Press reporter Tom Diemer, and Lee Leonard, who reported for UPI and the Columbus Dispatch until he retired a few years ago. In November, I asked Lee Leonard about the complex legacy of Jim Rhodes - both the controversial times, such as his nasty losing campaign against Dick Celeste in 1986 and the tragic shootings at Kent State, but also his reputation as a dealmaker and a consummate politician who got things done.
April 3, 2015