We are just days into the new year of 2022 and it is all but certain that one of the main storylines of the next ten months will be politics.
Voters here in Ohio will decide a heavily contested open-seat in the United States Senate, as Republican Senator Rob Portman will not seek re-election. Voters statewide will also decide who will serve us as governor, and in the other statewide offices.
Governor Mike DeWine will face a primary challenge from Jim Renacci and Joe Blystone and other Republicans are collecting signatures for a possible bid. DeWine has been in opposition with members of his party as the pandemic has been an unrelenting presence in Ohio since March of 2020. The early days of the pandemic when Ohio won national praise for its quick response to the coronavirus are long gone. The pandemic remains a divisive force in Ohio's politics.
Voters in Cuyahoga County will also choose a new county executive, with current Executive Armond Budish choosing not to seek another term. The new county executive will join the newly elected Mayor of Cleveland, Justin Bibb. The election of Bibb was the latest example of a generational change in leadership that has taken place not only in Northeast Ohio government but within organizations as well.
These races, and others, will be contested as the pandemic continues into its third calendar year, and as voters grapple with the aftermath of the January 6th insurrection. Tomorrow, Thursday, the country will mark one-year since the insurrection at the United States Capitol, where rioters stormed the building in an effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election. A new USA Today/Suffolk University poll found that a majority of Americans believe our democracy is imperiled but interestingly, cannot agree on why.
Later in the show, we hear from the director emeritus of the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Steve Taylor. He has a new memoir out, "Adventures of a Zoo Director." We recently talked to Taylor about his career---that began with him realizing at a young age that he wanted to spend his life helping to save wildlife and wild places.
Thomas Sutton, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science, Director Community Research Institute, Baldwin Wallace University
Richard Andrews, Editor & Publisher, The Real Deal Press
Karen Kasler, Statehouse News Bureau Chief, Ohio Public Radio/TV
Steven Taylor, Director Emeritus, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Author, "Adventures of a Zoo Director"