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For the past 15 years, Republicans have held a firm grip on Ohio’s legislature, boasting supermajorities in both the Ohio House and Senate. Throughout this period, Ohio has seen the leadership of John Kasich as governor for eight years, followed by the moderate approach of Mike DeWine for the last five years. Despite Ohio’s status as a +8 Donald Trump red state, the effectiveness of Republican governance in Ohio has been called into question, especially when compared to other Republican-led states like Florida and Texas.

One of the glaring issues faced by Ohio under Republican leadership is the sluggish growth of its private sector. Over the last three decades, Ohio’s private sector has expanded by a mere 17.5 percent, significantly lower than the national average and trailing behind both pro-union and right-to-work states. The state’s job growth has been lackluster, with private-sector employment still below its peak from over two decades ago. The pandemic further exacerbated these challenges, with Ohio’s private-sector recovery ranking poorly compared to other states.

Critics point to the handling of economic development initiatives, such as JobsOhio, as contributing to Ohio’s economic woes. Despite substantial investments and projects, like the deal with Intel, Ohio has faced setbacks and failures, casting doubt on the effectiveness of such strategies in fostering robust economic growth.

In addition to economic concerns, Ohio’s fiscal policies have also come under scrutiny. While state spending has surged by 60 percent in 12 years, significant portions are allocated to Medicaid, following Kasich’s expansion under Obamacare. The state’s heavy reliance on income tax revenues to fund spending highlights a lack of diversity in revenue sources and raises questions about long-term financial sustainability.

On cultural and social issues, Ohio Republicans have faced challenges in enacting conservative policies, with setbacks seen in areas like gambling expansion, marijuana legalization, and abortion legislation. The state’s failure to address these issues strategically has led to cultural shifts that some conservatives find concerning.

Overall, there’s a sentiment among conservatives that Ohio lacks bold and effective leadership, contrasting sharply with states like Florida and Texas, where strong governance has led to economic prosperity and policy successes. The call for real leadership and meaningful policy changes resonates as Ohio navigates its challenges and seeks a path towards revitalization and growth.