State Rep. John Boccieri (D-Poland) today cautioned against the partisan state of politics, warning that the picture of Ohio Governor Kasich is expected to paint during tonight’s State of the State address in Sandusky is not reality. The governor is expected to extol his administration’s handling of the opioid epidemic and education crises, as well as discuss the tax changes proposed in the biennial budget.

“Unfortunately, Statehouse politics in Ohio and the rest of the country is like trench warfare these days,” said Boccieri. “You’ll hear a very rosy picture of Ohio this evening from the majority, but in reality, few legislators are reaching across the aisle to find solutions to Ohio’s most challenging problems. I fear the only bipartisanship on display tonight will be my invitation to local Republicans to attend the Governor’s speech.

“In stark contrast to the tone during my first experience in the Ohio House, I am disappointed in the current lack of collegiality among representatives. In the early 2000s, members showed a greater interest in cooperating across the aisle and discussing issues candidly, yet respectfully. Now, the State of the State is just one example of the way partisanship has seeped into state government.

“The event is inherently political by providing the legislature’s majority party an opportunity to claim the progress it’s made for Ohioans. Minority leadership traditionally follows with a rebuttal speech offering a different path for Ohio’s future. Given the deep divisions both in Columbus and Washington, I decided to give my two guest tickets to Poland-area Republicans, County Auditor Ralph Meacham and YSU Government Relations Director Bill Binning. But I do hope the Governor sounds the tone for bipartisanship this evening.”

This year’s event comes after the nonprofit One Ohio Now released a report indicating that Ohio lags the nation on several measures of well-being. The study ranks Ohio 44th in hunger, 39th in high school graduation rates, 32nd in job growth and median income and 39th in infant mortality.

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