A Message from Mike: Don’t Let Statehouse Politicians Take Away Our Rights

Mike Curtin has a message for Ohio: Don’t Let Statehouse Politicians Take Away Our Rights! Mike is strongly opposed to House Joint Resolution 1, a proposal designed to make ballot measures almost impossibly challenging, and he’s been busy making his views known in op-eds across the state. 

Curtin retired from The Dispatch Printing Company after a 38-year career. Following his retirement from The Dispatch, he served two terms (2013-2016) in the Ohio House of Representatives. Curtin also served on the Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission and co-authored The Ohio Politics Almanac.

Mike Curtin at a press conference on the passage of bond issues.

Here are  some excerpts of his recent op-eds in Ohio newspapers where he lays out the many reasons we should oppose HJR 1:

“Today is ideal for reviewing Ohioans’ long and hard-won fight to win the initiative power. This is the 111th anniversary of Theodore Roosevelt’s address to Ohio’s 1912 state constitutional convention. Roosevelt, the nation’s 26th president (1901-09), was a vigorous champion of the initiative and referendum. He considered them essential to enable ordinary citizens to fight the control monied interest had on elected officials.”  ‘Brazen crookedness’ that lead to constitutional right LaRose wants to seize, Columbus Dispatch, Feb. 20, 2023

“Today, it’s nearly impossible to use the initiative for a proposed amendment like the casino plan − one providing exclusive economic benefits to a group of investors. That’s because, in 2015, Ohioans approved an amendment outlawing it. To overcome that barrier, a special interest would have to persuade Ohio voters to set it aside. That’s why LaRose − to be charitable − is incorrect when he says his proposal ‘is designed to help protect the Ohio Constitution from continued abuse by special interests and out-of-state activists’ No, it’s not. It’s designed for something else entirely. The LaRose proposal aims to take power from Ohio’s citizens − majority-rule power they’ve used judiciously for 111 years − and hand that power over to Statehouse pols.”  Ohio voters won’t be duped by proposed Statehouse power grab, Cincinnati Enquirer, Feb. 16, 2023

“Over the decades, from time to time, Ohioans have decided to use their constitutional rights of direct democracy to make major and minor corrections on tax policy, overriding a General Assembly too beholden to monied interests. It’s highly unlike Ohio’s pragmatic electorate will choose to forfeit that power.”  Demolish any proposal making it harder to amend constitution, Morning-Journal, Feb. 9, 2023

In 1912, Ohioans embraced the initiative and referendum by a landslide – 57.5% of the vote. They did so to check the power of corrupt Statehouse politicians… The Stewart proposal ignores – and insults – Ohioans’ record of good judgment. It would debilitate Ohioans’ 111-year-old right to check Statehouse politicians. It would empower and insulate special interests.”  Flawed effort to make it harder to amend Ohio Constitution will be back, Cleveland.com/Plain Dealer, Feb.3, 2023

“Ohioans adopted the initiative in 1912 to give themselves the power to override Statehouse politicians who, at best, were inattentive to their interests. Or, at worst, corrupt. Today’s Ohioans will not look kindly on Mr. LaRose and Mr. Stewart or any others who try to strip them of their most fundamental constitutional power.” LaRose proposal doubles down in the wrong way, Toledo Blade, Jan. 28, 2023 

“The challenge for Statehouse leaders today, considering proposals for constitutional change to put before Ohio voters, is to understand and honor that heritage, not debase it for short-term partisan advantage.”  Ohioans ‘tie down government more’ than most states and we like it that way, Columbus Dispatch, Jan. 10, 2023