COLUMBUS — Ohio’s Republican-led government needs “a shower” and must stop “getting all up in women’s business,” Democratic National Committee Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said Friday at what amounted to a pep rally to get out the female vote in November.
“The extremism of [Gov.] John Kasich, and [Secretary of State] Jon Husted, and your [state Treasurer Josh] Mandel, who is just drowning in ethical conflict and scandal — this state needs a shower …,” the Florida congressman said at a roundtable discussion with gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald and other Democratic candidates.
“We’ve seen how quickly all our progress can be undone,” she said. “Your governor is hell-bent on undoing all that progress. The Republican Party, with their war on women, is obsessed with getting all up in women’s business.” Then, with a smile, she added, “I’m making my communications staff cringe, I’m sure.”
Among other things, she pointed to provisions of the state budget seen as denying family planning funding to Planned Parenthood and restricting access to abortion services.
One of those provisions requires an abortion clinic to have an agreement in place for a local hospital to accept clinic patients who experience complications. The state is in the process of trying to close Toledo’s last clinic, Capital Care Network, because it doesn’t consider its agreement with the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor to be “local.”
“The voters in 2010, and in particular the women who voted in 2010, really did not know that what they were putting into office was the most radical, extreme, anti-women agenda in the history of this state,” said Mr. FitzGerald, currently Cuyahoga County executive. He was the only man at the table of candidates and activists.
While the focus was predominantly on the 2014 mid-term elections, Mr. FitzGerald said after the event that the DNC is also looking ahead at 2016.
“I think it’s a factor, yeah,” he said. “The President won in 2012 without a Democratic governor, but I think he would tell you that in 2008 having a Democratic governor was helpful to him ... I think it’s one of the reasons we’ve gotten the encouragement we have at the national level.”
Ohio Republican Party spokesman Chris Schrimpf countered that the answer for all Ohioans, including women, is a stronger state economy.
“Since Republicans took office, over 250,000 jobs have been created improving the lives of thousands of Ohio families,” he said. “Republicans were also the first to put dedicated state funding toward rape crisis centers, and under Governor Kasich 130,000 women have gained access to health care, cancer screenings, and prenatal care.
“Sadly, the Democrats are playing politics with this issue and revealing their gubernatorial candidate, Ed FitzGerald, to be a hypocrite once again,” Mr. Schrimpf said. “FitzGerald pays men $12 an hour more than he does women and employs twice as many men as he does women. It appears that based on their standards, Democrats will soon be removing FitzGerald from their ticket.”
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