Nov
7

My thoughts on last night

I sincerely congratulate Casey Weinstein for his successful result last night. The unofficial tally is 49.5% to 50.5%.

I am so thankful to my wife, my parents, my staff, my friends and family, and all of the supporters who wrote a check, accepted a yard sign, or told their friends. You made this difficult journey a lot easier. I had a group of determined people behind me, and I’ll never be able to repay them.

We were losing by 11% in early September. Then a judge in Youngstown made one of the most befuddling and unsupportable court decisions I’ve ever seen, levying sanctions against me and my firm. We looked dead in the water. But my team rallied. We ultimately took a lead in October. However, that lead apparently vanished in the last stretch of the race. Regardless, I’m proud of how we did this.

From the very beginning, I knew we were facing a big challenge for two reasons:

(1) Independent voters in the district had turned deeply against President Trump. Only 22% had a favorable opinion of him; 66% had an unfavorable opinion. As much as we explained that a State Representative has no impact on federal government, I think a lot of independents were motivated to vote a straight-ticket Democrat ballot, from U.S. Senate to Ohio House. It’s noteworthy that the 37th District voted about the same for me as it did for Congressman Dave Joyce, who is actually involved with federal government.

(2) Casey was the best Democrat running in any Ohio House district, incumbent or newcomer. I’m referring mainly to his marketing skills, military background and speaking ability–but also other intangibles, such as the ability to motivate his base. In our conversation last night, I half-jokingly told him I wished I had a different opponent. Like him or not, he comes off very well. Casey has earned this by working hard, and he deserves a lot of credit for a huge accomplishment.

I have received probably hundreds of messages, calls, texts, etc since last night. People know how much I poured into this race. Conventional wisdom is that someone who invested so much, only to lose, would be devastated.

I’m not. I have no sorrow. Rather, I have genuine joy.

“Joy? You’re nuts, Mike.”

I believe in a supreme being who is personal, who cares about me, and who has wisdom that far exceeds mine. My plans were to serve people in the State Legislature. His plans are something different.

I’ve gone through disappointing career shifts in the past. Layoffs in the journalism industry led me to law school. A poor market in the legal industry opened an opportunity to run for city council. A narrow disappointment in running for the State House will lead to …. I don’t know, but I’m not going to pretend my plans are better than God’s. I trust God, because he has proven the truth of Romans 8:28 to me, time and time again (“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”).

This race took a lot out of me over the last year. I basically took a sabbatical from my law firm, foregoing a chunk of income. I gave up my favorite things in life (golf, the daily newspaper, working out). Laura and I dug into our personal funds to pay for campaign expenses. I missed valuable time with my daughter and wife. The stress and anger of being shelled with false and negative attacks is not something you can fathom.

For those of you asking, politics is off the radar.

Two final notes for my supporters:

  • Please don’t grieve for me. I have a lot of peace about this.
  • Give Casey Weinstein a fresh start in your mind. Why? Because the divisive nature in politics won’t change unless we take the lead. Someone has to set the example. Why not us?

I plan to go dark from social media for awhile. I can’t wait to be a dad without being a candidate.

Oct
25

TEN IDEAS: Repeal Unnecessary Barriers to Obtain Occupational Licenses

Each time there is a bad actor who causes harm, the government examines how to prevent it from happening the future. This is appropriate. But it’s inappropriate when industry insiders lobby the legislature or regulators to create barriers to entry that have only a pretextual connection to consumer protection. Oldest trick in the book. And it hurts middle-class Ohioans.

In the 1950s, 5% of jobs required a government license. Today, that number is 25%. And an unlicensed person earns 7% less in income than a person with a license.

Ohio is as bad as any other state. For instance, the regulations on hair salons contain 42,420 words. You literally need a lawyer to get it right. If you’re already in the business, it helps to have high barriers, because it reduces competition. But for someone who is seeking to exit a minimum-wage job, and seeking to find a real career, it is an impediment.

As with yesterday’s idea to remove barriers of entrepreneurship, this idea will have wide bipartisan support. President Obama has expressed his desire to roll back licensing regulations, for the very same reason: it hinders opportunity for upward mobility (see link). By eliminating unnecessary licenses, we can increase economic opportunities, promote healthy competition (i.e., good for consumers), and encourage innovation.

Senate Bill 255 is a great start. I’ll support it in next year’s General Assembly.

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