In today’s Chagrin Valley Times, columnist Barbara Christian wrote about our new statehouse representative, Marlene Anielski, a Republican and former mayor of the small (US Census 2000 says 2,400) village of Walton Hills. Christian seeks to highlight our preconceived notions related to party affiliation – the good, the bad and the as yet unknown.
In “Open mind may be hard to keep,” Christian describes a constituent event Anielski held at the Chagrin Falls library about ten days ago at which many attendees wanted to talk about SB5:
She had come to talk to constituents, one on one and face to face. She wanted to hear their concerns and maybe fix them. But while no subject was off the table, it appeared that the only one the majority of people wanted to talk about was one she was not prepared to address, Ohio Senate Bill 5.
That’s the one that seeks to curtail the rights of public employees who are members of labor unions. If passed in present form, at this writing, it would end their right to collective bargaining. It’s the same issue creating its own weather front of protest in Wisconsin these days.
So what’s an elected official to do? From the column:
Mrs. Anielski demurred on discussing S.B. 5, because she is a member of the Ohio House of Representatives, not the Senate, and was not involved with creating provisions of the bill, nor had she read it. As it turned out, she listened to those who wanted to talk about S.B. 5 anyway.
Later, some of those attending the meet and greet said they were surprised to learn that Mrs. Anielski, in deference to the capital letter behind her name, does not oppose unions. In fact, she supported Walton Hills police officers when they decided to unionize. She happened to be mayor of that town at the time. So much for capital-letter stereotypes.
As we now know, several state senators with that capital R next to their names absolutely and unequivocally support not just the right to collective bargaining, but unions themselves and defied that R. I appealed to my state senator, Tom Patton, in writing and with phone calls and of course while his vote against SB5 might have been a given because of his extensive background with unions (police in particular), as we’ve seen, nothing should be taken for granted. Still, here’s a great piece by Talking Points Memo that says something about each of those six.
While the clichéd vision is that voting against one’s party affiliation is hard, to me, the reality is that if you don’t vote your conscience, before you vote as pressured, not only won’t you sleep when you do that, but you will be haunted by that vote one way or another.
I will be emailing my state rep. after I finish this post and I will be calling her, just as I did my state senator. I will be letting her know that I read Barbara Christian’s column, especially the part about her supporting the formation of the police union, and that I recommend she read that bill before she votes. I will remind her that six state senators from her party found the courage to object to a bad bill and that she will have many Ohioans behind her, especially within her district, when she votes against SB5.
I urge all of State Rep. Marlene Anielski’s constituents to contact her about SB5 and reference all these things and whatever else you can think of to assist her in opposing SB5.
Her contact information:
77 S. High St
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Phone: (614) 644-6041
Fax: (614) 719-6956