Journalist diagnoses Ohio

Sara Huebner

‘Plain Dealer’ opinion editor visits campus

Every economic indicator for Ohio shows the state is headed in the wrong direction, and by the year 2316, Ohio’s population will be zero, said Plain Dealer Opinion Editor Brent Larkin, who spoke last night in the Student Center on the topic of “Ohio Politics 2006: Issues and Races” as a part of the Friends of the Library lecture series.

Provost Paul Gaston introduced Larkin last night and said, “Brent Larkin represents an endangered species of reporters. He reports on issues as he sees them. He doesn’t worry about whose feathers he is going to ruffle.”

And Larkin wasn’t worried about ruffling any feathers last night as he gave his opinion on the race for Ohio’s next governor, as well as what Ohio’s government is doing to higher education.

“Thirteen days from now, Ohio will begin the process of electing the next governor,” Larkin said. “Ohio has a population of over 11 million people, and, as of tonight, only three people have the chance of being Ohio’s 67th governor.”

Ken Blackwell, Jim Petro and Ted Strickland are all prospective governor candidates, but each has his downfall, Larkin said.

He explained that the old Ohio left when George W. Bush was elected president again in 2004, and the balance of power in Ohio was no longer in the cities, Larkin said.

“The Ohio I used to know doesn’t exist anymore,” Larkin said.

Republicans have been in control in the state of Ohio for more than 16 years, Larkin said.

“But don’t sell the Democrats short,” he said. “They can screw this election up for themselves.”

Larkin touched on the issue of higher education in Ohio and how Ohio’s population of college-educated people is one of the lowest in the country.

In San Francisco, 45 percent of residents have college degrees. In Cleveland, only 14 percent have college degrees, he said.

Larkin also said that right now, Ohio is paying the price for timid and mediocre government leadership in the past.

“Shame on them for what they have done to this state,” Larkin said. “But shame on us for letting them do it.”

Contact libraries and information sciences reporter Sara Huebner at [email protected].