The State of The State, Union Is…..

As a reporter covering State of the Union/ State / City addresses over the years I always waited for the line “THE STATE OF THE ________ IS STRONG AND GETTING STRONGER!  (Lawmakers wild applause!).

We have not heard that line a few years.

As Governor Strickland and President Obama give their annual addresses this week we’ll hear the somberly optimistic rhetoric that comes with a recession, two wars and threats of terrorism.

For Ted Strickland, he has some explaining to do.  Ten months before his re-election he will try to explain why Ohio has lost 340,000 jobs since he took office and how he plans to reverse that trend.  Likely he will claim Wall Street and the worldwide recession are to blame for Ohio’s job woes.  He could also claim that despite this economic calamity he balanced the state budget without a tax increase ( Remember, it was an income tax cut delay.) while maintaining funding for education.

President Obama’s State of the Union address is a little tougher to predict.  Will he give up on healthcare reform or challenge Congress to finish the job?  Will he eat humble pie or say, Massachusetts voters be damned – we’re still in charge!?  We could get a combination of the two.

For Ohioans, the address is very important.   President Obama certainly will lay out his plans to stimulate the economy and create jobs.  Not a moment too soon for Ohio which has an unemployment rate tickling 11%.

With the Democrats super-majority gone in the US Senate, healthcare reform is on life support.  Some Democrats suggest the House should just approve the Senate healthcare plan.  If the president surprises us and suggests that course of action, it could put  Congresswoman Mary Jo Kilroy in a bind.  She voted for the House plan but opposes parts of the Senate plan.  A tight re-election fight in a slightly right leaning district could cause her to abandon a ‘better-than-nothing” healthcare reform package.

Climate change legislation is a huge issue for Ohio.   Coal production and coal based electricity generation is a very large part of Ohio’s economy.   Many pundits say cap-and-trade legislation is dead for now because of the loss of the super-majority in the Senate.  Listen to what the President says about the issue – it will have a direct impact on your utility bill and possibly your job if you work in a factory that relies on coal-generated electricity.

Whether it’s strong and getting stronger or weak and getting weaker, the state of our union and state is one thing – interesting.

You can listen to the State of the State address Tuesday at noon on WOSU 820 am and wosu.org, and watch it on WOSU Ohio.

You can listen to the State of the Union addresss Wednesday at 9pm on WOSU TV, WOSU 820 and wosu.org.

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