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Editorial - Taft's greatest feat might be leaving office

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 28, 2015 at 3:46 PM

It's the end of an era.

Well, sort of if you can call Bob Taft's eight years in the governor's mansion an era.

Taft, who will leave office Sunday and whose final act was signing the Core Curriculum legislation Wednesday, certainly unified Ohioans in their utter disapproval of the job he's done as governor and the way he conducted himself in office.

Specifically, pleading no contest to state ethics law violations and the Coingate scandal probably did him in, though the Legislature's continued refusal to deal with the school funding system and the state's economic woes also contributed to his record low approval ratings. (Let's just say Taft's numbers were so bad, the Browns might actually score more points in a single game).

This is how history will remember Bob Taft: First sitting Ohio governor to ever be convicted of criminal charges; a disgrace and a laughing stock.

In fairness, Taft did manage a few positive accomplishments.

His Third Frontier Project, a billion dollar job creation program focused on high-tech research and job growth, was at least an acknowledgment that the state must move away from a manufacturing-based economy and was a push in the right direction for Ohio.

Tied to the Third Frontier Project was the universally applauded state issue 1 on the November 2005 ballot a $2 billion bond initiative that is designed to provide $1.35 billion for local governments to pay for construction projects. And, while the state can't fund them from the inside, Taft pushed for a policy to set aside state funds to renovate and rebuild crumbling and cramped schools. He also hopes his last act in office, the Ohio Core Curriculum, will help students on the inside as well.

Taft will, rightly so, be mostly remembered for the disasters and scandal that occurred during his tenure. Disasters that helped usher in the Democratic wave that includes new Gov. Ted Strickland and broke up years of single party rule in the Statehouse.

It is fitting, perhaps, that the shake up in Columbus could go down as Taft's greatest accomplishment.

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