LIMA — For former state Rep. and current state senate candidate Matt Huffman, the central messages of both the Republican and Democratic parties has led to more state and local victories for Republicans, a message he brought to the Allen County Republican Party during its monthly luncheon held Friday at the Lima Eagles Aerie 370.
“Essentially, our party’s emphasis is on rewarding people for working hard,” he said. “If you go to work and you work hard, you’re going to get rewarded. The other party’s emphasis is to tell people, ‘You’re getting a raw deal and you should be made at somebody.’ If we tell our kids, ‘Go to school and be mad at your teacher, or be mad at your coach that you can’t play,’ is that the message you want your kids to have? No, it’s, ‘Overcome adversity. Sure, you’ll get a bad deal sometimes, but get up, dust yourself off and work hard.’”
Coupled with that message is the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, which Huffman pointed to as a factor for the Democratic Party losing what was a longtime foothold in many local and state government.
“Back since the Depression, Democrats had controlled the House and Senate, and now, essentially, things have changed,” he said. “A lot of Catholics, who were culturally and traditionally Democrats, coming from Irish families and from the east to this part of the country, because the Republican platform is pro-life and the Democrat platform is pro-abortion, a lot of those Democrats have slowly, over the last 40 years, become Republican.”
With that shift came more Republican control in local governments, especially in northwest and west central Ohio, according to Huffman.
“Most elected office holders in places like Putnam and Mercer counties were Democrat,” he said. “There are now very few Democrat elected officers. You’ll find some occasionally, like the engineer in Darke County, who is a Democrat. But he’s also been in office for 37 years.”
Huffman then pointed out that while there were only 20 Republican controlled legislatures 20 years ago, 30 out of 50 state legislatures are now completely controlled by Republicans, while seven are split and 12 are Democrat controlled.
Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0390 or on Twitter @Lima_CKelly.