Ohio2006 Blog

News, analysis, and comments on Ohio elections.

Thursday, September 7

Ohio House 34th: Silver (D) Demands Explanation of Brinkman (R) Vote Against Tougher Foster Parent Screening

The State of Ohio was shocked by the horrific death of Marcus Fiesel, a three-year-old special needs child who died after his foster parents wrapped him in a blanket, bound him with strapping tape, and went off to a family reunion in Kentucky on the weekend of August 4th. The foster parents have pleaded not guilty to murder charges in Clermont County, with bail set at $10.1 million each.

The Fiesel tragedy occurred in part in the 34th Ohio House District, where challenger Stephen Silver (D-Cincinnati) seeks to oust controversial incumbent State Rep. Tom Brinkman (R-Cincinnati). Readers will recall that Brinkman championed the outrageous House Bill 515 to prohibit lesbian or gay couples from adopting, introduced a bill to outlaw abortion in all cases, was the only Ohio legislator to vote against belated ratification of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (equal protection under the law) in 2003, and was voted Ohio’s “Worst Legislator” by his peers in a Columbus Monthly survery in 2003.

Silver is now calling on Brinkman to explain why he recently voted against Senate Bill 238, a bill that passed 91-4 with broad bipartisan support after 11 special needs children were removed from a Huron County home following the discovery that they were living in cage-like contraptions. The bill provides for computerized collection of information about child abuse or neglect cases and other measures strengthening background checks. “Especially after the death of Marcus Fiesel," Silver said, "this heinous vote demands an explanation."

In his letter to Brinkman, Silver called on the embattled legislator to explain his outrageous vote:
The loss of a small child is always a tragedy, however given the involvement of the people in this district and the manner in which Marcus died, this incident has special meaning. I think everyone here in our district prays that this never happens to another child again. ...

... While [SB 238] doesn’t go into effect until mid -September, many of the provisions of the legislation can, in the future, prevent situations like the one that led to the death of Marcus Fiesel. This was good legislation and was passed by a huge bi-partisan majority of the House (91-4). Your vote, sadly, was NO.

I, like the rest of the citizens of the Ohio 34th House district, want to know why you voted NO on such important legislation. I am calling on you, on behalf of the citizens of Ohio and the young people this bill was designed to protect, to explain your actions. You need to tell us why you felt that protecting our young and defenseless children was not worth your vote. Our vote. ...
Brinkman has a history of rebelling against his own party as well as battling Democrats, as when he urged Republicans to vote for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tim Hagan in 2002 because Gov. Bob Taft had appointed pro-choice Jenette Bradley as State Treasurer, and recently when he wrangled with County Commissioner Phil Heimlich (R-Cincinnati) over a local tax to finance construction of a jail. No word yet on whether or how Brinkman will defend his opposition to tougher screening of foster parents.


At 1:33 PM, Anonymous Muffet said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Sammy for posting this. I have the misfortune of living not only in Mean Jean's district, but also Brinkman's. I think Steve Silver would be a tremendous replacement for Brinkman, who is an idiot.

Brinkman actually got some very bad publicity on WLW radio recently from a right wing host (Bill Cunningham). I'm not sure how much good it will do, tho. Even Joe Deters, our Republican prosecutor could only say: "He will have to answer to the voters." I hope Steve keeps this out in front until November.

At 11:33 PM, Anonymous Reginald said...

Holly Schlaack provides us a guide to the excruciated world of manylittle kids. She tells their narratives of life both earlier and after they enter foster care. Her firsthand, on the ground feel is encapsulated in her list of "A Dozen Ways to Make a Difference," so that the reviewer will be not only involved by these stories but shown a map to help make life better for them. I recommend Invisible Kids for any professional or private citizen who worries about children. (www.InvisibleKidsTheBook.com)


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