Rating the Legislators

Dave Ghose

It's been nine years since Columbus Monthly last put the Ohio General Assembly under the microscope. Back then, the most effective legislator was Jon Husted (now Ohio Secretary of State), the rookie of the year was Josh Mandel (now Ohio Treasurer), the best dressed was Joyce Beatty (now looking sharp in Congress) and the least effective was Diana Fessler (now a consultant for a Bellefontaine artisanal cheese-maker). Needless to say, an update was long overdue.

This summer, we surveyed lawmakers, legislative aides, lobbyists, journalists and Kasich administration officials to find out what they think of the current General Assembly. More than 100 Statehouse insiders responded, giving us an unvarnished view (the surveys were anonymous) of those tasked with representing our interests in Ohio's most important legislative body. To be sure, the results aren't perfect. With Republicans dominating both the House and the Senate, it's hard for a Democrat to do well in our survey. The results are also biased against women and minorities, with the legislature still largely a white boys club.

That said, the project does offer a nice peek inside the doors of the Capitol, answering questions inquiring Statehouse observers want to know: Who's the laziest? The funniest? The most ambitious? The most annoying social media user? And there's hope for those who get dinged. Consider the response of state Rep. Tom Brinkman, who was named worst legislator in our 2003 feature. He took it as an honor. "I'd be embarrassed to compromise as much as these others do-I wouldn't be able to look myself in the mirror," he told the Cincinnati Enquirer back then. Well, this time around, Brinkman didn't get a single vote for "least effective." Better get rid of your mirrors, Tom.

The Results

Bill Seitz and Ryan Smith: The Diplomat and the Street Fighter

Keith Faber: All the President's enemies

Nino Vitale: A caucus of one

Shannon Jones: The Agony and Ecstasy

Sarah LaTourette: Like father, like daughter

Andrew Brenner: Loud and Proud

Wes Retherford: Mr. Happy-Go-Lucky

Franklin County's Expendables

What about Cliff Rosenberger, the speaker?

The Ohio Representative fashion file