Speaker of the House

December 20, 2011

For the past several months, the Walrus has been wondering, “Who is John Boehner, and how did he become Speaker of the House?”

Rep. Boehner was elected to Congress to represent the residents of the 8th Congressional District in the State of Ohio. The 112th Congress was elected from districts based on the Census of 2000. There are 435 congressional districts in the U.S., and each district is a geographical division of a state containing a population of about 720,000 people from which one member of the House of Representatives is elected.

As Speaker of the House, Rep. Boehner is exercising extraordinary power over the government of the United States. This is very puzzling because I know I never had an opportunity to vote for him, and as I’ve asked around, I haven’t found anyone I know who voted in an election where John Boehner was a candidate.

What I observe is that Rep. Boehner (and his Lieutenant, Rep. Cantor) seem to be disconnected from the American value system, yet with sufficient power to be able to control critical outcomes which will impact all of us Americans for years to come.

Many of us had the opportunity to observe the federal government shutdowns in 1995 and 1996, orchestrated by then-Speaker Newt Gingrich during the Presidency of Bill Clinton. Given the long and close relationship between Gingrich and Boehner, one has to stop and ask, “Could this be déjà vu all over again?”

The Walrus thought you might like the opportunity to see some facts (yes, these are REAL facts) on the 8th District in Ohio. Note that most of the District falls into the Dayton Metropolitan Area, yet the 8th District was carefully drawn to exclude the City of Dayton (population 141,527) from the District.

Boehner himself is from the township of West Chester, Ohio which is located in the SE corner of Butler County, Ohio. Butler County is part of the Cincinnati–Middletown, OH-KY-IN MSA.

My look at a map of this District led me to think that this might be a poster child for gerrymandering, but further research would be required to support that hypothesis.

State of Ohio: 8th Congressional District
Geographic and Demographic Highlights

The City of Troy is the county seat of Miami County, Ohio as well as the largest city in this county with a 2010 population of 25,058. Troy is part of the Dayton Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Miami County population is 102,506 with a land area of 409 square miles.

Darke County, Ohio has a population of 52,959 with a land area of 600 square miles. The county seat is the City of Greenville, population 13,227. Physically located on the western border of Ohio, Darke County is contiguous to Wayne County, Indiana.

Preble County, Ohio has a population of 42,270 with a land area of 426 square miles. The county seat is the City of Eaton, population 8,407. Preble County is also on the western border of Ohio, contiguous to Union County, Indiana.

The District also includes some rural and semi-suburban areas of Butler County, Mercer County and the northeast corner of Montgomery County.