Marilou Johanek

Marilou Johanek

Marilou Johanek is a veteran Ohio print and broadcast journalist who has covered state and national politics as a longtime newspaper editorial writer and columnist.


For the everlasting love of Edison and community. R.I.P “Edisonman”

By: - January 31, 2023

Eight years ago, a retired educator from a rural village in northeast Ohio arrived at the Ohio Statehouse on cloud nine. I found Don Gfell standing next to an antique Edison phonograph with a custom-made wooden horn he likely crafted himself. He was beaming. That’s all. Unbridled joy.   I’d seen that look of exhilaration many […]


Republicans falsely created mistrust in elections and are now citing it to justify attacking voters

By: - January 24, 2023

Do not fall for the Great Election Integrity Hoax. It goes like this: Politicians, courting MAGA love, keep the myth alive that massive voting fraud is real. Either explicitly or implicitly, they perpetuate the lie concocted by a sore loser who fraudulently tried to overturn his election defeat. The kicker? They cite (unfounded) mistrust in […]


DeWine, Ohio Republicans redefine natural gas as ‘green energy’ in service to fossil fuel industry

By: - January 17, 2023

Folks in my line of work are wise to the “Friday night news dump.” It’s an old tactic used by politicians and PR types who have to release unfavorable news they don’t want anyone to see. Pols never drop good news late on a Friday afternoon (or over a holiday) when the public is less […]


After betraying the U.S. Constitution, Jim Jordan laughably claims that he somehow cares about it

By: - January 10, 2023

Jim Jordan went there. I had to replay C-SPAN to be sure. But early in last week’s embarrassing Republican spectacle, over what is now a purely ceremonial U.S. House speakership, Ohio’s own coup-plotting congressman feigned fidelity to the U.S. Constitution he was willing to trash two years ago. Seriously. Of all people, Jim Jordan, the […]


Good riddance, Rob Portman

By: - January 3, 2023

Good riddance, Rob Portman. As a now former U.S. Senator from Ohio, you will be remembered not as a principled statesman but as a moral coward. We, your constituents, hoped for better from you but it never came. Even after Jan. 6 you couldn’t summon the courage to convict a traitorous ex-president for what you […]


Peace on Earth and goodwill to men? Only if the hearts of justice persist against the forces of hate

By: - December 20, 2022

“I heard the bells on Christmas day, their old, familiar carols play; and wild and sweet the words repeat of peace on earth, goodwill to men.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s words, transformed into a beloved Christmas carol, are almost quaint today. Reminiscent of a time when the wistful sentiments were within the bounds of possibility.  But […]

The waterfall at Ash Cave in Ohio's Hocking Hills State Park. Getty Images.

DeWine should veto drilling threat to state parks falsely labeled ‘green energy’

By: - December 13, 2022

Ohioans love their state parks. I’ve been to seven this year. Had lots of company. The log of daily visitors is surging at the parks. Overnight stays jumped 26.5% from 2017 to 2021. Try booking a campsite or cabin in the summer — or fall. Everybody wants one. The lure of solitude and escape in […]


Checks on Ohio GOP’s gerrymandering to be tested in U.S. Supreme Court case being heard Wednesday

By: - December 6, 2022

Ohio Senate President Matt Huffman is on pins and needles. The U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments this week on an elections law case that could make his life as Ohio’s premier despot a lot easier — or not. The highly anticipated Moore v. Harper is brought by Huffman’s kindred spirits in the Republican-controlled North […]


Frank LaRose and Ohio Republicans have launched an all-out assault on voters and democracy

By: - November 29, 2022

Right now, at least, Ohioans can bypass an out-of-step legislature and go straight to statewide voters to remedy wrongs and enshrine rights in the Ohio Constitution. It is not an easy process by design. No slam dunk. But amending the state constitution through citizen-led ballot initiatives gives people power to change policy that politicians won’t.  […]


Newly elected state school board member calls GOP plan to gut powers ‘Tornado from hell’

By: - November 22, 2022

Former state Sen. Teresa Fedor got out of the Statehouse before the last vestiges of democratic governance were flattened by a power-hungry party on steroids. She knew a cyclone of destructive GOP legislation, super-charged by an unstoppable Republican juggernaut in the General Assembly, would be devastating. It is already bearing down fast on voting rights, […]


Democracy has been mortally wounded in Ohio, but Ohioans must keep fighting for it

By: - November 15, 2022

Wisconsin dodged the democracy bullet. Not Ohio. We’ll get to that. But before last week’s election, Wisconsin GOP gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels was caught on tape saying the quiet part out loud. “Republicans will never lose another election in Wisconsin after I’m elected,” he promised. Translation: His victory would seal one-party “voter-proof” control in the […]


No matter what happens Election Day, the next two years are poised to be politically ugly in America

By: - November 8, 2022

The good news is the 2022 campaign is over. It’s been quite a slog in Ohio. Juvenile candidates almost coming to blows. Vile MAGA interlopers spreading the hate. State Republicans ignoring the rule of law to get unconstitutional legislative and congressional districts on the ballot. Again. Two costly and unnecessary primary elections with record low […]