William Hershey used his weekly columns as the Akron Beacon Journal’s Washington correspondent to send letters home from a foreign country with strange and self-important ways. The columns looked at how members of Congress from Ohio contributed to the headlines and what the headlines meant for readers in terms of issues such as the economy, clean air, trade and the United States’ place in the world. The columns also kept readers up to date on the victories and setbacks of Ohio’s national hero, Democratic U.S. Sen. John Glenn, the first American to orbit the earth. They also previewed Ohioans who would go on to become major players in Ohio and national politics, including John Kasich, Rob Portman and John Boehner who became Ohio governor, U.S. senator and U.S. House speaker, respectively. The columns explained how presidential candidates succeeded or failed to woo voters in the nation’s premier battleground state. Some columns focused on everyday Ohioans who came to Washington to protest nuclear weapons or speak up for better bus service. From time to time the columns looked beyond the official federal city to the “real” Washington where many residents struggle to just get by in the midst of the federal government’s plenty.
Bill Hershey’s columns are time capsules about our politics and politicians. America’s favorite swing state, Ohio, has produced many of the nation’s best known statesmen, and Hershey has insights into all of them—gathered together into this readable volume. —Larry J. Sabato, Director, University of Virginia Center for Politics
Bill Hershey is everything that is great about journalism — a scrupulous reporter who follows the facts. His columns for the Beacon Journal were a must read when he was in Washington. —Jack Torry, former Washington bureau chief, Columbus Dispatch/Dayton Daily News
Bill Hershey spent his career letting readers know what their elected officials were up to – with wit, brevity and utmost clarity. —Michael F. Curtin, coauthor of The Ohio Politics Almanac
Bill Hershey wrote readable, witty, and insightful columns about such notable Ohioans as John Glenn, Howard Metzenbaum, Mary Rose Oakar, John Boehner, and John Kasich. In his breezy writing style, Hershey gave an unvarnished and balanced view of those he covered as the lead political columnist for the respected Akron Beacon Journal. Teddy Roosevelt once said, “The one thing I don’t understand is Ohio politics.” Clearly Teddy did not have the advantage of reading Hershey’s columns for a better understanding. —Mary Anne Sharkey, former Politics and Opinion Editor at The Plain Dealer, co-editor of Ohio Politics (Kent State University Press), and Fellow, Institute of Politics, Harvard University
About the Author
William Hershey spent more than 40 years reporting on Ohio government and politics at the local, state and national levels. He was the Akron Beacon Journal‘s Washington correspondent and Columbus Bureau Chief for the Beacon Journal and the Dayton Daily News. He was a major contributor to coverage that won the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for the Beacon Journal staff for reporting on Sir James Goldsmith’s attempted takeover of the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. He is co-author with John C. Green of Mr. Chairman: The Life and Times of Ray C. Bliss. He holds a B.A. in history from Albion College and a M.S. degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He was a Peace Corps volunteer in Ethiopia. A native of Flint, Michigan, he lives in Columbus, Ohio, with his wife Marcia.