There is one area of instant agreement between former Republican governor Bob Taft and his Democratic successor Ted Strickland and that's the need for reapportionment reform.
"The states have become redder and bluer, and the one area we need to look at is - how do we draw the district lines so they are more competitive?" said Taft. "We need to empower moderate voters to have a choice between Republicans and Democrats. If moderates are in there having that kind of a choice, then Republicans or Democrats are going to spend more attention to the center in the country which right now doesn't have much of a voice."
Strickland agrees that the process for drawing lines must be changed prior to the next census in 2020.
"Anything would be better than we have," said Strickland. "The country is polarized and that's reflected in some of the congressional debate we're seeing. But the redistricting issue has become so technically sophisticated that politicians are now choosing their voters rather than voters choosing their politicians."
Strickland and Taft participated in a panel discussion on political reform held at the Ohio State University.
Both former chief executives say the current showdown in Washington, D.C. over the debt ceiling would have made them nervous if they were still governing the seventh largest state in the nation.
"My first budget as governor, with a Republican controlled House and Senate, passed with only one dissenting vote," said Strickland. "It became more contentious in my last two years as I faced reelection, but I remember senate President Bill Harris came to my office, held my hand and said a prayer with me. I can't see that type of behavior taking place in Washington today."
Taft says state government is in a way held hostage to the decision making of Washington. He's particularly concerned about rising interest rates and the loss of 401k's that many Ohioans could face if the nation defaults on its loans.
"I'm deeply concerned about how dysfunctional our federal government is," said Taft. "In state government we balance our budget, we pass our budget on time and we do our business. There's no reason the federal government shouldn't operate like that and we have to figure out a way to get them to do it."