The Legislative Update is brought to us by Liz Powell, Esq., MPH, Founder of G2G. Liz is an attorney with 20 years government experience, including as Legislative Director on Capitol Hill. She leads a team of bipartisan professionals that has raised over $50M, run advocacy campaigns and shaped CMS reimbursement for clients.
Here is an update on what is happening in the Capitol and around the state.
As always, please let us know any questions.
Many Ohio races were a nail biter up to the end for the November 6th midterm election. Ohio ultimately stayed red with Republicans sweeping all statewide seats and maintaining control in both the House and Senate. The legislature resumes November 14th for a lame-duck session after its election hiatus.
The Governor’s race was nearly tied in all polls for weeks leading up to the election. Ultimately, Mike DeWine won with 50.66% of the vote. Cordray ended with 46.45%, which was not as close as many had predicted but a large step up from the 2014 gubernatorial race when Kasich took the seat by more than 30 points against his opponent Ed Fitzgerald. DeWine won 79 of Ohio’s 88 counites and took more than 70% of the vote in 15 of them.
The Democrats hoped to clinch at least one statewide seat but were ultimately unsuccessful. The closest race was between Keith Faber and Zack Space for State Auditor. Days before the election, Space stopped making campaign appearances to be with his ailing mother who entered hospice care. Faber managed to take the seat with 49% of the vote to Space’s 46%.
Current Auditor Dave Yost will get a promotion to Attorney General defeating Steve Dettelbach with 52% of the vote to Dettlebach’s 47%. State Senator Frank LaRose and State Representative Robert Sprague will also enter statewide seats for Secretary of State and Treasurer respectively.
Republicans will also maintain control as a supermajority in both the House and Senate. Democrats did, however, net a pick-up of five seats in House, three being in Franklin County. They include Mary Lightbody for the Anne Gonzales seat; Beth Liston for the Mike Duffey seat; Allison Russo for the Jim Hughes seat; Casey Weinstein for the Kristina Roegner seat; and Phil Robinson for the Marlene Anielski seat. The Democrats lost the 59th House District seat, covering most of Mahoning County. The seat, currently held by John Boccieri, was won by Don Manning by about 400 votes. The House will now be made up of 62 Republicans and 37 Democrats.
The final count for the Ohio Senate is still unknown as the race for the 3rd Senate District still has not been called. Currently, Republican Anne Gonzales leads Democrat Tina Maharath by just over 300 votes but there are about 1,600 provisional votes yet to be counted. If the Republicans hold this seat, it will result in a loss of one seat for the Democrats, after John Boccierri lost to Mike Rulli in the 33rd Senate District, currently held by Joe Schiavoni, leaving the Senate make-up at 25 Republicans and 8 Democrats. If Gonzales wins, there will be an interesting dynamic in this district between the House and Senate, as all three Representatives for the district are Democrats.
Ohio Supreme Court
The currently all-Republican Ohio Supreme Court will add two Democrats, appeals court Judge Melody Stewart and Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Michael Donnelly. Although each judicial candidate identifies with a party, Ohio’s courts and judges are officially nonpartisan. The court has seven members.
Ohio voters defeated Issue 1, a constitutional amendment that would have reduced the penalties of some drug crimes, emphasizing treatment and moving away from incarceration. The measure was defeated with 63.4% of Ohioans voting against. While many Ohioans said they appreciated the intent behind Issue 1, it was widely criticized as too permanent because it would have changed the Ohio Constitution which is difficult to alter if necessary.
Implications from Ohio Election
JobsOhio will remain and the direction of that and Third Frontier can be influenced in the year ahead. New board members will be selected as well. G2G talked with the DeWine team about the need to infuse state dollars into small businesses, not just the Amazons of the world, and to return Third Frontier to its previous role of awarding $1-2M R&D grants to companies. G2G has also worked with Husted over the years who will head up much of the “Innovate Ohio” efforts. As for longer term impact, with Republicans in control in Ohio following the 2020 Census, the districting decisions will continue to slant Republican. Ohio is expected to lose 1-2 U.S. House seats following the 2020 Census so we likely will have consolidation of districts down from 16 to just 14 in the 2022 elections. This would mean less power in Congress as Ohio won’t be represented on as many committees.
OHIO DEFENSE FORUM
In October, the 2018 Ohio Defense Forum, arranged by Congressman Mike Turner (R-Dayton), focused on Ohio’s major defense regions, who have federal support from Ohio’s Congressional delegation, but need a joint statewide effort to expand facilities and attract further investment for existing programs.
The opening panel, chaired by Congressman Brad Wenstrup (R-Cincinnati), gave regional updates from every part of the state. Panelists shared that Ohio needs a collective plan for improving military infrastructure and facilities. Looking forward, there should be a balanced approach and comprehensive focus on defense assets once a new gubernatorial administration and General Assembly takes office. Kasich’s administration only includes the adjutant general. Panelists agreed there should be a state office focusing solely on improving defense installations. The Ohio House’s Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) and Military Affairs Task Force recommended a similar office in its May report and its chairman, Rep. Rick Perales (R-Beavercreek), introduced legislation to that effect, HB696. The bill has not received a hearing but may move during the lame duck session or be re-introduced in the next General Assembly.
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB) is the state’s largest single-site employer, with a $4.3B local impact and associated growth in defense industry contractors in the Dayton area and Southwest Ohio. This has led to efforts to fill the need for STEM jobs and research partnerships among the base and the University of Dayton and Wright State University. Currently, JobsOhio is not involved in increasing or retaining military jobs.
Other panels included: Updates on Ohio’s defense and VA installations, using advocacy to advance defense initiatives, updates on the State of Ohio’s defense investments, discussion of the new Cyber Reserve legislation, and a keynote from the Under Secretary of the Army, Ryan McCarthy.
Mayor Jackson Delivers State of the City
Mayor Jackson delivered his 13th State of the City address in October. He spoke about new programs in everything from fighting crime, helping troubled youth, and promoting economic development. He noted the accomplishments of programs like his summer jobs program for youth and additional programs at the city’s recreation centers, programs the city could afford because of a 2016 tax increase. That tax increase also brought additional police officers and firefighters. He also pointed to the $400M his administration has invested in 1,000 development projects during his 13 years as mayor, a strategy that continues under his $65M Neighborhood Transformation Initiative, a program unveiled last year that is beginning with redevelopment along East 105th Street in the Glenville neighborhood.
Open Columbus City Council Seats
Councilmember Michael Stinziano will replace Clarence Mingo as County Auditor in 2019, after winning 57% to Mingo’s 43%, leaving an open seat on Columbus City Council for another potential appointment. The Franklin County Auditor seat has not been held by a Democrat in 80 years. Stinziano’s will be one of two empty seats in Council next year, as Councilmember Jaiza Page moves on as Judge of the Court of Common Pleas. Both Stinziano and Page have served two years on City Council.
Ohio’s 1st Congressional District
Following the primaries, Democrats were hopeful to pick up Steve Chabot’s congressional seat with Aftab Pureval, a race that was often in the spotlight. In the end, Chabot maintained his seat. Warren County was all Chabot needed to win. He won Warren County by a 33,000-vote margin. Pureval made up some of the ground in Hamilton County, getting 54% of the vote, a margin of 17,000 votes, but still about 16,000 votes short.
G2G (Government to Growth Consulting), LLC is a consulting firm specializing in assisting businesses and non-profit organizations. G2G provides comprehensive consultation in the fields of government affairs, economic development, grant writing, public relations, and event planning. G2G also has extensive experience in the areas of lobbying, advocacy, fundraising and grassroots organizing.