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Government and Politics

Gov. Kasich gets Ohio lawmakers' OK to move the State of the State
The annual address will be in Lima

Karen Kasler
In The Region:
State lawmakers in the House have voted to allow Gov. John Kasich to move his State of the State speech out of Columbus for the second time in history. Ohio Public Radio's Karen Kasler reports.
Moving the State of the State address

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Last year, the idea of moving the governor's speech to an elementary school in Steubenville on the border with West Virginia was almost revolutionary. But Republican Rep. Matt Huffman liked it so much, he suggested holding it in his district in the future. And the governor apparently agreed – proposing to lawmakers to travel to Lima this year. 

“I hope this is a tradition that continues and that this event will go certainly beyond Gov. Kasich’s terms in office,” says Huffman.

But as he did last year, Democrat Ron Gerberry of Canfield near Youngstown argues that moving the State of the State away from the Capitol destroys the historical significance of the speech and demeans its importance. 

“And now what we’ve done is to take one last tradition and we’ve turned it into a political event.”

But Gerberry wasn’t able to convince some lawmakers who had blasted the move of the speech last year – such as Republican Lynn Wachtmann of Napoleon in northwest Ohio. 

“This is an eating of crow, Mr. Speaker.”

Wachtmann says he was surprised at the positive reception Kasich's speech got at its remote location, so he now supports the move. And Youngstown Democrat Bob Hagan made the surprising move to agree with Wachtmann. 

“….if in fact he will support next year having the governor come to Youngstown, because I can build a wonderful stage over an injection well.”

Hagan says the idea of bringing government to his district is a bigger deal than the tradition of holding the speech at the Statehouse,

He acknowledges the State of the State is a political speech – but says that's the case no matter where it is delivered.

Democrat John Carney of Columbus supports the move, but wonders why the speech was moved to 6:30 p.m. Huffman says it’s because the governor and his cabinet will spend the entire day in Lima before the speech that evening.

Eighty lawmakers approved holding the State of the State in Lima, compared to 52 last year.
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