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Politics is big in these parts, and we’ve got it covered. John Arthur Hutchison and other staff writers will offer their inside information on the events, big news and little moments of the local political scene in Lake, Geauga and eastern Cuyahoga counties.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Kasich continues his budget pitch in Lake County

Lake County was once again in the spotlight this past week as part of ongoing discussion about the state’s upcoming biennial budget proposed by Gov. John Kasich.

The governor appeared Wednesday night at the Lake County Republican Party’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner where he worked the crowd to support his proposals that include tax reform and an expansion of Medicaid.

Also in attendance were other statewide officials including Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted and Ohio Supreme Court Justice Judith L. French, whom Kasich appointed Jan. 1.

Noting of his surroundings, Kasich immediately acknowledged he will need to appoint a new Lake County Probate Court Judge and he joked that everyone in the room seemed to be a candidate.

All kidding aside, the governor has not backed down on his desire to accept federal funding to help Ohio expand Medicaid despite objections from conservatives who continue to voice concerns that it will lead to more government dependency and who say there is no guarantee that the federal government will honor its pledge to provide 100 percent funding for the first three years.

Many Republicans aren’t happy with the governor’s budget proposal because of the Medicaid expansion. Democrats typically are pleased by the expansion but oppose the budget on many other points especially the idea to expand the sales tax base to include services that are not subject to the tax.

How the state budget shapes out will likely have an impact on how the governor is perceived if and when he formally announces a re-election campaign.

As the 2014 election of statewide office holders starts to come into focus, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald appears to be the front-runner in the Ohio Democratic Party to run against Kasich.

If FitzGerald does in fact run for governor that would create an opening for Cuyahoga County executive.
Among the local Democratic names who may have an interest is state Rep. Armond Budish of Beachwood, who served as Ohio House Speaker in 2009 and 2010.

Prior to this development, many thought Budish would (and still may be) consider a run for Ohio Senate District 25, which includes half of Lake County.

Budish is termed out and cannot seek re-election to the Ohio House and sources indicate he’s considering a run for executive.

Ohio Senate District 25 could also play out to be important statewide, as state Sen. Nina Turner, D-Cleveland, who currently represents the district, could run for Ohio Secretary of State in 2014. She hasn’t made a decision on whether to seek re-election or to run statewide.

Activists and supporters really want her to run for statewide office and the Ohio Democratic Party even released a website to urge her to do so.

If Budish and Turner run for the aforementioned offices, that potentially opens the door for two former state Reps. — Ed Jerse of Euclid, and Kenny Yuko of Richmond Heights.

Jerse last served as a state legislator in 2004, when he could not seek re-election due to term limits. That opened the door for Yuko’s election and he also served four terms before term limits prevented him from running last November.

Jerse also has some experience campaigning in Lake County as he ran for Ohio’s 14th Congressional District in the 2004 Democratic Primary, when he finished second to Capri S. Cafaro, who now is a state senator representing District 32, which includes a portion of Geauga County.


n Dennis Morley will host a kickoff fundraiser for his Eastlake mayor campaign, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. April 17 at Trader Jack’s Riverside Grille in Eastlake. See Donna Vaughn or Barb Morley.

n Lake County Commissioner Judy Moran will host a fundraiser from 5 to 7:30 p.m. April 18 at Dino’s Banquet Center in Willoughby. See Kathy Russo.

n Willoughby Hills Councilman Kevin D. Malecek’s Annual Cinco De Mayo Fundraiser, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. May 1 at Willoughby Hills Community Center. See Malecek or Nora Colburn.

John Arthur Hutchison
Twitter: @newsheraldjah

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