Governor-elect John Kasich is quickly assembling his leadership team

Just hours after declaring victory Governor-elect John Kasich began naming people to key positions within the upcoming administration:

  • In his first announcement, Kasich named his campaign manager, Beth Hansen, as his chief of staff. Hansen was Senator George Voinovich's long-time State Director before joining the Kasich campaign.
  • Kasich also created the new position of state policy director and named Wayne Struble to the job. Struble was Kasich’s policy director when he chaired the U.S. House Budget Committee in the 1980s, more recently serving as U.S. Representative Steve Austria's Chief of Staff. Struble will coordinate the governor's policy initiatives in the cabinet.
  • In his first cabinet appointment, Kasich announced that Ohio's next Budget Director will be Tim Keen, the Senior Policy Advisor to the Ohio Auditor of State. Keen was previously an Assistant Director of OBM, and briefly the Director following the resignation of Director Tom Johnson in February 2006, under Governor Bob Taft.

Kasich has continued to name cabinet directors at a steady pace throughout November, including:

Representative James Zehringer (R - Ft. Recovery) - Department of Agriculture

  • Representative Zehringer currently represents the 77th House District, which encompasses Mercer and Preble counties as well as portions of Darke County. He currently serves as the Ranking Minority Member of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. Zehringer is the former owner and operator of the Meiring Poultry and Fish Farm.

Bob Blair - Department of Administrative Services

  • Blair is the retired development director at EMH&T Engineering, and served 18 years in state government, serving as both human resources director and assistant director in the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and also as director of human resources at the Ohio Department of Transportation.

Senator Steve Buehrer (R-Delta) - Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC)

  • Senator Buehrer currently represents the 1st Senate District, which includes Defiance, Fulton, Hancock, Hardin, Henry, Paulding, Putnam, Van Wert, Williams and parts of Auglaize County. He currently serves as chairman of the Insurance, Commerce and Labor Committee. Buehrer has a long history of working in government, having previously served as a chief of Human Resources at BWC, director of Legislative Affairs for the Ohio Bureau of Employment Services and deputy director of the Ohio Department of Administrative Services.

Jerry Wray - Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT)

  • Wray will be taking on the job for the second time, having previously served as the director of ODOT under former Governor George V. Voinovich from 1991-99. Prior to that Wray was the Licking County engineer and deputy engineer from 1977 to 1991 and an ODOT engineer from 1969-77. He recently has been a marketing engineer for U.S. Bridge in Cambridge, Ohio, which manufactures pre-engineered bridges.

Kasich still has approximately 20 cabinet level appointments to make, including such important departments as Education, Job and Family Services, Rehabilitation and Correction, and Taxation. One department whose fate remains unclear is the Ohio Department of Development. Kasich announced during the campaign that he intends to privatize the economic development aspects of the department and reassign its remaining responsibilities to other departments.

Ohio House and Senate Chambers choose their leaders

Each of the chambers have announced their leadership teams for the 129th General Assembly, with few changes from the current session.

House

Bill Batchelder (R-Medina) - Speaker of the House

Lou Blessing (R-Cincinnati) - Speaker Pro Tem

John Adams (R-Sydney) - Majority Whip

Cheryl Grossman (R-Grove City) - Assistant Majority Whip

Matt Huffman (R-Lima) - Majority Floor Leader

Barbara Sears (R-Sylvania) - Assistant Majority Floor Leader

 

Armond Budish (D-Beachwood) - Minority Leader

Matt Szollosi (D-Toledo) - Assistant Minority Leader

Tracy Heard (D-Columbus) - Minority Whip

Debbie Phillips (D-Athens) - Assistant Minority Whip

Senate

Tom Niehaus (R-New Richmond) - Senate President

Keith Faber (R-Celina) - President Pro Tem

Jimmy Stewart (R-New Albany) - Majority Floor Leader

Shannon Jones (R- Springboro) - Majority Whip

 

Capri Cafaro (D-Hubbard) - Minority Leader

Shirley Smith (D-Cleveland) - Assistant Minority Leader

Edna Brown (D-Toledo) - Minority Whip

Jason Wilson (D-Columbiana) - Assistant Minority Whip

Speaker-elect Bill Batchelder also has selected two important committee chairs. Representative Ron Amstutz (R-Wooster) was selected to lead the House Finance and Appropriations Committee. Amstutz, who has spent close to 30 years in the Ohio House and Senate, currently serves as the Ranking Minority Member on the committee. Joining him as vice-chair will be Representative-elect John Carey (R-Wellston). Carey, who is returning to the House, comes to the committee with several years experience as the chair of the Senate Finance and Financial Institutions Committee.