Bump in the road: The Ohio Department of Transportation has run out of money for new road/highway projects, as the $1.5 billion generated from Ohio Turnpike bonds has been used up. As cleveland.com’s Jeremy Pelzer writes, state officials now must decide whether to find an alternative source of cash – and many groups say the solution is a gas tax hike.
Sign of the times: New highway signs welcoming people to Ohio and thanking them for visiting are not popular among Ohioans commenting on the internet. As cleveland.com’s Laura Hancock explains, TourismOhio is behind the change of border signs.
Dispatch from the dispensary: Cleveland.com’s Robin Goist talked to the first patient at The Forest Sandusky dispensary to legally purchase medical marijuana Wednesday morning. Ynez Henningsen is an Air Force veteran and has multiple sclerosis. And, as an employee of the Forest’s parent company, Henningsen is enthusiastic to work with other veterans who need cannabis.
High sales: Unsurprisingly, representatives from some of Ohio’s medical marijuana dispensaries told Hancock they did well on their first day, with long lines. However, none reported running out of product, as some had expected. They also said prices are expected to come down in coming months.
Is this seat taken? Former Gov.c may have let his newfound stardom as a CNN contributor go to his head, according to author and comedian Julie Klausner. She tweeted an amusing account Wednesday, complete with photo, about Kasich taking her seat on an Alaska Airlines flight to San Francisco instead of moving from first class to a reassigned premium seat. In one tweet, invoking a Kasich book called “Stand for Something,” Klausner complained, “He would not stand! He sat in my seat!” Chris Schrimpf, a Kasich spokesman, told Capitol Letter: “There was confusion about seating, the airline had given a pilot the Governor’s seat and then chaos ensued. He’s sorry someone lost a seat.”
Leadership change: Ohio House Democrats are holding leadership elections next Wednesday, but it appears that their new team is already lined up, according to multiple sources: Emilia Sykes of Akron as minority leader, Kristin Boggs of Columbus as assistant minority leader, Kent Smith of Euclid as minority whip, and Paula Hicks-Hudson of Toledo as assistant minority whip. If this is how the election ends up, House Dems’ leadership will include three women — two of whom (Sykes and Hicks-Hudson) are black, and one of whom (Hicks-Hudson) is a first-term lawmaker.
Trouble brewing: The federal government shutdown has ramifications for an industry you might not expect: brewers. As cleveland.com’s Marc Bona explains, “The reason for the shutdown’s effect on the world of suds is simple: Beers being brewed in Ohio and distributed outside the state require federal approval.”
Jean’s back on the scene: Ex-U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt tells the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Jason Williams that she’s looking to jump back into politics, filing to run for her old Ohio House seat that’s being vacated after next year by term-limited state Rep. John Becker. The Republican from suburban Cincinnati says she got the itch to return to politics after she began advocating for people wrongfully convicted of crimes.
Gonzalez banks committee seat: Newly seated U.S. Rep. Anthony Gonzalez of Rocky River will be a member of the House Financial Services Committee, his office announced on Wednesday. The committee’s top Republican, North Carolina’s Patrick McHenry, said Gonzalez’s “impressive background in the private sector will allow him to provide critical input and expertise” to the committee. Gonzalez himself said the assignment will help his goals of bringing jobs and small businesses to Northeast Ohio.
That’s not all: Gonzalez has also been named vice chair in charge of outreach for the National Republican Congressional Committee, the House GOP’s campaign arm, according to a release.
Does Sherrod need sex appeal? We didn’t make that up. That’s the actual question raised by Vanity Fair’s Tina Nguyen, who isn’t sold on U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown’s chances to win the White House in 2020. While comparing him to a value stock (“solid fundamentals, priced well below his flashier peers”), Nguyen notes his “younger, diverse” competitors “make Brown look decidedly white and male,” points out he has little campaign infrastructure, and – perhaps worst of all for the hip, image-conscious magazine – “lacks the unpredictability and pizzazz that win social-media mindshare.”
Just say no: Democrats including Toledo U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur told President Donald Trump Wednesday that he can’t take money from communities recovering from natural disasters and use it to build a border wall. Cleveland.com’s Sabrina Eaton has details.
Five things we learned from the May 15 ethics disclosure statement of state Sen. Stephen Huffman, a Republican from Tipp City.
1. Besides his legislative salary of $67,844, Huffman in 2017 earned money as a physician from Keystone Peer Review, Curley Adjustment, Community Care Health, Ohio Medical Transport, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, CompManagement Health Systems, 3-hab, Drynachan, Medical Consultant Network, Sheakley Unicomp, and AllMed Healthcare, among others. From most of those sources, he earned from $1,000 to $9,999 each.
2. He had investments in 2017 with Schwab, the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System and Genesis Drilling Program VI.
3. In addition to his personal residence, he owns three properties on the same street in Lakewood.
4. The Ohio House reimbursed him $2,353 in 2017 for mileage.
5. He reported receiving gifts worth at least $75 from the University of Cincinnati, Ohio State University, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, the University of Toledo, and Bowling Green State University.
On The Move
Mike Dittoe, a former Ohio House GOP chief of staff who managed U.S. Rep. Troy Balderson’s 2018 primary campaign, has become a partner at High Bridge Consulting, an Ohio-based political consulting and PR firm, according to a release.
Blaine Kelly announced he is stepping down as communications director for the Ohio Republican Party to become a policy adviser for state Auditor Keith Faber’s office.
The Ohio Conservative Energy Forum has hired Aaron Dauterman as the organization’s field director.
Straight From The Source
“I dedicated years to the legalization of medical marijuana in Ohio and this is not what I envisioned for people with chronic illnesses. We are more than four months behind schedule, product is incredibly limited and there is still so much work to do until patients have full and continuous access to the medicine they need.”