Gerberry repeats objection

Democrat state lawmaker Ron Gerberry is objecting to plans Republican Gov. John Kasich has to deliver the annual State of the State address outside of Columbus again this year.

Sound familiar? It should, Gerberry did the same thing last year with little effectiveness. His complaints this year will have about the same impact.

Still, Gerberry, of Austintown, has sent a letter to Ohio House Speaker William Batchelder asking that he and Ohio Senate President Keith Faber deny Kasich’s request to move the speech, traditionally held in the House chamber, somewhere else.

Last year was believed to the first the speech was held outside Columbus.

Gerberry said moving it diminishes the ”strong tradition” of the joint session of the legislature, which narrowly voted 52 to 42 last year to move the speech to Steubenville.

In his letter to the speaker, a Republican, Gerberry notes the importance of including areas of Ohio in as many events as possible, but that it’s ”not appropriate” to move the governor’s annual address.

”The moving of this address significantly destroys a historical tradition of Ohio and needs to be stopped before another tradition is lost,” Gerberry says.

Also, he went so far as to note in the letter that it was being released to the media ”with the hope that Governor Kasich will not make his request” to change location.

In addition, moving the speech last year, Gerberry said in the letter, raised concerns of increased financial burden for taxpayers and logistical issues for media, members and staff.

Gerberry went so far last year as to introduce legislation that would have required joint sessions of the legislature together to hear the address to be held in House chambers, but it didn’t require the governor to be present to deliver the speech.

So, the address could have been given anywhere, but if it was outside the Ohio House, it would have had to be transmitted back the House.

The bill didn’t get much attention.

Kasich on Friday asked legislators for their support to move the speech to Lima in Allen County, and he’ll probably get it – Republicans control both the Senate and House. If lawmakers agree, the special session will be Feb. 19 at Lima’s Veterans Memorial Civic & Convention Center.

A news release from Kasich’s office says his decision to hold the speech outside of Columbus is ”rooted in his desire to make state government more accessible to Ohioans and shine a light on communities across Ohio making contributions to the state’s success.”

Earlier in the week, Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols told The Associated Press for a story that the administration doesn’t think that the only important things happen ”at the corner of Broad and High streets,” which for anyone who doesn’t know, is really the center of downtown Columbus.

Nichols went on to say the administration thinks government should be ”closer to the people who are the bosses.”