Ask anyone: Governor stops for dogs

WARREN – The lucky charm at the end of John Kasich’s St. Patrick’s Day rainbow Monday wasn’t a pot brimming with gold, but a dish with dogs – hot dogs, that is, topped with chili.

Kasich and some of his top aides made an unplanned stop at the famous Hot Dog Shoppe – known far and wide for its dogs with sauerkraut, cheese and chili – to dine at the Warren landmark and chew the fat with the dinner crowd. Earlier, he talked the latest jobs numbers, Medicaid expansion and other policy initiatives with the Tribune Chronicle, and after, he would head off to Niles for his appearance at the Mahoning Valley McKinley Club dinner.

The Republican ordered two chili dogs and opted to skip cola in favor of water.

”Great, I had two,” said Kasich when asked for his opinion on the meal.

”How’s it going?” Kasich asked manager Heather Jakubec. ”Look at all these people.”

After polishing off his meal, Kasich began working the crowded room, stopping at the counter seats of Ken and Doris Cope of Howland, who had their photo snapped with the governor by one of his aides.

Afterward, Ken told a reporter that he and his wife were Republicans and she quipped, ”Maybe the only two” in the restaurant.

The governor also had a photo taken with 4-year-old Ella Newbrough, but this wasn’t the young girl’s first photo with a top elected official. Ella’s dad, James, said she had her photo taken with Vice President Joe Biden at the Canfield Fair – that was when the Democrat blew through the Mahoning Valley in 2012, making a few presidential campaign stops.

”Oh, the vice president,” said Kasich, who ended the brief conversation by trying unsuccessfully to get a smile from the shy Ella.

Greg Moody, director of the Office of Health Transformation and Timothy Keen, director of the Office of Budget and Management ordered the same meal, one dog with cheese and sauerkraut. Rob Nichols, the governor’s spokesman, went big, getting a super dog with chili and cheese.