State Rep. Tom Letson has made the first round of cuts for an open seat on the Ohio Public Utilities Commission.
The Warren Democrat said Friday that he made a list of nine possible and has an interview for the position Jan. 17 in Columbus.
''At this point, I made the top one-third of the class,'' Letson said. ''I hope to make the next cut, which is the top half of the class.''
Twenty-six people originally applied for the seat.
A 12-person nominating committee will continue to whittle down the number to three or four people and present those names to Ohio Gov. John Kasich to make the appointment, which should happen by the end of January.
The seat became open Jan. 1 due to the resignation of Democrat Cheryl Roberto, who in November announced her last day on the five-person commission was Dec. 31.
Whomever is selected will fill Roberto's unexpired term and it's presumed will be appointed to another five-year term beginning April 11.
If picked, Letson, just re-elected to his fourth consecutive and final term in the Ohio, would automatically receive a pay raise.
The salary range for a PUCO commissioner is between $73,715 and $157,995 and Letson, including a stipend for being a ranking committee member in the House, earned $68,000 last year. The governor will set the salary.
Another if: If Letson is picked, he would have to resign from his House seat. House Democrats would pick his replacement.
It's too early to speculate on who would be in line to replace Letson, but if he is selected, there definitely will be a line forming.
How your representatives voted on a package to avoid the so-called ''fiscal cliff'': Democrat Tim Ryan and Republicans Bill Johnson, who represents southern Mahoning County, and Steve LaTourette, who used to represent northern Trumbull County, all voted yes.
Johnson said the deal clears the table to address the ''out-of-control federal spending that has amassed a $16 trillion national debt head-on.''
Ryan said before the House passed the measure that the agreement it was time for everyone ''to put aside the desire to get 100 percent of what they want'' and pass the bill for the ''good of our country.''
Also, the phrase ''fiscal cliff'' topped the Lake Superior State University's 2013 List of Banished Words, as well it should have.
The university on it's web page for the list says it believes if Congress keeps the U.S. from tumbling over the cliff, which it did, the banishment should get some of the credit.
One woman who commented on the school's website said the phrase made her want to throw someone off a real cliff. Another woman commented she wished, just once, the matter would be referred to as a financial crisis.