Politics

Political news

barbara bush
Wikimedia Commons

Editor's note, updated April 17, 8:03 p.m.: In light of the news that Barbara Bush has died at the age of 92, WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson reflects on a time he met the former first lady. 

When you meet someone in politics who really cares about something, you take notice.

Not just the surface "caring" of political rhetoric written by a campaign speechwriter and delivered in fake sincerity, but someone who cares about certain things deeply, passionately and with every fiber of his or her being. 

Former first lady Barbara Bush is one of those rare people in politics. 

kentucky state capitol building
Peter Fitzgerald / Wikimedia

This year’s Kentucky General Assembly was book-ended by turmoil, but over the course of nearly four months the Republican-led legislature was still able to wrangle the votes to approve politically volatile policies like changing pension benefits for public workers and overhauling Kentucky’s tax code amid intense protests from public workers, especially teachers.

WVXU-FM

Former congressman and Cleveland Mayor Dennis Kucinich picked up a major endorsement Sunday from the Plain Dealer newspaper and cleveland.com. Kucinich has some establishment Democrats worried he might win the Democratic gubernatorial primary. They think former Attorney General Richard Cordray would be a stronger candidate against Mike DeWine, the likely Republican candidate for governor. 

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Update, Monday, April 16: Bevin has now apologized for his remarks

As one of its final acts of this year’s legislative session, the Republican-led Kentucky House of Representatives passed a resolution formally condemning Gov. Matt Bevin for saying that teachers neglected students by attending protests in Frankfort on Friday, leading to child abuse.

Here's a truism in politics:

More often than not, one politician's ugly mess is another politician's dream come true.

Same goes for political parties. One political party spirals down the drain in scandal and another political party rises to the top. (See: "Watergate;" "Resignation;" "Richard Nixon.")

Kentucky state capitol
Alix Mattingly / WFPL, Kentucky Public Radio

On the final day of this year’s Kentucky General Assembly, state lawmakers passed “clean-up” bills that would make changes to the two-year budget and revenue bills that passed into law on Friday.

Last June, you might have read a short story about it in the local newspaper, heard a snippet on the radio, or vaguely recognized a face that flashed on a TV screen.

J. Tyler Franklin / WFPL

Kentucky lawmakers will consider whether to override Gov. Matt Bevin’s vetoes of the state budget and revenue bills and whether to pass any other last-minute bills during the final two days of this year’s legislative session on Friday and Saturday.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

A day after Gov. Matt Bevin signed a bill overhauling retirement benefits for public workers, Attorney General Andy Beshear has filed a lawsuit to try and block it.

jeff hoover
Gage Skidmor / Wikimedia Commons

Former House Speaker Jeff Hoover has admitted that he violated state ethics rules by exchanging sexually charged text messages with a legislative staffer who used to work for him.

Karen Kasler / Ohio Statehouse News Bureau

Early voting kicked off for the May 8 primary elections Tuesday in Ohio and Indiana.

WVXU-FM

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with our Jay Hanselman Monday about the increasingly bitter fight between Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. 

If you happen to be a fan of name-calling, low blows and street brawls, you couldn't help but love Ohio's Republican primary for governor.

Then again, if you do love such things, you might want to set aside some time for quiet reflection.

Look, we can sit here all day and argue about whether Robert A. Taft II – Bob Taft, as he is known, was a good or bad governor for the state of Ohio.

That's a matter of personal judgment.

We can say, without fear of contradiction, that he was the 67th governor of the state of Ohio, serving from 1999 to 2007 as a Republican.

Another thing we can say about Bob Taft: His political party owed him an enormous debt of gratitude for agreeing to put up with the embarrassment of being former governor Jim Rhodes' running mate for lieutenant governor in 1986.

white house
Wikimedia Commons

President Trump's proposed tariffs on 1,300 Chinese products and his Twitter feud with Amazon roiled the stock market. Congress and the White House prepare for a series of confirmation hearings on Trump's Cabinet nominations. And the president announces plans to deploy the military to the U.S.-Mexico border to confront what he calls a growing threat of illegal immigrants.

Wikimedia Commons

The Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission voted to dismiss ethics charges brought against three Republican state representatives, saying there wasn’t enough evidence to show that the men broke ethics rules by secretly signing a sexual harassment settlement with a former staffer.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Kentucky’s Republican-led legislature has passed a new two-year state budget that cuts much of state government in order to put more money into the state’s ailing pension systems.

But lawmakers also approved about $680 million in new revenue by expanding the sales tax to 17 services ranging from auto repair to country club memberships and raising the tax on cigarettes.

city hall
Bill Rinehart / WVXU

The current structure of Cincinnati city government, which calls for shared power between both a strong mayor and city manager, was approved by voters in 1999. But the continuing conflict between Mayor John Cranley and City Manager Harry Black has caused several people inside and outside City Hall to call for changes to how Cincinnati is run.

The Democratic primary for governor in Ohio could well boil down to where the candidates stand and what kind of record they have on gun control.

It's reasonable to believe  the vast majority of Democratic primary voters, in the wake of cold-blooded murder of 17 students and faculty members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, are enraged over the easy access to semi-automatic weapons and are solidly behind the nationwide movement of high school students marching and lobbying for gun control.

Appearing with Mayor Andrew Ginther in Columbus on Monday, Richard Cordray announced his plan to combat the opioid epidemic in Ohio.

University of Cincinnati Political Science Professor Richard Harknett warned congress last month that the U.S. remains at high risk for foreign intrusion in the upcoming midterm elections. 

WVXU-FM

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson spoke with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about the on-going crisis at Cincinnati City Hall over whether City Manager Harry Black stays or goes. 

city hall
Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Last updated Sunday, March 18 at 9:27 a.m..

For weeks, Cincinnati City Manager Harry Black and Mayor John Cranley have been involved in a very public dispute about the city manager's future as a city employee. How did we get here? WVXU’s City Hall reporter Jay Hanselman breaks it all down with a timeline of events.

Hate to say I told you so.

But I told you so.

Some people find it hard to believe, but there was a time early in my career that I was known to the public as primarily a humor columnist.

It's true. From 1977 to 1982, at the Troy Daily News, I had a column that ran in the Sunday magazine section called And Another Thing…Don't ask me how, but it became wildly popular in Troy; aside from the sport pages, it may have been the most read thing in the paper.

Beats me how it happened. But it made me a celebrity of sorts in that small town in western Ohio.

rebecca johnson
J. Tyler Franklin / WFPL

The widow of a state lawmaker who killed himself late last year will not run in this year’s primary or general elections to fill her husband’s vacant seat.

Rebecca Johnson announced her candidacy the day after the death of her husband Rep. Dan Johnson, a pastor from Bullitt County, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in December.

So, what does it mean when the professional tea leaf readers move a congressional race from a Likely Republican status to a Leans Republican status?

Well, we are about to find out.

That's exactly what Sabato's Crystal Ball, one of the nation's leading trackers of races at the state, congressional and presidential levels, did this week with Ohio's 1st Congressional District, which has been held by Republican Steve Chabot in all but two of the past 25 years.

Having been something of a class clown growing up in Dayton, Ohio, terrorizing many an innocent grade school teacher at Cleveland Elementary School with my pranks and wise-acre behavior, I suppose it's not surprising that, as an adult, I would get my chance to be a genuine circus clown.

Complete with greasepaint, baggy pants, and dozens of skinny balloons stuffed into my oversized pockets to turn into balloon animals for the kiddies.

WVXU-FM

WVXU Politics Reporter Howard Wilkinson talk with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday about what appears to be a push by lame-duck Gov. John Kasich to keep his political career going after he leaves office at the end of the year.  He appears to be preparing to run for president again.

Part 2 of a two-part Tales from the Trail:

Sometimes, I don't believe it either.

I've had a career covering politics where I have gone to 16 presidential nominating conventions, Democratic and Republican.

More than any one human being should have to bear.

I shouldn't complain, though, even in jest. I've visited some great American cities, seen a few baseball games in some ball parks I might never have gotten to, and, from time to time, actually witnessed American history being made.

And told the story.

Pages