Howard Wilkinson

Political Reporter

Howard Wilkinson joined the WVXU News Team after 30 years of covering local and state politics for The Cincinnati Enquirer. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Wilkinson has covered every Ohio governor’s race since 1974 as well as 12 presidential nominating conventions. His streak continued by covering both the 2012 Republican and Democratic conventions for 91.7 WVXU. Along with politics, Wilkinson also covered the 2001 Cincinnati race riots; the Lucasville Prison riot in 1993; the Air Canada plane crash at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in 1983; and the 1997 Ohio River flooding. The Cincinnati Reds are his passion. "I've been listening to WVXU and public radio for many years, and I couldn't be more pleased at the opportunity to be part of it,” he says.

In 2012, the Society of Professional Journalists inducted Wilkinson into the Cincinnati Journalism Hall of Fame. 

Wilkinson appears on  Cincinnati Edition, blogs on politics and more, and writes the weekly column Politically Speaking at

Ways to Connect

Background: Private investigator, volunteer firefighter, district manager for Cricket Wireless. A student at Mount St. Joseph University and a graduate of Northwest High School.


Background: A Westwood resident, Frondorf has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Toledo. He manages the preconstruction department at Lithko Restoration Technologies, where he specializes in estimating the cost of preserving historic structures. He has been endorsed by the Charter Committee.


Background: Green/sustainable builder. Bachelor of Music from Northern Kentucky University, Liberal Arts Degree from the University of Cincinnati. He has been endorsed by the Green Party. 


Background: A pastor and consultant. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Science Education from Miami University and a Certificate of Ministry from Lexington Theological Seminary. She is endorsed by the Cincinnati Democratic Committee.


Background: CEO of 767 Group, a child and education advocacy firm; strategic adviser for Cincinnati Preschool Promise, former executive director of the Strive Partnership. A Bachelor of Arts in economics from Ohio University, a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School. He is endorsed by the Cincinnati Democratic Committee.


Background: A native of Oakwood, Ohio and a graduate of the University of Dayton, Maney pursued a career in real estate and moved to Over-the-Rhine. After serving two terms as vice president of the Over-the-Rhine Community Council, he moved to Clifton, where he was active in the Clifton Town Meeting. For four years, he was vice president of a large Over-the-Rhine real estate developer where he oversaw the development of dozens of vacant buildings into apartments, condos and commercial spaces. Maney is endorsed by the Hamilton County Republican Party.


Background: An attorney, he was on city council from 1974 to 1992, serving his final year as mayor. In 1992, he was elected to the U.S. House, but lost the seat two years later to Republican Steve Chabot. He returned to politics in 2013 and was elected to city council, where he serves as vice mayor. Mann is a U.S. Navy veteran who went to Harvard Law School. Mann has the endorsements of the Cincinnati Democratic Committee and the Charter Committee.

City of Cincinnati

Background: Cincinnati council member, and former Procter & Gamble Global Business Development Manager. Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Arizona State University.


Background: Executive Director of CLS Epilepsy Research Foundation Inc. Former teacher. Degrees from Central State University, Payne Theological Seminary and Wright State University. A veteran of the U.S. Navy Reserve and the Ohio National Guard. He is endorsed by the Hamilton County Republican Party.


Background: An occupational therapist and radio talk show host. Working on a PhD at Union Institute and University, has a master's degree in occupational therapy and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Findlay. Twenty-two years of experience in customer service and patient care. She runs what she described as a "small home health care agency."


Background: Former city council member, former TV journalist. Filmmaker and small business owner. Bachelor of Science in communications from Miami University.


Background: A Cincinnati council member since 2011. A graduate of St. Xavier High School, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Xavier University and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Dayton School of Law. He was a Bohnett Fellow for Senior Executives in State and Local Government at Harvard University. He is endorsed by the Cincinnati Democratic Committee.


Background: Cincinnati city council member. A master's degree from Oxford University on a Marshall Scholarship, a Bachelor of Arts degree from Princeton University. He is endorsed by the Cincinnati Democratic Committee.


Background: A professional financial planner. Former president of the Cincinnati NAACP. Holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice from Ohio State University and a Master of Arts in counseling from Bowling Green State University. Elected as an independent. Endorsed by the Green Party.


Background: Prior to founding her own company, Sullivan Communications, she was the first executive director of the Coalition for a Drug-Free Cincinnati, now known as Prevention FIRST!. She also is a former public information officer for the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services. Last year, she founded Girls with Pearls, an organization "to foster leadership and empower girls in impoverished neighborhoods to plan for a brighter future through education, personal responsibility and exposure to opportunity."


Background: Cincinnati city council member, retired Cincinnati police officer. Graduate of the Cincinnati Police Academy. Attended the University of Cincinnati. He is endorsed by the Cincinnati Democratic Committee.


WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson spoke with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday about Mayor John Cranley's attack ads on opponent Yvette Simpson over her stand on the Children's Hospital Medical Center expansion. (Ed. note: Yvette Simpson has pulled out of a Monday night debate sponsored by EmpowerU. The debate was mentioned in the beginning of the chat.) 

Ask just about anybody who knows John Eby of Westwood – Republican, Democrat or Charterite – and they will tell you the same thing:

John would have been a fine Cincinnati city council member.

But he never got that chance; and doesn't seem inclined to try again.

Eby, a director of engineering services at KZF Design, is most passionate about making his neighborhood, the largest in the city, an even better place for all residents to live and work and raise their families.

Jim Nolan / WVXU

Meeting very famous people in politics and the media has always been part of the territory in my line of work.

It generally doesn't impress me much, especially when it is at a presidential nominating convention, where you don't have time to stand around and gape at celebrities. (With one exception, which I wrote about in this column a while back, when I encountered supermodel Christie Brinkley and chatted for a while at a taxi stand outside a Los Angeles hotel in 2000. That got my attention.)

Provided / Cincinnati Public Schools

Lannis Timmons, a long-time high school basketball coach, has been chosen by the Cincinnati Board of Education to fill the vacancy left by the death last month of board member Chris Nelms.


WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about whether or not the endorsements both candidates for Cincinnati mayor are piling up really matter to voters. 

Mark Mallory is a fellow who plays his cards close to his vest.

The former mayor really hasn't been heard from much since he finished up his eight years as mayor nearly four years ago; and when he does say something publicly chooses the occasions carefully.

But now he's stepping out front again; and testing one of the age-old arguments of politics – do endorsements mean anything to voters?

Jim Nolan / WVXU

Dan Quayle.

Now, there's a name from the past you probably haven't thought about lately.

The 44th  vice president of the United States.


WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about the Cincinnati Board of Education's task of combing through 25 applicants for the seat of school board member Chris Nelms, who died last month. All of this is taking place while there is an election on the November ballot for four seats on the school board. 

Ohioans have until the end of the day Tuesday to register to vote in the November 7 election.

Wednesday begins Ohio's period of early voting, for both absentee ballots and those who wish to vote early in person at their county boards of elections.  

"The easiest way to register is actually online,'' said Sherry Poland, director of the Hamilton County Board of Elections.

There's been all sorts of excitement in Cincinnati political circles this year – first, because there is a highly-contentious mayor's race between incumbent John Cranley and challenger Yvette Simpson.

Secondly, the city's politicos are wound up because there are no less than three open seats on the nine-member city council – the one held by Simpson, who can't run for both mayor and council; the one held by Republican Charlie Winburn, who is term-limited out; and the one held by Charterite Kevin Flynn, who could run but has chosen not to.

Jim Nolan / WVXU

Any politician can talk. That's what they do.

Some talk better than others, but everyone one of them can talk and talk and talk.

But talk is cheap.


Four of the seven seats on the Cincinnati Board of Education are up for re-election. One incumbent, Elisa Hoffman, chose not to run again. The race has drawn a large field of candidates – three incumbents and 10 challengers.


WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson spoke with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday about Rob Richardson's run for Ohio treasurer and how it is emblematic of the rise of a new generation of Ohio Democratic candidates from the Cincinnati area. 

Over the years, we have seen hundreds upon hundreds of candidates for political office who get their names on the ballot for offices big and small, and end up getting walloped on election day.

And, very often, those candidates are never heard from again. Maybe out of embarrassment at their poor showing. Maybe because they find that campaigning is too hard and not worth the effort. Or maybe just don't see any way to avoid being walloped again.

Rob Richardson, the labor lawyer and former chairman of the University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees, is not among them.