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 wvxu.org.

Ways to Connect

The Democratic National Convention Committee just announced that President Obama's Thursday night acceptance speech has been moved out of the open air Bank of America football stadium because of the threat of severe weather in Charlotte.

It will be moved back to the Time Warner Cable Forum, the basketball arena where the first two nights of the convention are being held.

Organizers had hoped to have a crowd of about 70,000 for the acceptance speech in the stadium that is home to the Carolina Panthers of the NFL.

Jim Messina, the campaign manager for the Obama-Biden re-election campaign, came to the Ohio delegation breakfast Wednesday morning telling delegates that they know they will be outspent in Ohio, but that the Obama  campaign will turn out the voters.

"We need to make the 2008 from-the-ground-up election look like Jurassic Park,'' Messina told the delegates and guests gathered for the daily delegation breakfast at the Oasis Shriners Lodge.

The oddest thing that has happened yet to the Ohio delegation to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte happened this morning at the delegation's breakfast at the Oasis Shriners' Lodge.

The Ohio Republican Party and the Romney campaign in Ohio delivered an over-sized decorated cake to the breakfast - and the Ohio Democrats were not amused.

The cake had a message: "It's impossible...it's unpatriotic...We're not better off."

In a seven-minute speech at the Democratic National Convention Tuesday night, former Ohio governor Ted Strickland used the example of several Ohio workers to illustrate his argument that President Obama's rescue of the auto industry helped turn around Ohio's economy.

And he pointedly said that Obama's opponent, Mitt Romney, opposed the bailout of the auto industry.

Nate Davis of Cincinnati -  who spent four years as a Marine and served for 11 months in Iraq - took the stage at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte to tell Democrats here and the nation how the Obama administration has helped him achieve his dreams.

"With every step, he's had a huge impact on veterans,'' said Davis. "Not only did he get us what we needed overseas, he's been there for us at home. He's helped us get jobs, gotten guys help for PTSD, stood strong with military families."

Cincinnati firefighter Doug Stern - who campaigned hard to repeal Senate Bill 5 in last year's election - told the crowd at the Democratic National Convention Tuesday night that the Republican Party is guilty of an assault on working people - particularly public employees like firefighters and police officers.

"Republicans must stop obstructing the middle class,'' said Stern, a member of Cincinnati Firefighters Local 48 to the crowd at Time Warner Cable Arena. "They must pass the president's jobs bill."

Actress Ashley Judd - native Kentuckian and actress - provided some star power to Tuesday's morning's breakfast of Ohio delegates at the Oasis Shriners' Lodge in Charlotte.

Judd, who lives in Tennessee, made a brief speech to the Ohio delegates where she brought up a subject that had yet to be mentioned in any of the Ohio delegation meetings - abortion.

Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory spoke briefly to the Ohio delegates at their morning breakfast in Charlotte Tuesday; and got a good-natured laugh out of the audience with a joke.

"The dynamics of this election dictate Ohio will decide the election,'' Mallory said. "Hamilton County is the key to that. Cincinnati is the largest entity in Hamilton County. And I am the mayor of the city of Cincinnati.

"So, as mayor of Cincinnati, I am the most important person in the world,'' Mallory said, joining in the laughter from the crowd.

Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory spoke briefly to the Ohio delegates at their morning breakfast in Charlotte Tuesday; and got a good-natured laugh out of the audience with a joke.

"The dynamics of this election dictate Ohio will decide the election,'' Mallory said. "Hamilton County is the key to that. Cincinnati is the largest entity in Hamilton County. And I am the mayor of the city of Cincinnati.

"So, as mayor of Cincinnati, I am the most important person in the world,'' Mallory said, joining in the laughter from the crowd.

Ohio Senate Minority Leader Eric Kearney of North Avondale had a personal story about Barack and Michelle Obama to tell the Ohio Democratic delegation at its morning breakfast Tuesday.

Kearney told of reading newspaper story in 2003 about a young state senator from Illinois who was planning on making a long-shot run at a U.S. Senate seat in 2004.

"I went home to my wife, showed her the story, and said you have to read this,'' Kearney said.

His wife, Jan Michelle Kearney, an attorney, looked at the newspaper clipping and matter-of-factly said, "Oh, that's Barack."

Kathleen Sebelius, the Cincinnati native who Secretary of Health and Human Services, came to the Ohio delegation breakfast in Charlotte Tuesday morning telling her fellow Ohioans that they "are the key to this election."

Sebelius, a former Kansas governor who is the daughter of former Ohio governor John J. Gilligan, took up the question that Mitt Romney's campaign has been asking in campaign stops since the GOP convention last week - are you better off now than you were four years  ago?

"Are you better off?,'' Sebelius said. "You bet you are."

Kathleen Sebelius, the Cincinnati native who Secretary of Health and Human Services, came to the Ohio delegation breakfast in Charlotte Tuesday morning telling her fellow Ohioans that they "are the key to this election."

Sebelius, a former Kansas governor who is the daughter of former Ohio governor John J. Gilligan, took up the question that Mitt Romney's campaign has been asking in campaign stops since the GOP convention last week - are you better off now than you were four years  ago?

"Are you better off?,'' Sebelius said. "You bet you are."

Cincinnati firefighter Doug Stern, who appeared in TV commercials last year urging voters to repeal Senate Bill 5, will speak at the first session of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte tonight.

Stern, a member of Cincinnati Firefighters Local 48, will speak briefly sometime between 6 and 7 p.m. tonight.

His subject, no doubt, will be Senate Bill 5, the Republican-backed legislation which would have limited the collective bargaining powers of public employees such as police, firefighters and teachers.

Former Ohio governor Ted Strickland said he won't mention the man who beat him for re-election, Gov. John Kasich, by name in his speech tonight to the Democratic National Convention, but told WVXU he will "straighten out the falsehoods" he says the GOP governor uttered.

"I'm not going to talk about Kasich,'' Strickland told WVXU in an interview late Monday afternoon in the lobby of the Hilton at University Place hotel, one of two hotels the Ohio delegation is using in Charlotte. "All Kasich did was talk about himself."

Dennis Lieberman and Tom Ritchie, the Democrats fired from the Montgomery County Board of Elections for  defying Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted's order on early voting hours, were treated as conquering heroes by the Ohio Democratic delegates in Charlotte Monday morning.

At Monday morning's Ohio delegation breakfast, delegates gave Lieberman and Ritchie a standing ovation as they took the stage at the Oasis Shriners Lodge.

"I'm not a hero,'' said Lieberman, saying that his father, a combat military veteran was the true hero. "I just stood up for people's right to vote."

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