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

Adrien and Rick Segal of Fairfield, both honorary Ohio delegates here in Tampa, were eating eggs and sausage at the Ohio delegation breakfast Wednesday morning, talking about the excitement of being at the Tampa Bay Times Forum for the first night of the convention.

Adrien Segal was particularly impressed by the speech the nominee's wife, Ann Romney, delivered to the convention last night, telling personal stories about her life and marriage to a man who may become president.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich Tuesday night gave a full house at the Republican National Convention in Tampa a glowing  report of all the good things he says have happened in Ohio since he took office, but blamed President Obama for holding the state back.

"When I came into office we were 48th in the country in job creation,'' Kasich said in an eight-minute speech to the delegates at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. "We had 89 cents in our rainy day fund. Most kids have more than that in their piggy banks."

House Speaker John Boehner grew up in Reading, where his father ran a bar where he and his brothers swept the floors as kids.

Tuesday night, as speaker of the House and permanent chairman of the Republican National Convention, he started out his speech to open the evening session with a story from the bar in Reading.

"My dad and my uncles owned a bar outside of Cincinnati,'' Boehner said. "I worked there growing up, mopping floors, waiting tables. Believe me when I say I learned how to deal with every character who walked in the door.

Many of the nearly 500 Ohio delegates, alternates and guests were on the floor of the Tampa Bay Times Forum Tuesday night wearing special "Buckeye Badges,'' hand-made by Fran DeWine, the wife of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.

Fran DeWine has painstakingly made the hundreds of badges for each of the last six Republican conventions.

They feature real buckeye nuts that come from the trees on the DeWine family farm near Cedarville.

"It's a lot of work, drilling through all those buckeyes,'' her husband said. "They're tough nuts."

Many of the nearly 500 Ohio delegates, alternates and guests were on the floor of the Tampa Bay Times Forum Tuesday night wearing special "Buckeye Badges,'' hand-made by Fran DeWine, the wife of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.

Fran DeWine has painstakingly made the hundreds of badges for each of the last six Republican conventions.

They feature real buckeye nuts that come from the trees on the DeWine family farm near Cedarville.

"It's a lot of work, drilling through all those buckeyes,'' her husband said. "They're tough nuts."

Tuesday morning, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum - who battled Mitt Romney for the GOP nomination and lost - talked to the Ohio delegation about some issues that they hadn't heard much about since they arrived in Tampa

Abortion. Same sex marriage. The government's role in promoting contraceptives.

"We're fracturing the family in this country,'' the conservative Catholic from Pennsylvania told the Ohioans at their daily delegation breakfast. "As much as we like to talk about the economy and jobs, we are fracturing the base of our society, the family."

Tuesday afternoon, as the first session of the delayed Republican National Convention was unfolding on the floor of the Tampa Bay Times Forum, House Speaker John Boehner made a bold assertion to Ohio reporters.

"You've all heard people talking about elections in the past being the most important election in their lifetimes,'' Boehner said, with Sen. Rob Portman of Terrace Park sitting at his side.

"They're wrong,'' the speaker from West Chester said. "This is the most important election in our lifetimes."

Ohio Senate President Tom Niehaus, of New Richmond in Clermont County, has been involved in Republican politics for 20 year, but this week's Republican National Convention in Tampa is not what he expected, with a tropical storm, canceled sessions and tornado warnings.

But, then again, he didn't know quite what to expect.

"This is all new to me,'' said Niehaus, before the Ohio delegation breakfast at the Mainsail Suites Hotel and Conference Center in Tampa.

Ohio senator Rob Portman will play the role of President Obama in Mitt Romney's preparations for the presidential debates, CNN reported.

Portman has done this before many times for GOP presidential and vice presidential candidates.

He's played Joe Lieberman and John Edwards for Dick Cheney in 2000 and 2004; and Al Gore and John Kerry for George W. Bush in the same years. He also played Hillary Clinton for New York State's Rick Lazio in his unsuccessful run for the Senate against Clinton, who is now secretary of state.

House Speaker John Boehner of West Chester - who is general chairman of the Republican National Convention in Tampa - is scheduled to make a speech to the delegates at the Tampa Bay Times Forum at 7 p.m. tonight.

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