Howard Wilkinson

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.)

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This November Ohioans will vote on Issue 2, which would require state agencies to pay no more than the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for prescription drugs.

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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?

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.

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Civil rights lawyers Morris Dees and Joseph Levin, Jr. founded the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in 1971. Since then the civil rights organization has battled white supremacist groups though the courts, winning multimillion-dollar jury verdicts on behalf of their victims.

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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.

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.

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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.

First Lady Barbara Bush was one of the most popular presidential spouses of my lifetime.

She was also one of the most politically savvy First Ladies we've had.

I found that out in early October 1992 in, of all places, a chili parlor in downtown Cincinnati.

She was here for the day campaigning for her husband, President George H.W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States. Her husband was locked in a brutal and ultimately unsuccessful re-election campaign.

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North Korea's Foreign Minister says President Trump's tweets serve as a declaration of war, giving North Korea the right to shoot down U.S. jets, even in international airspace. The special counsel is looking into the flow of money with ties to Russia into Trump political funds. 

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WVXU politics writer Howard Wilkinson spoke with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday about the origin of his off-beat politics column, Tales from the Trail, and where it is going from here. You can find Tales from the Trail here.

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