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Group studying Ohio college costs wraps up work: Capitol Letter

September 5, 2018

Group studying Ohio college costs wraps up work: Capitol Letter

Rotunda Rumblings

College costs: A group looking at how to keep college affordable met Tuesday for the last time and will prepare a report for the public, Gov. John Kasich and the General Assembly. The report from the Joint Committee on Ohio College Affordability will likely recommend legislation and highlight practices that could benefit students if more schools adopted them, committee member Rep. Michael Duffey said. 

Silver senator: During the start of state Sen. Kris Jordan’s divorce trial last week, it was revealed that the Delaware County Republican purchased more than $200,000 worth of silver. As cleveland.com’s Jeremy Pelzer reports, Jordan didn’t mention his silver investments when he successfully pushed through a bill in 2015 to exempt silver and other bullion investments from Ohio sales tax. 

Valentine gift: Senate District 19 Democratic nominee Louise Valentine is touting an internal poll showing her leading Republican Andy Brenner 39 percent to 36 percent among likely voters. But it’s worth noting that Valentine’s lead is within the poll’s 3.7 percent margin of error, Green Party nominee Gary Cox wasn’t included in the poll, and the automated phone survey was conducted back in mid-July (which helps explain the 21 percent of voters who were undecided). 

Admit one: After two hard-fought (and narrowly won) campaigns, Republican Troy Balderson will officially be sworn in Wednesday at 5 p.m. as the new congressman from Ohio’s 12th Congressional District, according to a release from his campaign. Balderson will finish the term of Republican Pat Tiberi, who stepped down in January. He’ll have to beat Democrat Danny O’Connor a second time in November to clinch a full term starting next year. 

Escape from L.A.: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, a potential (but long-shot) 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, is continuing his tour of swing states with a three-day visit to Ohio this week, according to a Garcetti release. Garcetti is slated to make stops in Youngstown and Cleveland on Thursday; Cleveland, Akron, and Columbus on Friday; and Cincinnati on Saturday. He’ll be accompanied by Dayton Mayor/ex-gubernatorial candidate Nan Whaley throughout the trip. 

Half-truths: A Politifact review of Mike DeWine’s claims that Richard Cordray allowed rape kits to languish while the Democrat was Ohio attorney general is missing some context, the fact checking website concluded. 

New PAC: Planned Parenthood is launching a super PAC, hoping to raise and spend $1.5 million before the midterm election on all statewide races, writes the Columbus Dispatch’s Marty Schladen. 

Koch and a smile: Americans for Prosperity, the Charles and David Koch-backed conservative organization, endorsed U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot and seven other Republicans in competitive re-election campaigns, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. 

Fight over farm bill: Cleveland.com’s Sabrina Eaton explains the disagreement between the U.S. House and Senate over the food stamps section of the farm bill. The farm bill is meant to replace legislation expiring at the end of September. 

Just add Pepper: Cleveland.com’s Andrew Tobias and Seth Richardson spoke with Ohio Democratic Party Chair David Pepper in the latest episode of Ohio Matters, cleveland.com’s politics podcast. Pepper discussed working with Vladimir Putin, being kidnapped and robbed and his views on the Democratic Party, along with how and why he accumulated so many parking tickets. 

Rader releases ad: Democrat Betsy Rader, who is challenging U.S. Republican Rep. Dave Joyce in November, released the first television ad for her congressional campaign. It highlights her personal story and promises that she will fight for affordable health care, cleveland.com’s Olivia Shackleton reports. 

Ratings shift: CNN has changed its ratings for 14 congressional contests, including three in Ohio. Two of those moved toward Democrats, while one moved toward Republicans. 

Talking Obama: Cleveland.com lead politics reporter Seth Richardson will moderate a discussion with Brian Abrams, the author of “Obama: An Oral History,” at Loganberry Books in Shaker Heights on Thursday. The discussion runs from 7-8:30 p.m. and includes a Q&A session with the author, who interviewed numerous Obama administration officials to give an insider’s look into his two terms in the White House.

Divulging details: Republican Mike DeWine and Democrat Richard Cordary answered tough questions from the Columbus Dispatch, such as what movie they think is the best. As Darrel Rowland reports, the gubernatorial candidates showed their personalities, but also answered questions on relevant issues such as whether NFL players should be punished for kneeling during the National Anthem. 

Party publicity: Constance Gadell-Newton of the Green Party and Travis Irvine of the Libertarian Party understand that they do not have enough political traction to win the election for governor in November, the Dispatch’s Randy Ludlow reports. Rather, they both want to promote their parties, communicate what their parties stand for and establish a brand. 

Trump effect: Republican Rep. Jim Renacci supports President Donald Trump but disagrees with him on some polices. Sen. Sherrod Brown, the Democrat Renacci wants to unseat, finds himself aligning with Trump on some trade issues. Jessica Wehrman of the Dispatch explains the effect Trump is having on the race. 

Red to blue? The Washington Post’s Dan Balz examines whether the midterm elections will lead to a Democratic takeover of Congress. Balz mentions that Ohio’s gubernatorial race is one to watch due to a variety of factors, such as it being an open seat in a swing state. 

Portman touts Kavanaugh: Ohio U.S. Sen. Rob Portman was among the officials who introduced Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh Tuesday at his confirmation hearing, which got off to a bit of a rowdy start, cleveland.com’s Sabrina Eaton reports.

Full Disclosure

Five things we learned from the April 9 financial disclosure statement of state Rep. Michael O’Brien, a Warren Democrat.

1. O’Brien, a former Warren mayor and council member, reported receiving retirement income from the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System totaling $50,000 to $99,999. He earned $65,193 in 2017 as a legislator, according to state expenditure data. 

2. At some point last year, O’Brien owed more than $1,000 for an Elan Visa credit card, a Best Buy Visa card, an Ally auto loan through Huntington Bank and a Sears Mastercard. 

3. O’Brien reported receiving a $5,037.76 mileage reimbursement for travel between the Statehouse and his home. He also reported taking an Ohio Chamber of Commerce bus trip at a cost of $40.12 and $276.02 for lodging at an Ohio Chamber of Commerce policy conference at Salt Fork. 

4. O’Brien reported two gifts from his girlfriend of 12 years, Fran Spain -- $125 in clothes for a birthday gift and a $115 watch for Christmas. (O’Brien told Capitol Letter he was a bit embarrassed to ask her how much she spent on the two occasions.) He also received a gift worth more than $75 from Youngstown State University. 

5. Lawmakers must report all meals and beverages received in excess of $100. O’Brien reported none. 

On the Move

The Buckeye Institute, a conservative think tank in Columbus, is a finalist for the Templeton Freedom Award from the free-market Atlas Network for its work in building a coalition from the right and left to reform the state’s criminal justice laws in ways that attempt to reduce incarceration. 

Birthdays

Jack Christopher, Ohio Secretary of State chief legal counsel

Straight From The Source

“He took my show and brought it to the White House.” 

-Former talk show host and Democratic Cincinnati mayor Jerry Springer, talking about Donald Trump to a crowd at the AFL-CIO annual Labor Day picnic in Cincinnati.

Capitol Letter is a daily briefing providing succinct, timely information for those who care deeply about the decisions made by state government. If you do not already subscribe, you can sign up here to get Capitol Letter in your email box each weekday for free.

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