Montgomery County GOP endorses Husted for governor

Published: Thursday, October 05, 2017 @ 12:34 AM
Updated: Thursday, October 05, 2017 @ 12:34 AM

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted is a Republican candidate for Ohio governor. LYNN HULSEY/Staff
Lynn Hulsey
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted is a Republican candidate for Ohio governor. LYNN HULSEY/Staff(Lynn Hulsey)

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted was endorsed in the Ohio governor’s race by the Montgomery County Republican Party’s central committee Wednesday night in a vote one of his opponent’s advisors denounced as “rigged.”

“As a UD Football Flyer and a state representative, I enjoyed a lot of victories in Montgomery County, but being endorsed to serve as governor is a special honor,” Husted said in a news release issued after the vote. “This is just another example of the energy and momentum behind our campaign and I am grateful for this support.”

The other Republicans vying for the nomination in the May 8 primary are Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine of Cedarville, U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Wadsworth, and Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor.

Rob Scott, a senior adviser to Renacci, said the central committee should have followed regular order and interviewed all four candidates before endorsing anyone. Neither Renacci nor Taylor have spoken to the committee since becoming candidates and an endorsement vote was not on the night’s agenda.

RELATED: Renacci jumps into governor’s race with ‘Ohio First’ campaign

“I think this is just another example of insider politics, and why people have a distaste for party politics,” said Scott, a central committee member and former state director for Donald Trump’s Ohio presidential campaign in 2016.

“(It’s) a rigged system, exactly why Donald Trump became president last year. And that’s why Jim Renacci is running this year,” Scott said. “Renacci’s running for the Trump vote and systems like this encourages the Trump vote and encourages somebody like Trump to get elected, and that is exactly who Jim Renacci is.”

RELATED: Some in Montgomery County GOP angry over possible endorsement vote

In a statement issued after the vote, Renacci called Husted a “liberal career politician” and congratulated him for his “hard fought victory against no one tonight.”

Husted is one of two candidates with strong local ties. The other is DeWine, a lifelong area resident who also served in the Ohio Legislature and as a U.S. senator and representative in Congress.

RELATED: Mike DeWine running for governor

Interviewed outside the meeting before the vote, DeWine said he anticipated he wouldn’t get the county party’s endorsement in his race for governor. He said it was clear the room was full of Husted supporters.

“We’ll win some endorsements. We’ll lose others, but ultimately it’s going to be the people in the primary, the actual voters who are making the decision,” said DeWine, who has been endorsed by the Lucas County Republican Party.

“If the election were held today in the Dayton media market I win by better than 2 to 1. Our polling and other people’s polling. So we want every endorsement. But we’re not going to get all of them. We know that,” said DeWine, who had spoken to the central committee last summer but did not go inside for Wednesday’s meeting.

Taylor spokesman, Michael Duchesne, also questioned the way the endorsement was handled.

“We are concerned about any effort to shortchange voters of a true choice,” Duchesne said. “Despite tonight’s irregularities, Lt. Governor Taylor feels confident that GOP primary voters will select her as the most conservative, substantive candidate in May’s primary.”

RELATED: Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor makes run for Ohio governor official

Husted supporter, State Rep. Niraj Antani, R-Miamisburg, made the motion to endorse Husted and defended the endorsement vote, saying support for Husted was “overwhelming.” Husted spoke to the committee just prior to the vote.

“The party is excited and unified behind Jon Husted,” Antani said.

Husted got his start in politics in Montgomery County after graduating from the University of Dayton in the early 1990s. He worked as a party volunteer and at the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce before being elected to the Ohio House, and later the Ohio Senate. Husted said he’s gratified for all the help he had from the local party over the years.

“The idea I would be standing in front of these same people and asking for support for being governor is a dream, is quite a journey,” said Husted, who has also been endorsed by the Williams County Republican Party.

RELATED: Jon Husted running for Ohio governor

Candidates often use endorsements to help solicit support and raise money.

Candidates for the Democratic nomination include Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, former state representative Connie Pillich of Cincinnati, state Sen. Joe Schiavoni of Boardman, and former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton of Akron.

The winner will replace Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican who is term-limited.

It’s the largest bus contract in RTA’s history: Here's what you need to know

Published: Friday, October 20, 2017 @ 12:13 PM
Updated: Friday, October 20, 2017 @ 1:01 PM

After nearly three years of testing the NexGen electric trolley Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority is buying 26 of the buses at a cost of about $1.2 million each and will put the first production model on the street by early 2019.

The new NexGen battery-electric trolley buses Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority is purchasing might leave people wondering how a bus with trolley poles can be motoring down the road on its own power without a trolley wire in sight. Here are five things to know about the new buses:

The cost: RTA will buy 26 of the buses for about $1.2 million now and 15 more when federal funding can be lined up. The $57.4 million contract with Kiepe Electric of Georgia for buses and parts is the largest bus contract in RTA history.

The battery:This is not your grandfather’s battery. The NexGen has a 3,000-pound Lithium Titanate Oxide battery with a 12-year lifespan that can power a fully loaded bus at full speed for 15 miles off wire.

A 3,000 pound battery powers the NexGen electric trolley that Greater Dayton RTA will buy to replace its current fleet of ETI trolleys.

Bang for buck:The NexGen trolley bus has a lifespan of 18 to 20 years and 800,000 miles. It costs 63 percent more than a standard diesel bus but lasts longer, is cheaper to operate, is better for the environment and quieter, said Mark Donaghy, RTA executive director.

RELATED: RTA to buy 26 electric trolley buses — at $1.2 million each

Testing: RTA tested four prototypes of the NexGen — which is short for Next Generation —before deciding on the electric-battery version. The first production bus arrives in about 15 months and then RTA hopes to get two a month after that.

Old bus retirement: RTA will eventually retire its fleet of Electric Trolley Inc. buses, which have been on the road since 1998 and plagued by multiple problems over the years.

This aging ETI electric trolley is part of the Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority trolley fleet that will be replaced by NexGen battery-electric trolleys. TY GREENLEES / STAFF(File Photo)

RELATED: A High-cost Laboratory

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Ohio upgrading its drug tracking database system

Published: Thursday, October 19, 2017 @ 12:38 PM
Updated: Thursday, October 19, 2017 @ 12:32 PM


            Ohio upgrading its drug tracking database system
Ohio upgrading its drug tracking database system

Ohio is rolling out the next generation of a powerful prescription drug monitoring system to help fight the opiate addiction crisis, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy announced.

Started in 2006, the Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System tracks controlled substances prescribed by doctors, provided by pharmacies and taken by patients. The upgraded version will calculate a patient’s risk for addiction or overdose, provide red flag alerts on potential safety issues, offer real time messaging between health care providers, and include a search tool for drug treatment programs.

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Health care providers will be able to access the new, upgraded OARRS system via electronic medical records and the OARRS website starting Nov. 20.

The system is designed to track prescriptions of controlled substances, such as painkillers, and prevent the practices of over-prescribing and “doctor shopping” — where addicts fill opioid prescriptions from several doctors at multiple pharmacies.

In 2006, the top doctor shopper in Ohio received prescriptions from 105 different doctors and filled those at 50 different pharmacies. In 2016, the top doctor shopper received prescriptions from 45 different doctors and filled those at 19 different pharmacies. The Ohio Board of Pharmacy agents investigate such patterns.

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Likewise, doctors and pharmacies are required to check OARRS before writing or filling certain prescriptions. Physicians and dentists who write controlled substance prescriptions without checking the system are contacted by the Board of Pharmacy.

Beginning at the end of December, doctors will be required to add diagnosis information to OARRS so regulators have a better idea about why patients are being prescribed powerful pain killers.

Ohio congressman leaving office

Published: Thursday, October 19, 2017 @ 10:23 AM
Updated: Thursday, October 19, 2017 @ 10:23 AM

Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Ohio, attends a news conference after a meeting of the House Republican Caucus in the Capitol, June 10, 2014. Getty Images
Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Ohio, attends a news conference after a meeting of the House Republican Caucus in the Capitol, June 10, 2014. Getty Images

Congressman Rep. Pat Tiberi announced Thursday that he will be leaving Congress by the end of next January, capping 16 years representing his central Ohio congressional district.

In a statement released at 10 a.m., Tiberi said he would not be seeking re-election. Instead, he’ll serve as president of the Ohio Business Roundtable.

RELATED: Tiberi decides against Senate run

“It has been the most remarkable honor of my life to serve the people of the 12th District,” he said. “As the son of Italian immigrants, I am forever grateful for the opportunity my parents gave me by coming to America and raising our family in Ohio. It was because of their pursuit of the American Dream that made it possible for me to serve 17 years in the halls of Congress representing my home. This truly is the greatest country in the world.”

He said his new job would allow him “to continue to work on public policy issues impacting Ohioans while also spending more time with my family.” Tiberi and his wife Denice have four daughters.

While the timing of his announcement is unclear, Tiberi, a Genoa Township Republican, plans to leave by the end of next January.

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Tiberi will replace Richard Stoff, the founder and current president of the Ohio Business Roundtable, who announced in July that he was retiring at the end of this year. Stoff’s compensation totaled $692,038 in 2015, according to the group’s IRS filings.

Sources close to Tiberi said a variety of factors played into his exit. His mother died earlier this year and his father is in ill health. House Speaker Paul Ryan last year bypassed Tiberi to select Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, as the chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, despite the fact that Tiberi had support from the majority of his colleagues on the Republican Steering Committee.

Another loss: the retirement of House Speaker John Boehner in 2015. The two were close political allies, with Tiberi benefiting politically from his close friendship with the West Chester Republican.

And a dysfunctional political environment in Washington made him “miserable” said a source close to Tiberi.

The veteran congressman, who represents Ohio’s 12th congressional district, had considered running for the U.S. Senate in 2018. He ended that speculation in May, announcing that he didn’t want a Senate campaign to take time away from working on tax reform from his position as a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee. Tiberi had more than $6.6 million in campaign funds at the beginning of the month.

Tiberi, 54, was elected to the House in 2000, replacing John Kasich, who had once hired him as an aide in Kasich’s congressional office in Columbus. Tiberi, who grew up in Columbus, also served four terms in the Ohio House in the 1990s.

He is chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee’s subcommittee on health and is currently chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, a House-Senate committee that examines economic issues. And earlier this year, he became the chairman of the House “Main Street Caucus,” a group of moderate Republicans who billed themselves as the “governing” wing of the Republican Party.

Only two other members of the 16-member Ohio delegation have served longer: Rep. Marcy Kaptur was elected in 1983 and Rep. Steve Chabot in 1995, save for a two-year period when Chabot’s seat was held by a Democrat.

While it’s unclear when Tiberi would vacate his House seat, sources told the Dispatch that it might not be until the end of this year.

Gov. John Kasich, whose term expires in January 2019, is not interested in running for his old House seat, said Chris Schrimpf, his political spokesman.

Tiberi, who won his seat in 2016 with nearly 67 percent of the vote, faces Democrat Ed Albertson and Republican Brandon Grisez if he runs next year.

Tiberi’s decision to leave puts him in a growing club of Republicans who are opting to leave Congress: Reps. Dave Reichert of Washington, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, Dave Trott of Michigan and Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania have announced their plans to leave in recent days, as has Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee.

If Tiberi resigns before the end of his term, special elections, including a primary, would be staged to fill his seat. When Speaker John Boehner of Ohio resigned from his seat in late 2015, it took four and one-half months to stage the March 15, 2016 primary and nearly another three months for the June 7, 2016 election won by Republican Warren Davidson.

The reliably Republican 12th District takes in northern Franklin County suburbs and all of Delaware, Morrow and Licking counties. It includes parts of Marion, Muskingum and Richland counties.

Dispatch reporter Randy Ludlow contributed to this story.

What Ohio lawmakers are saying about the Iran nuclear deal

Published: Friday, October 13, 2017 @ 5:47 PM
Updated: Monday, October 16, 2017 @ 9:04 AM

President Trump Addresses Iran Nuclear Deal

Ohio lawmakers split down party lines Thursday not only on whether President Donald Trump should have refused to certify the Iran nuclear agreement but whether the Obama administration should have backed the deal in the first place.

Rep. Tim Ryan, D–Niles, acknowledged that the pact is not “perfect,” but said it “remains our best chance for lasting peace and nuclear nonproliferation in Iran.” He called Trump’s decision to not certify the agreement “a grave mistake.”

“There is no doubt that this deal is in the best interests of the United States and helps to neutralize a potential nuclear threat to the world,” he said.

He called Trump’s announcement “yet another example of the egregious mismanagement of our foreign policy (that) does nothing to reassure our allies that the United States is leading with a steady hand.”

The decision does not end the agreement outright, but instead sends it to Congress to decide whether to reimpose sanctions on Iran. Ryan called for Congress “to do the right thing” to avoid an international crisis.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D–Ohio, meanwhile, worried that while Trump’s decision doesn’t end the agreement, it could lead to its unraveling. He said failure to adhere to the Iran deal might make allies and North Korea question whether the United States will stand by its commitments.

“There is no question we must crack down on Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region, including its support for terrorism — which is exactly why Congress enacted tough new sanctions this summer,” he said. “The president should use those sanctions, instead of leading us down a path toward unraveling the Iran nuclear agreement, which his own defense secretary has said would not be in our national interest.”

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said the multi-nation agreement under Obama “has empowered Iran to increase its destabilizing activities throughout the region, while at best pausing — not dismantling — Iran’s ability to produce nuclear weapons and delivery systems.”

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He said he would like the U.S. to implement a comprehensive regional strategy to combat Iran’s influence “and hold it accountable for both its nuclear program and its destabilizing non-nuclear activities, including its support for sectarian militias and terrorist groups like Hezbollah, human rights violations, and increasing involvement in conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and elsewhere.”

Republican Rep. Jim Renacci of Wadsworth, one of four GOP candidates for governor, tweeted, “Obama’s disastrous Iran nuclear deal shipped billions to the world’s #1 state sponsor of terrorism & green lighted their nuclear weapons program. It threatens both America’s security & Israel’s existence. Thank you @realDonaldTrump for taking a critical step towards ending it.”

Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Genoa Township, said Trump’s decision should force Congress to develop a strategy “with stricter enforcement to keep Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.”

“The Iranian regime has consistently remained hostile to Israel, violated multiple UN resolutions to build their ballistic missile program, and has posed a wide range of threats to the region and our own national security,” he said.

Rep. Bill Johnson, R–Marietta, said the U.S. should never have agreed to the deal.

“It only temporarily restricts Iran’s nuclear program, and does little to deter Tehran from continuing its thirst for nuclear weapons and technology — all while filling the regime’s coffers,” he said. “Not only has Iran repeatedly displayed a disturbing pattern of behavior while continuing to recruit and fund terrorist groups operating in Syria and Iraq, but the Iranian regime’s continued nuclear testing on military sites also undermines the standards set by the international community to promote security and regional stability.”

Rep. Steve Stivers, R–Upper Arlington, said he, too, was never comfortable with the Iran deal.

“From the very beginning, I had concerns about the Iran Deal because it is based on the failed North Korea Deal and did not include restrictions on the development of technology used to weaponize nuclear energy, such as triggers, fuses, and ballistic missiles,” he said. “I believe this decision will allow a new agreement to be negotiated which will include language to prevent a nuclear armed Iran.”

Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, said the deal had “an insufficient inspection regime, insufficiently addresses long range ICBM missile development, and is limited to 10 years, giving the appearance of permission to develop nuclear weapons during the 11th year.”

However, he said, he believes that Iran is “materially complying with the provisions that require Iran abandon pursuit of the development of nuclear weapons.”

“After the President’s statements today, the international community and Congress must provide sufficient leverage for amending the agreement in ways that could ensure Iran never obtains nuclear weapons,” he said.