Election Day was once again a success for Republicans across Ohio. We held the supermajority in the Ohio House, electing great conservative leaders who will represent our values and voices in the Statehouse. President Trump once again swept Ohio, winning the state by nearly the same margin he won by in 2016 – 8%. As I said on election night, it was the president’s America First policies that resonated with Ohioans, along with a general conservative message that propelled state Republicans to leadership roles. Ohio Republicans also picked up seats in the Ohio Senate, maintaining the conservative majority there as well.
The Democrats’ messaging of defunding police, far-left socialist policies, raising taxes, and forcing government-run healthcare on Americans simply does not resonate in Ohio. We even flipped Mahoning County red. Ohio Democrats’ hopes to flip Republican seats and suburban districts turned out to be nothing more than wishful thinking.
I am incredibly proud of our Republican candidates and all the hard work they put in to ensure another victorious election year in Ohio.
As you all know, I support our President and I believe in fair and secure elections. We need to ensure that every legal vote is counted, no illegal votes are counted, and all sides are able to observe the process, just like in Ohio. That’s why as soon as November 3rd, Ohio Republican Party and Ohio Trump/Victory staff headed to Pennsylvania and Michigan to help make sure that there were no inconsistencies with the voting process in those states. It’s crucial that all Americans are confident in our election process and its outcomes.
Lastly, there are two elections still to come that need our attention. The coming runoff elections in Georgia will decide who controls the U.S. Senate. Senator Portman needs to keep his conservative colleagues, so we must do all we can to support Senator David Perdue and Senator Kelly Loeffler
Portman Congratulates Trump on Ohio Victory and Calls for Transparency as States Complete Counts
On Wednesday, Senator Rob Portman issued the following statement: “Congratulations to Secretary of State Frank LaRose, the county boards of elections, and the more than 50,000 Ohio poll workers for conducting a safe, secure, and transparent election in Ohio. It was not easy in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. And congratulations to President Trump on his decisive victory in Ohio. I think Ohio voters know he is the right choice to rebuild our economy as we work to emerge from this pandemic. Under our Constitution, state legislatures set the rules & states administer our elections. We should respect that process and ensure that all ballots cast in accordance with state laws are counted. It’s that simple. I hope we can reach a final resolution as quickly as possible.”
In response to the uncertainty in several states around the nation, Senator Portman issued the following statement on Thursday: “Seems pretty straightforward: Every ballot cast in accordance with state law should be counted. Those that are not cast in accordance with state law should not be counted. As states work through counting the remaining ballots, both parties must be able to observe the process, as always, and any evidence of illegal activity should be investigated immediately. Our courts and legal system are set up to resolve any disputes in accordance with the law. Then, once the final count has been completed, we will abide by the results, as we always have as Americans.”
DeWine Continues COVID Fight with New Health Director
On Sunday, Governor DeWine released an open letter to the people of Ohio leading up to the election calling for unity and renewed commitment to fighting the coronavirus.
“Today, and for some time to come, we also share a common enemy…an enemy that is relentless and clearly on the march. This enemy has invaded our nation, stealing nearly 230,000 American lives and at least 5,300 Ohio lives–all on our own soil,” said Governor DeWine. “Throughout our history, in the face of a shared enemy, we have come together as a people, whether we were in the midst of a war or a national disaster, such as a flood or tornado.”
A video recording of Governor DeWine reading the letter is available by clicking this link.
On Thursday, Governor DeWine announced multiple key additions to the existing administration at the Ohio Department of Health (ODH).
Director Stephanie McCloud: Director McCloud previously served as Governor DeWine’s administrator of the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, managing an agency of 1,800 colleagues and over $28 billion in assets. She has considerable experience in the area of mental health and addiction treatment which is a priority in Ohio’s health improvement plan.
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff: Dr. Vanderhoff previously served for more than a decade as a Senior Vice President and as the Chief Medical Officer at OhioHealth. He has years of experience leading large teams in successfully dealing with important healthcare issues in Ohio and prepared OhioHealth to deal with the threat of Ebola and the H1N1 flu pandemic.
Senior Deputy Lance Himes: Himes had previously served as the interim director of ODH where he has played an integral role in running and managing many aspects of the pandemic response operation. He will lead the coordination of the state’s vaccine distribution plan and will continue to work directly with Ohio’s local health commissioners.
Chief of Staff Kathleen Madden: Madden had previously served as Assistant Director at the Ohio Office of Budget and Management and will now play a key role in keeping ODH’s pandemic and non-pandemic programs and operations on track. She will work to prioritize and resolve critical issues, provide oversight and guidance to ODH staff, and ensure that ODH funds are spent responsibly and strategically.
Other key members of the ongoing COVID-19 response who will continue their roles in assisting ODH are:
Adjutant General Maj. Gen. John Harris, Ohio National Guard: Maj. Gen. Harris will continue work to ensure complex operations, such as COVID testing and contact tracing, are well-coordinated, monitored, and improved when necessary. He will also work directly with Senior Deputy Himes on the planning and logistics of the forthcoming vaccine distribution program.
Director Ursel McElroy, Ohio Department of Aging: Director McElroy will continue to direct virus prevention efforts for older adults in the community and in long-term settings, including nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
Director Lori Criss, Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services: Director Criss will continue to lead efforts to address the increasing mental health needs of citizens during the pandemic.
Governor DeWine also announced that John Logue, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation’s (BWC) Chief of Strategic Direction, will become the new administrator of Ohio BWC effective on November 16.
Logue has worked for 26 years in the industry. Before returning to BWC in 2019, he most recently served as the vice president of client services for International Absence Management Company where he focused on Ohio workers’ compensation.
HUSTED TALKS ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, BIPARTISANSHIP AFTER ELECTION
Lt. Governor Jon Husted last week spoke at the Impact Ohio Post Election Conference, where he discussed what the administration is doing to improve broadband, strengthen Ohio’s workforce and end costly regulations that hinder job growth.
The Lt. Governor also advocated for collaboration and building bridges to tackle the issues and challenges Ohioans face in their daily lives.
Yost: Ex-Cuyahoga County Jail Guard Pleads Guilty to Smuggling Drugs Into Jail
Attorney General Dave Yost announced a former Cuyahoga County jailer pleaded guilty last week to taking bribes from inmates to smuggle drugs and other items into the jail. Stephen Thomas is the fourth and final person to plead guilty in the smuggling ring that investigators with Yost’s office broke up in 2019. Along with drugs, Thomas pleaded guilty to smuggling cell phone batteries and vape pens into the jail in exchange for bribes.
The smuggling case is part of a broad investigation by Yost’s office into the Cuyahoga County Jail. Other cases include officers who beat inmates, and charges against the former warden and jail director accused of negligently making decisions that made the jail unsafe.
Secretary of State LaRose: Ohio shatters voter turnout record
The unofficial results from the November 3rd election show 5,812,804 Ohioans voted in the 2020 General Election, already breaking the all-time record of 5,773,777 set in 2008.
“The old saying from my time in the military is ‘you sweat in peacetime so you don’t bleed in battle’,” said LaRose. “Partnering with the county boards of elections, we sweated throughout the spring and summer to boost participation in early voting opportunities, make sure voters were safe, voting systems were secure, and enough poll workers trained and ready. And it worked. Ohio shattered the record and voters proved it’s easy to make your voice heard in the Buckeye State.”
Auditor Faber Talks CARES Act Dollars with Local Officials
This week, Auditor of State Keith Faber continued reaching out to local governments across Ohio to ensure that they can spend the CARES Act dollars to help those hurting the most by the coronavirus pandemic. He held a virtual townhall with dozens of county auditors and local leaders from Northwest Ohio to answer their questions.
Sprague Announces Three New Additions to the Ohio Checkbook
Last week, Ohio Treasurer Robert Sprague announced three new additions to the recently revamped OhioCheckbook.gov. Euclid City Schools, Madison Township, and the Village of Crestline are the latest local government entities to come aboard the online transparency portal.
OhioCheckbook.gov was launched in June 2020. The new transparency website combined OhioCheckbook.com (previously administered by the Treasurer’s office) and Ohio’s Interactive Budget (previously operated by the Office of Budget and Management) to create a single, one-stop resource for taxpayers to learn more about spending at the state and local levels of government.
Kennedy Thanks You for Your Support
Thank you to the voters of Ohio for entrusting me with a second full term as Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio.
A special thank you to Chairman Timken and the Ohio Republican Party family for all of their efforts on my behalf. Thank you to the Kennedy for Ohio team Alicia, Sam, and Lara, and all of the County Chairmen, County Coordinators, and volunteers who worked tirelessly across the state. And thank you to my family and friends back home in Butler County particularly, Ryan, Mick, Barry, and Brian.
My journey to our state’s highest court was driven by a singular belief that a justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio must be someone who will vigilantly and strictly adhere to their limited role in government – to interpret the law not rewrite it or legislate from the bench. Serving as your Justice has enabled me to do the compelling work of the Court and continue meaningful work beyond the bench – bringing people together, building community partners, and solving community problems.
Looking back I am proud to say that I have honored the Constitution, ensuring that the next generation is afforded the same protection under the law that we have enjoyed. And along the way, educated generations about the judicial system, worked to build partnerships that help our veterans find mental health and substance abuse treatment, and grow relationships and programs that will help others find a pathway out of the circumstances in life they find themselves in.
To those of you who gave me your vote, I reiterate my deepest gratitude. To those of you who voted a different way, I hope to earn your trust and respect. Regardless, I promise to humbly serve each and every Ohioan with a full heart and steady moral compass.
The people of Ohio have bestowed upon me the greatest honor of my life in giving me the opportunity to continue to serve this state – I won’t let you down. Thank you.