July 1, 2016

Intermittent clouds

State GOP now has 2 leaders from Medina County

Medina County now has two state legislators among the Republican leadership in the General Assembly.

State Sen. Larry J. Obhof Jr., R-Montville Township, was selected Wednesday to serve as majority whip in the Senate.

Larry Obhof Jr.

Obhof joins William G. Batchelder, R-Medina, who was renamed speaker of the House, among the top GOP officials in the Legislature.

“I am honored to have received the support of my colleagues in joining our leadership team,” Obhof said. “I look forward to working with all members of the Senate as we look to build on the progress made during this General Assembly in growing our economy and creating more job opportunities for Ohioans.”

The majority whip is the No. 4 post in the Senate. Obhof will be responsible for monitoring legislation and votes for his party, which holds a solid majority in both chambers of the General Assembly.

The other GOP Senate leaders named Wednesday are president-elect Keith Faber, R-Celina, president pro tempore-elect Chris Widener, R- Springfield, and majority floor leader Tom Patton, R-Strongsville.

Faber will succeed Senate President Tom Niehaus, R-New Richmond, when the 130th General Assembly convenes in January. Niehaus will leave office at the end of the year. He was not eligible for another term because of term limits.

Obhof was appointed to represent the 22nd Ohio Senate District last year. He easily won election earlier this month, defeating Democrat James E. Riley by garnering nearly 60 percent of the votes in the district, which covers Medina, Richland and Holmes counties and a portion of Ashland County.

A graduate of The Ohio State University and Yale Law School, Obhof works as an attorney with the national law firm BakerHostetler. He lives in Montville Township with his wife and three daughters.

Batchelder, 69, who has served more than three decades in the Ohio House, also won by a wide margin in the Nov. 6 election, beating Democrat Judith A. Cross, a former Medina County Common Pleas judge.

Batchelder will be entering his fourth and final term as representative of House District 69, which includes most of Medina County.

This is Batchelder’s second set of terms in the Ohio House. He served from 1969 to 1999, when he was forced to leave because of term limits. He returned in 2007 and was named speaker in November 2010.

Kevin Dunn, head of the Medina County Republican Party, said Obhof and Batchelder have worked hard to represent their constituents.

“Our candidates are approachable people, they return phone calls, especially Larry Obhof, he’s always been great about that,” he said.

Dunn said Medina County will benefit from having Batchelder and Obhof on the GOP leadership team.

“We’ve been able to put our people in key positions in Columbus and our concerns are being brought to the table to talk about,” he said.

Reporter Loren Genson contributed to this story.

Contact editor David Knox at (330) 721-4065 or dknox@medina-gazette.com.