Dan Pompili and Nick Glunt
Gov. John Kasich will give this year’s State of the State address from Medina, his office announced Monday.
“Medina is one of Ohio’s great communities, and this is a great way to celebrate it,” spokesman Rob Nichols said in a statement. “Medina is also the hometown of Speaker (William) Batchelder and as he starts the last year of his term, this is a way to recognize his distinguished 46-year career in public service.”
The speech is scheduled for Feb. 24 at the Medina Performing Arts Center, 851 Weymouth Road, on the campus of Medina High School.
Medina Mayor Dennis Hanwell welcomed the news.
“I think it’s a great opportunity to showcase the city, because we’re going to have elected officials from all over the state come see our city and our great parks and just what a vibrant community we are,” he said. “It will also help in that when there are future issues with the city, then they can put a name with a face, so to speak.”
Hanwell said the governor has visited the county before — at a manufacturing center in Sharon Township and at a question-and-answer session at a restaurant in Medina Township.
State Sen. Larry Obhof, of Montville Township, said he was glad the governor will visit Medina.
“I am proud that the governor plans to deliver his State of the State address in Medina,” Obhof said.
“This is a great opportunity to showcase our community and I look forward to hosting the governor and my legislative colleagues as they visit Northeast Ohio,” the senator said.
Nancy Abbott, head of the county Republican Party, said she too was excited Kasich chose Medina.
“I think Medina County gets lost in the shuffle because it’s between the bigger counties of Cuyahoga and Summit,” Abbott said, “so it’s nice we’re getting some recognition.”
In 2012, Kasich became the first governor in memory to take the year’s big policy speech outside the Statehouse in Columbus.
The first-term Republican chose Steubenville for the occasion, using the award-winning Wells Academy, named the best school in the state, to tout education successes and the benefits of the region’s burgeoning shale gas industry.
That was a year after his first State of the State speech, delivered at the Statehouse, was marred by labor-fueled protests over a collective-bargaining proposal that later became law and was turned back by voters at the ballot.
In 2013, he delivered the speech in Lima, in northwest Ohio.
Convening the traditional joint legislative session outside Columbus means lawmakers, Supreme Court justices, Cabinet officials and statewide officeholders are expected to make the roughly two-hour car ride — though justices, some statewide officials and legislators couldn’t or chose not to make the trip the past two years.
Before 2012, the Ohio General Assembly last convened a joint session outside Columbus in 2003, when lawmakers traveled to the first state capital, Chillicothe, to celebrate the state’s bicentennial. The time before that was in the 1950s.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.