COLUMBUS — Gov. John Kasich will once again give his State of the State address outside the capital, delivering the annual speech Feb. 24 in the northeast Ohio city of 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 the hometown of Republican House Speaker Bill Batchelder, who will end his 46-year career in public service this year because of term limits. Kasich’s likely Democratic rival Ed FitzGerald, of Cleveland, oversees government in neighboring Cuyahoga County.
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.