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Kasich Taking Final State Of The State To Westerville

Gov. John Kasich delivered his seventh State of the State speech in the Sandusky State Theatre in Sandusky in April.
Daniel Konik
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Gov. John Kasich delivered his seventh State of the State speech in the Sandusky State Theatre in Sandusky in April.

Gov. John Kasich has made a rare move regarding his last State of the State speech - he’s already picked the date and location months before it’ll happen.

Kasich has written to state lawmakers with the surprisingly early announcement that he wants to deliver his final State of the State speech on the evening of March 6, in central Ohio – but not in the Statehouse.

Instead, he’s chosen the campus of Otterbein University, in his adopted hometown of Westerville, where he launched his campaign for governor in 2009.

Like previous governors, Kasich delivered his first State of the State in the Statehouse. But that 2011 speech was marked by union protestors who were so loud they could be heard through the heavy doors of the House chamber.

The following year Kasich announced he'd take the speech and state lawmakers on the road to Steubenville. Every year since it’s been a guessing game of where and when it would happen.

It’s been in Lima, Medina, Wilmington, Marietta and Sandusky. Though fewer lawmakers have opposed the resolution to move Kasich's State of the State each year, as the Republican majority in the legislature has grown, Republicans have raised concerns about added costs and breaking tradition.

Conservative Rep. Kristina Roegner of Hudson voted against moving the speech to Sandusky this year, noting the Statehouse is the centrally located repository of public records for state government.

“And the governor, for his own reasons, has been dragging us along to distant places, at times uncomfortable," Roegner said.

No Republican Senator has voted against moving the speech. A Democratic representative proposed legislation in 2014 to require the State of the State be delivered at the Statehouse, but it never got out of committee.