Politics Extra
Enquirer reporters give the scoop on what your politicians are doing

Jessica Brown,
Hamilton County reporter

Jon Craig,
Enquirer statehouse bureau

Jane Prendergast,
Cincinnati City Hall reporter

Malia Rulon,
Enquirer Washington bureau

Carl Weiser,
Blog editor

Howard Wilkinson,
politics reporter

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Saturday, January 06, 2007

We'll be coming in at 9 a.m. Monday for work...

but we didn't put out a press release about it.

Almost-Gov. Ted Strickland, however, did:

Strickland to Begin Work to Turnaround Ohio

Columbus, Ohio – Ohio Governor-elect Ted Strickland will arrive at the Statehouse Governor’s Office to begin his work to Turnaround Ohio at 8:00 AM Monday.

Monday, January 8, 2007

WHO: Governor-elect Ted Strickland

WHAT: First arrival at Governor’s Office

WHEN: 8:00 AM

WHERE: Governor’s Office
Ohio Statehouse
Columbus, Ohio 43215

Friday, January 05, 2007

Who's applied for a job with Strickland?

In Sunday's Enquirer, Howard Wilkinson will report on some of the key Cincinnati folks who will advise incoming Gov. Ted Strickland.

Online readers will also get a chance to see a database listing who has applied for which departments.

Politics Extra readers get a preview here

Rhodes to DeWine: Your math is "crap"

Kimball Perry reports:

Last week, Hamilton County Commissioner Pat DeWine proudly proclaimed property taxes were down 17 percent since he took office in 2005.

On Friday, Auditor Dusty Rhodes – whose office is responsible for the administration and accounting for property taxation – called DeWine’s assessment “crap.”

Read the full story here

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Local lawyer seeks to subpoena Don Rumsfeld

Sherry Coolidge reports in Friday's Enquirer

Cincinnati attorney Bill Gallagher wants to call former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as a witness in a trespassing case against five anti-war protestors.

Gallagher is expected to file a motion today asking Hamilton County Municipal Judge David Stockdale to declare Rumsfeld a material witness in the case against the protestors who were arrested at U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot’s downtown Cincinnati office.

If Stockdale grants the motion, Gallagher can subpoena Rumsfeld.

Gallagher has already issued a subpoena to Chabot in the misdemeanor case that carries a maximum possible sentence of up to 30 days in jail.

“They had a right to be where they were,” said Gallagher, who said he took the case for free because he believes the protestors’ actions were honorable.

Gallagher and three other attorneys represent seven people, including Gallagher’s client Greg Flannery, 48, a 78-year-old nun and two 15 year olds.

The group was arrested Sept. 27 during a sit-in at Chabot’s offices. They refused to leave unless Chabot signed the Congressional Declaration of Peace.

When Chabot, R-Westwood, was unable to meet with the group, all seven were arrested on charges of criminal trespassing.

Gallagher is presenting a “necessity defense,” hoping to convince a jury that the protestors broke the law in order to save human lives and therefore should be found not guilty.

The adult protesters are scheduled for trial Jan. 22. One juvenile case has been dismissed. The other is pending.

Gallagher said the request is not a publicity stunt. Rumsfeld is needed to explain the war’s death toll and cost, he said.

Gallagher said he could subpoena several government officials to discuss the war, but figured Rumsfeld can answer all questions about the war’s death toll and cost.

“He’s retired, he’s got time,” Gallagher said.

Hang another "L" in the Wulsin column

Victoria Wulsin can't win for losing.

In 2005, she went for the vacant job of Cincinnati Health Director and lost out to Noble A-W Maseru.

Last year, she ran a spirited and uphill battle for the 2nd Congressional District seat and lost to incumbent Republican Jean Schmidt.

Now, despite some enthusiastic recommendations from area Democrat officials, she's come up short in her quest to for a spot in the cabinet of governor-elect Ted Strickland.

Wulsin - a physician who runs a non-profit AIDS prevention organization in Cincinnati, interviewed for the job of director of the Ohio Department of Health. But, Thursday, Strickland's office announced the appointment of a Fremont doctor, Alvin Jackson, to the job.

Wulsin said she was disappointed, but still hopeful of going to work for Strickland in some significant job.

Guy from West Chester speaks to Congress


JANUARY 4, 2007

(Remarks as Prepared)

Madame Speaker. . .Leader Hoyer. . .my distinguished colleagues: welcome. I'd particularly like to welcome our new colleagues. It is an honor and privilege to serve in this great institution, and I'd like to thank you in advance for the sacrifices and contributions you'll make to this body.

As colleagues we owe a huge debt to those who have served before us. I would be remiss if I did not mention the enormous contributions of one of my predecessors, Gerald Ford. Former President Ford served in the House for 25 years, including eight of those as Republican Leader from 1965 to 1973. He served his Michigan constituents and the American people with great distinction, not just in the Congress but as Vice President and President of the United States. The thoughts and prayers of this House, and those of a grateful nation, are with Betty and the Ford family today.

This is an historic day. In a few moments, I'll have the high privilege of handing the gavel of the House of Representatives to a woman for the first time in American history. For more than 200 years, the leaders of our government have been democratically elected. And from their ranks, our elected leaders have always selected a man for the responsibility and honor of serving as Speaker of the House. Always, that is, until today.

It's sometimes said the Founding Fathers would not recognize the government that exists in Washington today. . .that it has grown in size and scope far beyond anything they ever imagined, much less endorsed or advocated for our future. But today marks an occasion I think the Founding Fathers would view approvingly. My fellow Americans: whether you're a Republican, a Democrat, or an independent, this is a cause for celebration.

Today also, of course, marks a change in the House majority. Twelve years ago, some of us stood proudly in this chamber as our former colleague, Dick Gephardt of Missouri, handed the gavel to the new Republican speaker, Newt Gingrich of Georgia. There were some great achievements during the 12 years that followed. And we're fortunate that the man who was the driving force behind many of those achievements will continue to serve with us: our former Speaker, Representative Denny Hastert of Illinois.

There were some great achievements during the 12 years that followed, but there were also some profound disappointments. If there is one lesson that stands out from our party's time in the majority, it is this: a congressional majority is simply a means to an end. The value of a majority lies not in the chance to wield great power, but in the chance to use limited power to do great things.

We refer to the gavel I'm holding as the Speaker's gavel. But like everything else in this chamber, it really belongs to the people. It's on loan from the real owners. This is the people's House. This is the people's Congress. And most of the people don't care which party controls it; what they want is a government that is limited, honest, accountable, and responsive to their needs. The moment a majority forgets this lesson, it begins writing itself a ticket to minority status.

The 110th Congress will write the next chapter in American history, but the American people will dictate it. Today the Democratic Party assumes the challenge - and opportunity - of majority power in the people's House. Republicans will hold the incoming majority accountable for its promises, and its actions. But we also want to work with the incoming majority for the good of the Nation we were all elected to serve.

Fundamentally, democracy is a battle of ideas. The battle of ideas is essential to a healthy nation. But it's a battle that can take place respectfully. Republicans and Democrats can disagree with each other without being disagreeable to each other. Sometimes what people call partisanship is really a deep disagreement over a means to a shared goal. We should welcome that conversation, encourage it, enjoy it, and be nice about it. Madame Speaker, may the best idea win.

It's now my privilege to present the gavel of the United States House of Representatives to our new Speaker, and the first woman Speaker in history: Nancy Pelosi of California. Madame Speaker, congratulations.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Public employee took LESS money

When Jen Winkelman (right, in picture) decided she wanted to move back home to Madeira from Washington, D.C., she brought $150,000 in student loan debt with her.

Then why did she reject the $42,000 per year salary Hamilton County Commissioner David Pepper offered her -- and instead accept an annual salary for $2,000 less?

To save money.


Winkelman, a 1998 graduate of Madeira High and 2001 University of Cincinnati graduate, left Cincinnati with an undergrad degree -- and no debt -- when she moved to the nation's capitol.

But after her 2005 graduation from American University's Washington School of Law she'd amassed $150,000 in student loan debt -- costing her about $1,000 per month.

"That's a mortgage," Winkelman said.

She returned home recently and Pepper hired her as one of his two employees. Bridget Doherty, (at left in picture above) his campaign spokeswoman, took a job as administrative aide and its $49,500 annual salary.

Pepper admits he offered Winkelman $42,000 per year.

But Winkelman, 27, said it would help her more if she made just $40,000.

Her law school has a loan forgiveness policy for graduates who go on to work in "public interest service." That essentially means those who work for non-profits or governments.

By accepting $2,000 less per year, Winkelman will save about $6,000 annually in the loan forgiveness program, she said.

Tom Raga gets job with Sinclair

From Sinclair Community College:

Tom Raga, former State Representative from Warren County, has been named Senior Director of Regional Strategy and Development for Sinclair Community College. The appointment, effective immediately, was announced by Sinclair President Steven Lee Johnson.

Raga (Mason 45040) will report directly to President Johnson and will join the newly reorganized senior leadership team that is developing new strategies to increase college enrollment and attainment across the region. These strategies will include new programs and partnerships with urban and suburban schools, with colleges and universities, with corporations, and with elected officials. Sinclair’s official service district includes Montgomery and Warren counties in Ohio. However, its students come from more than a dozen Ohio counties and Sinclair is often called upon to provide regional and statewide two-year college service leadership.

“Tom will focus his energy on our regional development and expansion of access to college,” said President Johnson. “He will work with external organizations that are keys to our success including school districts, colleges and universities, local industry and business, government and economic development organizations.”

Raga served three terms in the Ohio House of Representatives and was a candidate for Lieutenant Governor in 2006. In the House, he served as Vice Chair of its Finance and Appropriations Committee and as a member on the Agriculture and Development and Primary and Secondary Education subcommittees. He is a former Deerfield Township Trustee (1998-2000).

Raga is affiliated with the Warren County Foundation, Warren County Humane Association, Farm Bureau, and Warren County: Strengthening Our Families. In 2000, he was named by The Cincinnati Enquirer as one of “Tri-State’s 21 to Watch.”

Raga is a Moeller High School (Cincinnati) and Cornell University graduate. He holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics.

"Kiss my ass" Finney won't serve under Pepper

After cussing David Pepper out last summer, Chris Finney (pictured) decided he didn't want to have to answer to Pepper.

Finney, a lawyer who lives in Anderson Township, submitted his resignation as head of the Tax Levy Review Committee in a Dec. 28 letter to then-president of the Hamilton County Board of Commission, Phil Heimlich.

Finney served on the commissioner-appointed committee that reviews requests from agencies seeking to receive property tax money for special services like health care for the poor, the zoo and others.

Finney also was partners with Heimlich in real estate businesses before they transferred ownership of the businesses to their wives. He is also an avid political supporter of Heimlich's.

He is so avid that as Heimlich was seeking re-election last year and running against challenger David Pepper, Finney showed up at a Pepper press conference and hurled verbal insults at Heimlich's challenger.

Pepper was announcing that if he was elected, he would stress a transparent government -- a shot at Finney for serving as TLRC head under his business partner and at Ron Roberts. Roberts is a Heimlich friend and political ally who was unanimously hired by all three commissioners in late 2005 as deputy county administrator. Roberts already has resigned.

At Pepper's press conference, Finney interrupted to say, "You're trying to smear my name because you're a rich f------- asshole. Kiss my ass. Right here," Finney said patting his backside.
Finney also told Bridget Doherty, then Pepper's campaign spokeswoman but now his administrative aide, to kiss his behind.

Finney's letter doesn't mention the incident, one Heimlich, during the election, said embarrassed him.

It does mention, though, how proud Finney is of the work he and Heimlich did to reduce property taxes in Hamilton County and praises Heimlich's leadership.

"Your leadership is appreciated and will be missed," Finney wrote.

At least 151,999 Hamilton Countians disagree.

That the number of votes Pepper, a Democrat, received in the election.

Heimlich, the incumbent Republican, received 134,595 votes.


Hamilton County's commissioners met in executive session today to talk about the Cincinnati Bengals.

It initially was thought the closed-door hearing was to discuss commissioners' reluctance to pay the team almost $1 million it paid to replace its natural grass field with synthetic turf.

But it may include more than that -- based on the meeting's participants.

In addition to the county's assistant prosecutors who act as commissioners attorneys, other county employees, it included to other attorneys:

* Tom Gabelman, a private attorney the commissioners hired to help them on riverfront development issues, was set to give commissioners a presentation on the status of the federal lawsuit they filed against the Bengals and the National Football League.

That suit alleged the team and league used their monopoly powers to win a lease that was unfavorable to the public. Taxpayers are paying for Paul Brown Stadium with an increased sales tax in Hamilton County, voted in a decade ago.

* Stan Chesley, the private attorney commissioners hired to sue the Bengals and NFL.

That lawsuit has been dismissed but commissioners haven't decided if they should appeal that ruling.

Commissioner Todd Portune, who filed the suit, wants it to continue.

Commissioner Pat DeWine insists the suit is over and any appeal would be a further waste of taxpayer money.

Portune filed the suit hoping to recover money because the sales tax fund that pays for the stadium is facing a projected deficit of up about $200 million because initial projections of the sales tax revenue have fallen short.

A new broom sweeps clean

The new Hamilton County board of commissioners today began putting its stamp on government.

The first steps were made by Commissioner Todd Portune – the lone Democrat on the three-member board the last two years who felt marginalized because he often was outvoted and rarely had a chance to promote his ideas and agendas.

Portune began by announcing the 2007 Hamilton County budget process would include four public hearings at four different areas around the county.

Read more here

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Shannon Jones takes Rep. Raga's former House seat

State Rep. Shannon Jones, a Republican from Springboro, was sworn into the 67th District seat formerly represented by Tom Raga, R-Mason, who ran for lieutenant governor as Ken Blackwell's running-mate.

Jones also stood up to give a seconding speech for the re-election of Jon Husted as Ohio House speaker.

"I am very grateful to the people of the 67th District for allowing me to represent them in the Ohio House of Representatives," Jones said. "Over the next two years I will be dedicated to serving the needs of our district and will work hard to address many of the important issues facing our state."

This is the first term in the Ohio House for Jones, who previously worked for U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot and former U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine.

She received her bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Cincinnati. Jones and her husband, Russell, live in Springboro with their two children.

House Speaker Jon Husted's speech

Here are excerpts from Ohio House Speaker Jon Husted's speech to the 127th General Assembly upon his re-election today:

"I look forward to working with you and, as we both experienced last month, the most important part of a healthy, bipartisan, working relationship is the recognition that it requires open communication, focus and integrity.

"Whether this is your first day or your last term I ask you to consider what you will say on your final day? Did you put the priorities of your constituents first and did you find a way to meet those needs while recognizing our obligation to respect all of Ohio? Did you build a mutual understanding and respect with your colleagues so that your differences didn’t prevent you from working together to resolve those issues on which you agree?

"As we move forward I believe our foremost priority should once again be rebuilding the Ohio economy. Ohioans seek the security of good jobs and hope for a better economic future. . .

"Much progress has been made in our education system over the past decade. Our K-12 test scores beat the national averages and those of our Midwestern competitors, we now have a higher high school graduation rate than most states and we out pace the national average in the number of graduates we send to college. But here is where the success story ends because we have fallen behind the rest of the nation in the number students who graduate from college and in the number of college graduates that populate our state.

"This is the point in the discussion where I usually run into a few critics who say, 'Not everybody is going to go to college.' And I agree, so let’s pursue this issue with our eyes wide open. By 2015 nearly 90 percent of the jobs will require some post-secondary training or certification and most of the better-paying jobs will require at least a 2-year degree. So if we agree that pursuing job security and hope for a better economic future are important, then we must solve 'Ohio’s Diploma Dilemma.' More of our citizens must complete certification and degreed programs.

"I pledge to work with Governor-Elect Ted Strickland and each one of you to solve Ohio’s Diploma Dilemma – trust me I don’t have all of the answers, but I know the solution requires tireless effort, bipartisan cooperation, and by far the most difficult challenge – the dreaded 6-letter word, CHANGE!

"We must make it easier to earn college credits for students who are still in high school; doing so makes college more affordable and increases the likelihood these students will attend college in Ohio. . .

"We must prepare Ohio to successfully compete with Indonesia and India, not just Indiana."

His entire speech can be found here:

House swearing-in a family affair

The entire Mallory family was in Columbus today for the swearing-in ceremony of Dale Mallory to the 32nd District seat of the Ohio House.

"I'm excited about moving the state forward," Mallory said after taking the oath of office. "I'll continue our family's tradition of good government. Our family's excited. Our constituents are excited."

Mallory is the third family member elected to the Ohio House, after his father William Sr., and brother, Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory. Last year was the first year in 40 that a Mallory did not serve in the Ohio General Assembly.

Mark Mallory served in the House from 1995-98, and the Senate from 1999 until December 2005. "This is exciting," the mayor said after today's ceremony. "I think it's an opportunity for a fresh new start."

William Mallory Sr. served from 1967-94 including as majority floor leader when Democrats controlled the House. "I'm real proud of it," he said of his son today. "It's quite an accomplishment."

Dale Mallory is one of 19 freshman Democrats in the House, the largest incoming class of Democrats since 1973. House Republicans maintain a majority of 53 to 46 seats but suffered a net loss of seven seats on Nov. 7.

Mallory's mother, Fannie, and brothers, William Jr. and Joe, also attended the opening day of the 127th General Assembly.

During separate House votes, Republicans Bill Seitz, R-Green Township, Michelle Schneider, R-Madeira, and Steve Driehaus, D-Price Hill, were elected to leadership posts.

GOP events

Here is a list of events, released today by the Hamilton County Republican Party, for the next few weeks.

Pepper speaks

Here -- in .pdf format -- is a copy of the speech David Pepper (pictured) gave today after he was sworn in as Hamilton County commissioner.

Strickland names another cabinet member

Strickland Appoints ODNR Director

Columbus, Ohio – Ohio Governor-elect Ted Strickland and Transition Chair Mayor Michael Coleman announced today the appointment of Sean Logan as director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

“I was fortunate to work with Sean when I was a Member of Congress representing Columbiana County, and I know first-hand how bright and hard-working he is,” Strickland said. “Sean truly believes in the potential of Ohio’s parks and natural resources, and he’s someone who will respect the rights of Ohio sportsmen and women.”

This announcement marks the sixth cabinet appointment made by Strickland.

“We are assembling a top-notch team to serve the people of Ohio,” Coleman said. “Sean will work hard with Governor-elect Strickland to honor the beauty our state and the richness of our natural heritage wherever it is found from the Ohio River to Lake Erie, in areas remote, rural or even urban.”

Logan, 40, is currently the president of the Columbiana County Board of Commissioners. He has been a commissioner since 2001. He currently sits on the Little Beaver Creek Wild and Scenic River Advisory Board. From 1990-2000 Logan was a member of the Ohio House of Representatives. During his time in the state legislature, Logan served on the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee for six years. He won the Columbiana County Federation of Conservation Club Outstanding Service Award.

Logan received a B.A. in political science and speech communication from Muskingum College. He earned his law degree from Capital University Law School in 2001. He married Melissa Davis in 1993, and the couple has three children.

“From camping and hiking to hunting and fishing, our state parks and bountiful natural resources are a vast source of recreation – and economic strength -- for our great state,” Logan said. “I look forward to ensuring that Ohio’s natural heritage will be enjoyed by Ohioans for generations to come.”

DeWine is da boss -- for a week

With the departure of Phil Heimlich and with Hamilton County's Board of Commissioners not having an organizational meeting until Jan. 8, the leadership of the board falls to its lone Republican -- Pat DeWine.

Heimlich was president of the board but lost that with his defeat. Because DeWine was the vice president of the board, he became its president -- even though the three-man board now has a Democratic majority.

But because the official orgazational meeting for the board isn't until Monday, a new president won't be named until then. (It's expected to be Todd Portune, the most senior commissioner and a Democrat.)

That means the leadership of the board falls to the current vice president, DeWine.

Ironically, DeWine presided today over the meeting that saw Pepper officially become a commissioner.

The board's titles mostly are honorary.

The board's president presides over meetings but his votes count for no more than either of the other two commissioners. A majority of votes wins the issue.

Dale Mallory's big class

It's swearing in day at the General Assembly.

Here's the release from House Dems:

19 new Democrats to join Ohio House on Tuesday

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Some 46 Democratic state representatives – including 19 new members – will officially start work at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 2 when they are sworn in during ceremonies on the opening day of the Ohio House of Representatives.

The 19 Democratic freshmen collectively represent the largest single bloc of new members to be sworn in on the Democratic side of the aisle in 34 years.

The influx of new Democratic faces into the 99-member chamber reflects the sentiment of Ohio voters, 51.9 percent of whom cast votes for Democratic candidates for state representative last November. Overall, Democrats will gain seven seats in the 99-member House of Representatives – the largest gain for Democrats in the chamber since 1973.

“Ohioans clearly wanted change, and we are seeing the results of that this week,” House Democratic Leader Joyce Beatty said. “We are entering a new, bipartisan era in state government with a strong team that will bring a fresh perspective on the challenges facing Ohio.”

Some incoming Democratic freshmen also bring valuable institutional knowledge. Representatives-elect Barbara Boyd of Cleveland, Vernon Sykes of Akron and state Sen. Bob Hagan of Youngstown all previously served in the House; collectively they have 36 years of experience in the chamber.

Newcomers to the 127th General Assembly also include seven attorneys, a county treasurer, a city councilman and a former House legislative aide.

A complete list of new Democratic House members to be sworn in Tuesday follows.

New Democratic House members, 127th General Assembly

1st District (Columbiana County): Linda Bolon, D-East Palestine.
8th District (parts of Cuyahoga County): Armond D. Budish, D-Beachwood.
9th District (parts of Cuyahoga County): Barbara Boyd, D-Cleveland Heights.
10th District (parts of Cuyahoga County): Eugene Miller, D-Cleveland.
11th District (parts of Cuyahoga County): Sandra Williams, D-Cleveland.
16th District (parts of Cuyahoga County): Jennifer Brady, D-Westlake.
24th District (parts of Franklin County): Ted Celeste, D-Grandview Heights.
26th District (parts of Franklin County): Tracy Heard, D-Columbus.
32nd District (parts of Hamilton County): Dale Mallory, D-Cincinnati (West End).
43rd District (parts of Summit and Portage counties): Stephen Dyer, D-Green.
44th District (parts of Summit County): Vernon Sykes, D-Akron.
49th District (parts of Lucas County): Matt Szollosi, D-Oregon.
57th District (parts of Lorain County): Matt Lundy, D-Elyria.
58th District (Huron County and parts of Lorain and Seneca counties): Matt Barrett, D-Amherst.
60th District (parts of Mahoning County): Bob Hagan, D-Youngstown.
61st District (Carroll County and parts of Mahoning, Stark and Tuscarawas counties): Mark Okey, D-Carrollton.
64th District (parts of Trumbull County): Tom Letson, D-Warren.
73rd District (parts of Richland County): Jay Goyal, D-Mansfield.
91st District (Hocking and Perry counties; parts of Licking and Pickaway counties): Dan Dodd, D-Hebron.

Dems galore

It was a Democratic party for the Democratic Party today at David Pepper's swearing in.

At the ceremony were former Cincinnati mayors Tom and Charlie Luken and Dwight Tillery.

Other prominent Dems in the audience were Cincinnati Council Member Jeff Berding, Hamilton County Auditor Dusty Rhodes, Hamilton County Democratic Party Chairman Tim Burke, and Amberley Village Mayor Chuck Kamine.

Republican Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge John A. "Skip" West also was at the ceremony.

Lobbyist Dick Weiland and Pepper's parents, John and Frances Pepper, were in the audience.

Your newest civil servants

The two employees -- who you are paying for -- for Hamilton County were officially hired today when commissioners unanimously approved their hiring today.

Bridget Doherty (pictured, on the left) was joined by Jen Winkelman.

Doherty, 29, of Covington, Ky., is a former WLW radio reporter and was spokeswoman for Pepper's campaign.

Winkelman, 27, is a lawyer who spent five years in Washington, D.C., before returning home.

Pepper: Safety first, then new shoes

With Cincinnati setting an all-time record high for homicides last year, David Pepper will highlight the need for safety in his speech today as he is sworn in as Hamilton County's newest commissioner.

Pepper's victory in November over incumbent Republican Commissioner Phil Heimlich gives Democrats a majority on the three-man commission for the first time since 1962.

Pepper will receive his oath of office from retired federal Court of Appeals Court Judge Nathaniel R. Jones, for whom Pepper, an attorney, clerked.

Pepper's swearing in won't take place until after there is a moment of silence for former President Gerald R. Ford who died last week.

Pepper will be introduced by fellow Democrat, Commissioner Todd Portune.

Pat DeWine, now the lone Republican on the board of commissioners, also is slated to speak.

Former Commissioner John Dowlin, a former long-time mayor of Sharonville, was in the County Administration Building early today for the swearing in.

Dowlin, a Republican, openly supported Pepper during the campaign. Dowlin is a retired Procter & Gamble executive and knows Pepper's father, former P&G chairman John Pepper.

Dowlin also actively supported Pepper because Heimlich recruited DeWine to face Dowlin in a Republican primary that ousted Dowlin from office.

Pepper showed up for the ceremony wearing a blue suit, white shirt, red tie -- and wine-colored shoes.

He initially planned to wear black shoes but still hasn't bought new shoes since an Enquirer blog item just before Christmas that noted he was wearing shoes without heels and with holes in the soles.

Knowing he would be quizzed about his shoes, Pepper -- who says he is awful at "errands" and hasn't bought new shoes -- wore the wine-colored shoes on purpose because they have no holes in the soles and both shoes have heels on them.

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