Editor's note: A previous version omitted the names of Connie Pillich and Scott Schertzer.
A Beacon Journal report about the hiring of Cuyahoga Falls Mayor Don Walters' 2013 campaign manager to a job her supervisor says she isn't qualified for.
Parks and Recreation Assistant Superintendent Megan Moreland collects a $90,000 annual salary, and it's reported that her benefits package pushes her total compensation to nearly $130,000. But according to the Beacon Journal, Parks and Recretation Director Ed Stewart says he didn't want to hire her and that she isn't qualified for the job.
Cuyahoga Falls City Councilmen Adam Miller and Vic Palotta discussed their concerns on The Jasen Sokol Show on Tuesday. Walters joined the show Wednesday to respond.
Akron's own LeBron James spoke at Cleveland Cavaliers Media Day Monday to address some of the social issues going on in our society, and with that he addressed the NFL for its various signs of solidarity Sunday.
New numbers released this week by the Ohio Department of Insurance show that premiums for people who buy insurance on Ohio's health care exchange are set to spike by 34 percent on average in 2018.
Most people who buy through Healthcare.gov are receiving government subsidies to pay for part of their premium, but will still likely bear some of the burden of the increase.
Chris Brock, Assistant Director of Public Affairs at the Ohio Department of Insurance, joined Jasen to explain the reasons for the increases and what should be done to avoid similar hikes in the future.
The race to replace Rep. Jim Renacci in Congress is heating up.
State Rep. Tom Patton (R-Strongsville) announced he's entering the race for the Republican nomination for the 16th Congressional District. Patton currently serves as Majority Whip in the General Assembly. He also served in the State Senate from 2008-2016. He'll face State Rep. Christina Hagan (R-Alliance) in the GOP primary.
Patton joined Jasen to talk about why he's running and share his ideas on health care and the economy.
Sen. Rob Portman was seen as one of the Senators whose vote was in play during the Senate's debate over health care. He ultimately voted yes on the so-called "skinny repeal" bill that failed to pass, and still believes the health care bill known as Obamacare needs to be repealed and replaced. He joined Jasen on Tuesday to talk about where Congress goes next on health care. He also talked about a bill he proposed that would allow websites such as Backpage.com to be held liable in cases of human trafficking that involve their websites.
The Senate's failure to pass a health care bill last week left people wondering what will happen to the health care system in America. Will the health care bill commonly known as Obamacare be repealed and replaced with something else? Will it merely be changed? Will Republicans and Democrats be able to work in a bipartisan fashion to improve health care?
Rep. Jim Renacci stopped by The Jasen Sokol Show on Monday to answer those questions, talk about why Republicans couldn't get a bill passed, and talk about what Congress will focus on next.
Now that the Republican health care bill has died in the Senate, many are wondering if GOP congressmen will reach across the aisle to try to get a bill passed and whether Democrats will work with them. Jasen talked to Rep. Tim Ryan Wednesday about what parts of health care reform he would be willing to work on with Republicans and what can be done to reduce the sticker price of health care.
The Senate health care bill fizzled out Monday after two more senators announced they wouldn't support it, bringing the total to four and leaving Republicans with less than 50 senators who would vote yes. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell then announced that he would put forward a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act after a two year transition period.
Rep. Jim Renacci joined Jasen Tuesday to give his thoughts on the health care bill, why he will support a repeal bill in the House, and what should be done to fix the health care system.
It hasn't exactly been a secret that Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor is planning a run for Governor. But she officially launched her campaign Friday in a City Club Forum in Cleveland. She joined Jasen on Monday to talk about the campaign and her ideas on the opiate crisis, jobs, and education.
Reaction came fast Thursday to Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan's proposal to raise the city income tax from 2.25 percent to 2.5 percent. Akron City Council President Marilyn Keith (D-Ward 8), Budget Committe Chairman Mike Freeman (D-Ward 9), and Councilwoman Tara Mosley Samples (D-Ward 5) joined Jasen to give their thoughts on the plan and respond to concerns raised by the listeners.
We're more than five months away from Election Day, but one ballot issue is already gaining attention and filling up the airwaves.
The Ohio Drug Price Relief Act would require the state to pay no more than what the Department of Veterans Affairs pays for prescription drugs. It would affect state agencies that purchase prescription drugs including Medicaid, the Department of Health, retirement plans, prisons, and workers compensation.
Dennis Willard, spokesman for Ohio Taxpayers for Lower Drug Prices, joined Jasen to speak in favor of the ballot issue while Dale Butland of Ohioans Against the Deceptive Rx Ballot Issue presented the opposition.
There's another local candidate in the race for Secretary of State.
State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) announced her candidacy earlier this week. She joined The Jasen Sokol Show on Friday to talk about her decision to run and the changes she plans to make if she's elected.
Hudson Republican Frank LaRose is setting his sights on a statewide office. The State Senator is running for Secretary of State, using YouTube to get his message out to supporters.
He also joined The Jasen Sokol Show to discuss why he's running and what he plans to do if elected.
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(LaRose Campaign) Ohio Senator Frank LaRose today officially declared his candidacy for Ohio Secretary of State. LaRose is a two-term state senator from northeast Ohio and decorated combat veteran who served in the U.S. Army Special Forces. His candidacy was announced through a video posted on FrankLaRose.com and sent to supporters.
“I am running for Secretary of State because of my great respect for the power of free elections. Because of this, I have an unwavering commitment to protect the integrity of our elections and defend Ohioans access to this fundamental right,” said LaRose. “I believe our elected leaders must aspire to civility, find common ground and work together while still upholding their deeply held briefs. As a principled conservative, I have endeavored to work with my colleagues on opposing sides of an issue while holding true to my core beliefs.As Secretary of State, I will work to foster cooperation and inspire confidence in Ohio’s election system and those who administer it.
”As a Senator, LaRose has authored laws that protect the integrity of the ballot box, modernize voter registration and prevent voter fraud. His successful legislative initiatives include Ohio’s new online voter registration system and state funding for electronic poll books. LaRose has also authored legislation to reform Ohio’s redistricting process.In addition, LaRose has sponsored legislation eliminating antiquated business regulations and streamlining the interactions between state government and small business owners.
During the Iraq War, LaRose earned the Bronze Star for his service as a Green Beret in the U.S. Army Special Forces. As a Green Beret and also as a member of the 101st Airborne Division, he defended American interests in several troubled areas including Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo and on the southern U.S. border.
“In Iraq and Kosovo, I had the privilege of witnessing dedicated men and women taking great risks to exercise their right to vote,” said LaRose. “I witnessed first hand their sacrifices in order to vote and have a voice in their government’s future for the first time in history.
As Ohio Secretary of State, those experiences will continue to inspire me as I work to administrator fair, free and open elections.”In advance of his candidacy for Secretary of State, LaRose has shadowed board of elections directors in multiple counties to learn more about their Election Day responsibilities. In recent months, he has visited with local Republican leaders in 80 of Ohio’s 88 counties and attended 38 local Republican Party events, such as Lincoln Day Dinners.
LaRose is a graduate of The Ohio State University. He lives in Hudson with his wife Lauren and their three young children.
LaRose key legislative initiatives include:
• Sponsored legislation that created Ohio’s first online voter registration system, enhancing access while combating fraud;
• Successfully pushed for state funding of electronic poll books;
• Championed legislation to reform Ohio’s legislative and congressional redistricting processes;• Sponsored legislation enhancing transparency by requiring electronic filing of campaign finance reports by local candidates;• Sponsored legislation to fund the replacement of aging voting equipment;
• Sponsored cost-savings elections legislation that would eliminate primary elections when only one candidate appears on a partisan ballot;
• Sponsored legislation eliminating antiquated small business regulations and streamlining communication between state government and small business owners; and• Co-sponsored legislation that reduced filing fees for new business registrations at the Ohio Secretary of State’s office.
LaRose career highlights include:
• Currently serving his second term in the Ohio Senate representing citizens in Stark, Summit and Wayne counties;
• Awarded the Bronze Star for his service as a Green Beret in Iraq; and• A 10-year U.S. Army veteran, serving in the 101st Airborne Division and the U.S. Special Forces, achieving the rank of Sergeant First Class
The large field of contenders for Governor got larger Monday with the announcement that Nan Whaley will run for the office.
Whaley, who has served as Mayor of Dayton since 2014, joined Jasen on Tuesday to talk about why she decided to run, some of the issues she'll run on, and how she plans to set herself apart from an already crowded field of candidates.
The 2018 gubernatorial race is heating up as another Republican contender has entered the race.
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted announced his candidacy late Saturday night with a video posted to his social media accounts. On Monday, he joined Jasen to talk about his decision to run for Governor and some of the issues he'll run on.
Clarence Mingo is the newest person to throw his hat in the ring for the 2018 election.
Currently the Franklin County Auditor, Mingo will run for the Republican nomination for State Treasurer. He currently has one opponent in the GOP field, State Rep. Robert Sprague of Findlay. No Democrats have announced bids.
Mingo joined Jasen to introduce himself to Akron area voters and talk about his ideas for the office if he's elected.
A bill passed by the Ohio Senate this week would lead to harsher sentences for fentanyl traffickers.
Senate Bill 1, sponsored by State Sen. Frank LaRose (R-Hudson), lowers the amount of fentanyl for which someone can be charged with felony trafficking. Under current law, LaRose says a trafficker has to have enough heroin to kill 10,000 people before they can be charged with a felony. Fentanyl is frequently being mixed with heroin, creating a much more deadly concoction than straight heroin. The bill now moves to the General Assembly.
LaRose joined Jasen to talk about the bill and his proposal for congressional redistricting reform.
The Democratic gubernatorial field grew again Monday as former State Rep. Connie Pillich announced that she is entering the race. Pillich, who also ran for State Treasurer in 2014, joined Jasen to discuss why she's running for Governor and give her thoughts on health care reform and the heroin epidemic.
President Donald Trump struck a different, much softer tone as he laid out an outline of his policy agenda Tuesday night in a joint address to Congress. Reps. Tim Ryan (D-Niles) and Dave Joyce (R-Russell Twp.) joined Jasen to react to the speech and discuss how Trump's proposals will be viewed in Congress.
Reaction to President Donald Trump's executive order pausing the refugee process and suspending visas for citizens of seven Middle Eastern countries has been swift and loud on both sides. Protesters gathered at airports across the country over the weekend while Trump surrogates took to the Sunday shows to defend the order. Liz Walters of the International Institute joined Jasen to express her concerns and talk about the travel ban's impact on Akron, while Ohio Treasurer and 2018 Senate candidate Josh Mandel expressed his support for Trump's action.
The political discourse has been heated lately, but we didn't expect anyone to lose an ear in the process.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports a debate over President Donald Trump's immigration policies ended when Salatiel Marcos Ortiz's roommate bit a part of his ear off. The Mike Tyson-esque incident occurred early Monday morning. Ortiz also suffered a broken finger. Police are still searching for the roommate.
Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Wadsworth) is looking ahead to next year and the beginning of the Trump administration with several bills he plans to propose in the new session of Congress, including bills on infrastructure and the budget. He joined Jasen to talk about those bills, his thoughts on a congressional investigation into alleged Russian hacking, and the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act.
Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Wadsworth) was one of President Elect Donald Trump's earliest supporters in Ohio, and now his name is in the national discussion for a cabinet post.
A Forbes column last week made the case as to why Renacci should receive an appointment. Renacci joined Jasen and said while he has had discussions with Trump's transition team, he has not talked with Trump specifically about a cabinet post.
Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Niles) believes it's time for change in the House Democratic leadership. Last week, he officially launched a bid to replace Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) as the House Minority Leader. He joined Jasen to talk about his candidacy and the change in approach he would like to see in the Democratic Party.
It's Election Eve, and the presidential candidates are criss-crossing key swing states in search of the votes they need to put them in the White House. Kyle Kondik, Managing Editor of Sabato's Crystal Ball, and Dave Cohen of the Bliss Institute at The University of Akron joined Jasen with a look at what to expect on Election Day.
A candidate for President was in Akron Monday, but the King of the Rubber City was in the spotlight.
At an event at the newly-renovated Goodyear Hall, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton touted the endorsement he received from LeBron James in Monday's Akron Beacon Journal.
"I'm obviously delighted to be endorsed by someone who has demonstrated such leadership and such extraordinary ability," Clinton said. "He is someone who uses the platform he has earned, because he has worked so hard over so many years, to speak up and speak out for those who do not have a voice."
Clinton also blasted Republican candidate Donald Trump over The New York Times' reporting that he wrote off $916 million of losses on his tax returns in 1995. She responded to the assertion made by some Trump supporters, including New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Fox News Sunday, that Trump is a genius for working the tax system to his advantage.
"What kind of genius loses a billion dollars in the first place?" Clinton quipped.
While Clinton benefitted from a bump in the national polls in the days after last week's presidential debate, the first post-debate Ohio poll tells a different story. The Quinnipiac University poll shows Trump leading by three points in head-to-head polling against Clinton, and five points when Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein are included.
The event was billed as a voter registration event with just over a week until the registration deadline, but it was every bit a traditional campaign rally. The more than 2,500 people in attendance cheered loudly, waved signs, and applauded when asked if they were registered to vote.
Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan and Reps. Marcia Fudge and Tim Ryan spoke ahead of Clinton. A handful of protesters held pro-Trump signs outside.
With Labor Day typically marking the kickoff to the Fall campaign, both major party candidates for president will be laboring on the campaign trail with stops in Northeast Ohio on Monday.
First, Donald Trump's campaign is set for a morning meeting with Labor Union leaders in Cleveland, followed by a campaign stop at the Canfield Fair in Youngstown at some point in the afternoon. Trump will be joined by his running mate Mike Pence at both events.
Hillary Clinton's Campaign, meanwhile, is scheduled for a Labor Day afternoon event in Cleveland. The 11th Congressional District Community Caucus kicks off at 10 a.m., and she is expected to speak with her Vice Presidential nominee Tim Kaine, at about 2 p.m. at the Kids Village and Senior Pavillion at Luke Easter Park on Kinsman Rd.
Aetna announced this week that it would no longer offer health insurance plans on the Affordable Care Act exchange in Ohio and several other states, leaving around 20,000 Ohioans to find new health care plans during the open enrollment period this fall. Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor, who is also the director of the Ohio Department of Insurance, joined Jasen to talk about what the move means for people who currently have Aetna insurance and what she thinks needs to change about the Affordable Care Act.
With the heroin epidemic seemingly spinning out of control, many people are asking what the government is doing to address it. Ohio Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor joined Jasen to talk about what the state is doing and what more it can do to address the quickly growing problem.
Ohio Democratic Party chairman David Pepper joined The Jasen Sokol Show to talk about whether the Democratic Party is unifying in Philadelphia and preview the speeches by Vice President Joe Biden, President Barack Obama, and Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine.
With the Republican National Convention winding down, how does it stack up with past conventions?
Bob Schieffer would know. The veteran CBS newsman has been covering conventions since 1968. While he says he hasn't seen anything quite like the violence of the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, he referred to this year's RNC as "the most unusual." He talked to Jasen Sokol Thursday afternoon about the RNC and next week's Democratic National Convention.
CBS Evening News anchorman Scott Pelley talks to WAKR's Jasen Sokol about the challenges of covering the Trump campaign, why he believes Ohio is critical in winning the presidential race, and how well he thinks Cleveland has done hosting the Republican National Convention.
John Dickerson, host of CBS News' Face The Nation, joined Jasen on Media Row at the Republican National Convention to talk about the importance of Ohio in the presidential race, how presumptive GOP candidate Donald Trump affects Senate candidate Rob Portman, and how political experts can better study Trump voters.
It was a busy day on The Jasen Sokol Show on Day 1 of The Republican National Convention. Here's the rundown of everyone who stopped by Media Row today:
Rep. Jim Renacci on whether Ohio Republicans are coalescing around Donald Trump
Tim Dimoff of SACS Consulting, Security, and Investigations on security measures around Cleveland
Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan on the RNC's impact on Akron
Analysis from Tom Sutton of Baldwin Wallace University
Analysis from David Cohen of the Bliss Institute for Applied Politics at The University of Akron
Mark "Oz" Geist shares his stories of fighting in Benghazi
Former Akron City Council candidate Cynthia Blake on why she's a Republican
After recently announcing that he was diagnosed with colon cancer, Summit County Executive Russ Pry underwent successful surgery to remove a tumor.
Pry's Chief of Staff announced on Friday that Tuesday's surgery at Cleveland Clinic Akron General went well and Pry is recovering. He added that the cancer had not spread beyond his colon and had not reached an advanced stage. Pry will take the next 6 weeks to recover and is expected to return to work August 1st, when Summit County Council returns from their summer recess.
Pry, 58, was diagnosed with colon cancer after a routine exam. He is using his diagnosis to stress the importance of continuing routine check-ups and exams.
Former Ohio Governor, U.S. Senator, and Cleveland Mayor George Voinovich is being mourned by political leaders around the Buckeye State, including those who worked with him closely. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine served as Voinovich's lieutenant governor from 1991-1994 and also served alongside Voinovich in the Senate. DeWine joined Jasen to share his memories of Voinovich.
Summit County Executive Russ Pry has banned all official county government travel to North Carolina in response to the state's controversial "Bathroom Bill."
North Carolina House Bill 2 includes provisions that require people to use the public restroom that corresponds with their biological sex and that supercede non-discrimination laws passed by municipalities. Opponents of the bill, including Pry, contend the bill discriminates against the LGBT community.
Pry joined The Jasen Sokol Show to explain his decision:
It's Election Day, and the presidential candidates are making their final push in what are expected to be close races in both parties. We invited all six candidates from the major parties to come on the show, and only Sen. Bernie Sanders accepted our invitation. He talked to Jasen about his thoughts on the Ohio primary, his plan for free tuition at public universities, how he plans to pay for his policy proposals, and the lack of civility in the presidential campaign.
Polls close at 7:30 p.m. although voters in line at the time doors close can still vote their ballot.
Judith Lynn Lee and Matt Browarek are battling for the Democratic nomination for Ohio House District 38, a seat currently held by Republican incumbent Marilyn Slaby. Both candidates talked to Jasen about their ideas and plans for if they're elected.
Primary voters in New Hampshire are just hours away from casting their ballots in the first in the nation presidential primary. On the Republican side, it's believed to be a make-or-break primary for several candidates including Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
Lindsay McCoy of WFMJ in Youngstown is following Kasich in the final days of his New Hampshire campaign. She joined Jasen to talk about the Kasich campaign and what it will take for him to stay in the race past Tuesday's primary.
In what was considered by many to be among the most substantive debates of the year, the nine highest polling Republican candidates for President squared off in Las Vegas with homeland security and the war on terror as the main focus. John Green from the Bliss Institute for Applied Politics at The University of Akron talks about his winners and losers and whether the race will change in the wake of the debate.
While all nine candidates got in their talking points on how to keep America safe, not all of them were true. Washington Post fact checker Michelle Lee ran down some of the most requested fact checks.
The last Republican presidential debate of 2015 is tonight in Las Vegas with nine candidates set to be on the main stage for a debate that is expected to have a heavy focus on homeland security and fighting terrorism. Baldwin Wallace University political science professor Tom Sutton talks about what to expect from the candidates.
One of the biggest debates in the wake of the deadly terror attacks in Paris has been whether to accept refugees from Syria. The governors of 32 states have asked the federal government to not place Syrian refugees in their states, and there is speculation that Republicans in Congress may insert language into a key spending bill to block Syrian refugees from being accepted into the United States.
Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Wadsworth) believes Ohio Gov. John Kasich made the right decision by calling for Syrians to not be placed in Ohio.
"We need to ensure those coming over have no ties to ISIS or other terrorist organizations. We need to have a system in place, we need to be screening." Renacci said. "If we can't do that, we shouldn't just be allowing individuals to come in."
Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Niles) sees it differently. While he also wants to make sure terrorists don't enter the country, he says there are safeguards in place to ensure the wrong people don't come in.
"If we don't know something... or we don't know who exactly you are, you don't get in the country," Ryan said.
When asked about the "gaps" in the ability to vet Syrian refugees noted last month by FBI director James Comey, Ryan said a refugee whose information falls into one of those gaps would not gain entry into the United States.
The House of Representatives is expected to vote on a bill that would, among other changes, require FBI background checks for refugees. The Associated Press reports President Barack Obama has threatened to veto the bill if it reaches his desk.
Dave Lombardi and Jon Oldham are running for the Akron Municipal Court bench currently occupied by Lombardi. Both candidates talked to Jasen about their qualifications and their ideas for the court.
The race for Stow Municipal Court clerks has been among the most hotly contested local races of the year. Democrat Diana Colavecchio, independent Kevin Coughlin, and Republican Don Robart all sat down with Jasen to talk about their ideas for the court and the highly negative tone of the campaign.