COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- A Youngstown-area lawmaker raised objections Tuesday to Gov. John Kasich's plans to deliver his State of the State speech outside Columbus again this year.
In a letter, state Rep. Ronald Gerberry, D-Austintown, asked House Speaker William Batchelder to reject any request by Kasich to change the speech's venue. The legislator also asked Batchelder to encourage new Senate President Keith Faber to do the same.
"The moving of this address significantly destroys a historical tradition of Ohio and needs to be stopped before another tradition is lost," Gerberry wrote. "As long serving members it is our responsibility to educate newer members in Ohio legislative history and tradition so future generations will enjoy them as we have."
While it's important for a governor to hold events throughout the state, Gerberry said, relocating the address breaks the tradition of having the governor deliver the address to a joint legislative session in Ohio House chambers.
Kasich made history last year by delivering the major policy address in blue-collar Steubenville, in the eastern part of the state along the Ohio River. Because the Ohio Supreme Court was in session that day, justices didn't attend. Neither did all statewide officeholders, which is the norm.
This year, Kasich has said he'll hold the address in the western part of the state. The Republican governor says it makes an important statement to take the speech outside the capital. He has not yet named the city or the date for his 2013 address. Usually, Ohio's governor delivers the address in January or February.
"We don't think that the only important things that happen in this state happen at the corner of Broad and High streets," said Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols. "We think government should be closer to the people who are the bosses."
The new practice takes the governor away from home.
Kasich moved from Pennsylvania to Ohio in his youth to attend Ohio State University in Columbus and remains an area resident. He lives in the Columbus suburb of Westerville. He is the first Ohio governor from Franklin County since Salman P. Chase in the 1850s. Chase spent part of his boyhood in Worthington, now a Columbus suburb.
A spokesman for Batchelder said the speaker is not the lone decision-maker on the potential change of location. It must be OK'd in a resolution approved by majorities of both the House and the Senate. Both bodies are comfortably controlled by Kasich's fellow Republicans.
"The Speaker was supportive of the Governor's request to move the last State of the State to Steubenville and has not yet received a request from the Governor about a desired location for 2013," spokesman Mike Dittoe said in an email.