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Libertarian challenges his own party's candidate
Ohio headlines: JobsOhio releases 2013 jobs creation report; Kent State considers adding two-year degrees

Reporter / Host
Jeff St. Clair
  • JobsOhio releases 2013 jobs creation report
  • Kent State considers adding two-year degrees
  • More backers calling for Tressel to head YSU
  • Columbus school suspends student for pointing finger
  • Libertarian challenges his party's candidate
    Lawyers sparred Tuesday in Ohio over whether a Libertarian gubernatorial candidate was qualified for the May ballot, a dispute whose outcome could affect Republican Gov. John Kasich's re-election bid.

    Libertarian Charlie Earl has the potential to draw votes from Kasich as the governor faces a likely challenge from Democrat Ed FitzGerald this fall. Kasich has been criticized by tea party activists and other conservatives within the GOP for some of his policy decisions, including backing Medicaid expansion and drilling tax increases.

    Recent polls place Kasich ahead of FitzGerald, the Cuyahoga County executive in Cleveland. But the governor's race in this closely-divided battleground state has a chance of being tight.

    The case seeking to disqualify Earl from the primary ballot was brought on behalf of Tyler King, a Libertarian Ohio voter.

    King's lawyer, Columbus attorney John Zeiger, argued Tuesday before hearing officer Bradley Smith that Earl should be disqualified. He asserted that Democrats circulated Earl's petitions and provided monetary and legal help to the effort.

    Ohio law required petition circulators for Earl to be members of the Libertarian Party, Zeiger argued.

    Capital University law professor Mark Brown, representing Earl, called the challenge an extension of Republican efforts to exclude third parties from Ohio's ballot. He said petition circulators for Earl were legally qualified by Secretary of State Jon Husted, and he accused Zeiger of "bluster and innuendo."

    Brown brought a successful federal legal challenge to the constitutionality of new ballot access rules passed by the Ohio Legislature and signed by Kasich in November.

    Representatives of third parties including the Libertarians, Green Party and others argued in the lawsuit that the law would have effectively eliminated all minor party candidates from May's primary ballots. The law set a vote threshold none had met.

    Smith, also a law professor at Capital, was appointed by Husted, a Republican, to resolve the dispute. A decision must be made by Friday in order to meet Ohio's ballot production deadlines.

    JobsOhio releases 2013 jobs creation report
    Governor John Kasich’s private jobs creation agency released its annual report card this week.

    JobOhio reports that it brought nearly 18,000 new jobs to the state from projects involving 264 companies.

    The privatized development agency is funded by the state’s wholesale liquor revenue.

    Kent State considers adding two-year degrees
    Kent State University is considering offering two-year associates degrees to students mid-way through four-year degrees. 

    The Columbus Dispatch reports that the plan announced last week is drawing criticism from some of Ohio’s community colleges who say the change would mean more state money going to Kent State and less money for traditional two-year colleges.

    Kent’s plan would boost the number of degrees awarded which is a key part of a new state funding formula announced last week by governor John Kasich in his state of the state speech.

    Kent State is the only the state’s 13 public four-year universities proposing the change.

    More backers calling for Tressel to head YSU
    Support is growing to make former Ohio State University football coach Jim Tressel the next president of Youngstown State University.

    Leaders of an independent fundraising and scholarships group signed a letter endorsing Tressel.

    The Vindicator newspaper reports that 20 members of the Youngstown State University Foundation's board of trustees said that Tressel would help bring more students and money to the university.

    Tressel, who resigned from OSU in 2011 amid a scandal involving players, spent 14 years at Youngstown State before taking over the Buckeyes.

    Tressel has not indicated whether he's interested in the position at Youngstown State. He is now an executive vice president at the University of Akron.

    Columbus school suspends student for pointing finger
    A central Ohio principal says she suspended a 10-year-old boy from school for three days for pretending his finger was a gun and pointing it at another student's head.

    The boy's father says he thinks it's the adults who are acting childish after the boy was suspended from Devonshire Alternative Elementary School in Columbus last week.

    The fifth-grader said he was "just playing around." But district spokesman Jeff Warner tells The Columbus Dispatch that Devonshire principal Patricia Price has warned students about pretend gun play numerous times this year, and everyone should know the rules by now.

    The boy's father said the suspension is overboard.

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