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Ohio House has a new, unexpected speaker

Jason Stephens on the Ohio House floor in 2019.
Ohio House of Representatives
Jason Stephens in 2019.

In its first official day of the new session, the Ohio House has a new speaker. And it's not who many expected.

While Republican Derek Merrin (R-Monclova) won a secret ballot vote among Republicans in November to replace the outgoing Bob Cupp (R-Lima), Republican Jason Stephens (R-Kitts Mill) got the majority of the "yeas" in the official vote on the floor.

Stephens won 54-43 with the help of all 32 House Democrats who said he would be a better choice when it came to their priorities, primarily on education.

While some Merrin backers are angry, Center for Christian Virtue President Aaron Baer said he doesn’t think the selection of a more moderate Republican is a sign that his group won’t be able to achieve its legislative priorities.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.