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A surprising speaker elected in the Ohio House

New Ohio House Speaker Jason Stephens
Ohio House

Last month, Republican House members said they supported State Rep. Derek Merrin of suburban Toledo to be the next speaker, but that was not to be.

On this week's episode of Snollygoster, Ohio's politics podcast from WOSU, hosts Mike Thompson and Steve Brown talk about a surprising turn to Jason Stephens for the top job. Ohio Public Radio Statehouse News Bureau reporter Jo Ingles joins the show.

Democrats vote for Republican House Speaker

Jason Stephens, the state representative from Kitts Hill, Ohio—a tiny township in Southeast Ohio right along the Ohio River—is the new Speaker of the Ohio House.

In December, Republicans were united behind Rep. Derrick Merrin.

Most Republicans stuck with Merrin, known to be an arch-conservative, but moderate Republicans and all of the Democrats teamed up to deny Merrin the speaker’s gavel in favor of Stephens.

Minority Leader Allison Russo said Democrats can work with Stephens, in particular when it comes to education.

If you have a suggestion for our Snollygoster of the Week award, a question or a comment, send them to snollygoster@wosu.org.