The Columbus Dispatch is reporting that Governor-elect Kasich will announce at 11:30 a.m. this morning that he’s nominating State Representative James Zehringer (R-Fort Recovery) to be the Director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture.
Zehringer, 58, a farmer and owner and operator of Meiring Poultry and Fish Farm, was appointed to the House in February 2007 and was unopposed for re-election this fall. His district covers Mercer and Preble counties and portions of Darke County.
This guy was set to serve two terms in the Ohio House without ever facing a contested election. So, naturally, Kasich appoints him to a Cabinet-level position, except….
One of the bills Zehringer has co-sponsored in the Ohio House is House Bill 25. You know, the one I talked about yesterday… that eliminates the Ohio Department of Agriculture as a Cabinet-level agency. The same bill that GOP has pledged to enact as a means to try to balance Ohio’s budget without reversing some the unpaid for tax cuts they passed in 2005 that has created this budget mess in the first place.
If this bill passes as its been proposed by legislators like Zehringer, he’s out of a job unless he’s willing to take a major pay cut and stay on as a division chief as a Assistant Director or Deputy Director of one of the new divisions of the Department of Resource Protection (now known as ODNR.) However, that decision is at the discretion of one of Kasich’s yet-to-be-announced Cabinet picks that would actually survive the GOP consolidation plan. Talk about self-defeating poor job security!
John Kasich, who attacked Strickland for allowing the Ohio Department of Development be run with an Interim Director (who wound up becoming appointed the Director anyways), has yet to announce his economic development team. He’s announced his budget team, and now apparently his “farm” team. But for a guy who claimed he was going to focus like a laser on economic development… he’s been oddly quiet except to announce that his JobsOhio plan is stalled indefinitely.
I don’t get the priorities here at all. Kasich is announcing a Cabinet appointment that his Republican allies in the legislature just announced they’re planning on eliminating. It doesn’t make sense.
[UPDATE: As one of the Plundercrew noted on our Twitter account, Kasich is set to make the announcement off the “shores of Grand Lake St. Mary’s, polluted by agricultural runoff.” Irony abounds.]
(HT: Scott Pullins from the comments and the Pullins Report)