Following this morning’s news that State Senator Jimmy Stewart is resigning rather than facing re-election, I’m getting word that State Senator Karen Gillmor is the next to leave the Senate rather than seek re-election next year and face voters angry about her vote for Senate Bill 5.

We’ve covered the extent in which State Senator Karen Gillmor (R-Tiffin) has tried to explain her vote on SB 5.  We, mistakenly apparently, that Gillmor would be rewarded by finally getting a Chairwoman position in a legislative committee.  We’ve discussed the multiple excuses that Gillmor has made, such as how she voted that way so the men in the caucus would stop picking on freshman Senator Gayle Manning to vote for SB 5, how she would support the referendum repeal, etc.  Well, Gillmor never has to worry about voters over SB 5 again.

According to a reliable source currently in State government, Karen Gillmor will in the following months also announce that she will not run for re-election, but instead will be resigning her seat to take an appointment to the Ohio Industrial Commission.  According to the Commission’s website, Commissioner Kevin Abrams’ term expires next month.  Governor Kasich could re-appoint the Taft appointee, but we’re told he’s expected to name Gillmor instead.

Here’s the background of the person Senator Gillmor would be replacing:

Kevin brings a wealth of workers’ compensation experience to his role as Industrial Commissioner, including service as a staff attorney and Assistant Law Director for the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. He has extensive experience with self-insuring employers, which will serve him well as the Chairman of the Self-Insuring Employers Evaluation Board, included in his responsibilities as the public member of the Industrial Commission.

Originally from Williamsburg, Ohio, Kevin earned a B.A. in Psychology from Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts in 1978. In 1982, he received his law degree from the Ohio State University College of Law. While in law school, Kevin was a member of the Ohio State Law Journal.

As Assistant Law Director for BWC since 1988, Kevin provided legal advice to BWC in virtually all areas of workers’ compensation. His primary areas of responsibility included oversight of administrative and court settlements of BWC claims, self-insurance legal issues, bankruptcy and collection matters, and special projects involving claims issues. Additionally, Kevin served as Chairperson of the Self-Insured Review Panel (SIRP), liaison to Attorney General and Special Counsel for court cases, and as a frequent contact with the IC regarding interagency issues. Kevin addressed complicated claims issues in various areas such as permanent total disability, Disabled Workers’ Relief Fund, and violations of specific safety requirements. Kevin is also a frequent lecturer on workers’ compensation issues.

In addition to his public service, Kevin was also in private practice, focusing on workers’ compensation matters.

The Industrial Commission’s budget is passed separately from the rest of the biennium budget, and has already been signed into law.  Therefore, Gillmor can continue to serve in the Senate and vote for the Kasich job-killing budget, just like Senate Majority Leader Stewart before resigning for greener, non-voter controlled pastures.

The Dispatch has hinted in its budget coverage lately that the vote in the Senate to pass the vote may be closer than people realize.  Or at least it was.  Still, that’s two potential Senate incumbent resignations that could put the GOP in the hole next year.

A call seeking comment was left with State Senator Gillmor, but has not yet been returned.

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