Rep. Jason Stephens, a Republican from Kitts Hill in Lawrence County, was elected Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives, January 3, in a vote that surprised many.
Stephens won the top spot with help from the Democratic caucus. He defeated State Rep. Derrick Merrin, 54-43. His 54 votes included all 32 Democratic members and 22 Republicans. Merrin, considered more conservative than Stephens, was expected to be named Speaker since the GOP caucus chose him in an unofficial vote following the November election.
In the Ohio Senate, Sen. Matt Huffman (R-Lima) was re-elected President, as expected. History was made in that chamber as Sen. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) became the first openly LGBTQ+ Minority Leader. Huffman released committee assignments this week. Sen. Steve Huffman will again serve as Chair of the Health Committee with Sen. Terry Johnson, DO, serving as Vice Chair. Johnson will chair the newly-formed Community Revitalization Committee.
Republicans hold supermajorities in the Ohio House and Ohio Senate. Other demographics show 29 of the 99 members of the House are women and 8 of the 33 Ohio senators are female.