Wednesday, November 15, 2000

2 Area reps take major House spots

By Spencer Hunt
Enquirer Columbus Bureau

        COLUMBUS — Two Cincinnati-area Republican state representatives will step into prime leadership roles in the next session of the Ohio General Assembly.

        State Rep. Gary Cates, R-West Chester, will become speaker pro tempore, the No. 2 leadership post in the chamber behind new Speaker Larry Householder of Perry County. Mr. Cates' 58th House District in Butler County includes Middletown.

        State Rep. Patricia Clancy, R-Colerain Township, will take over as majority leader, the No. 3 spot. Ms. Clancy's 35th House District includes all of Colerain and Crosby townships, much of Springfield Township, North College Hill and Greenhills.

        Mr. Householder, Mr. Cates and Ms. Clancy got their new titles Tuesday after 56 fellow Republicans who won their November races cast procedural votes on the House floor. The chamber's 40 Democrats will select minority party leaders this morning.

        Mr. Householder's decision to tap Mr. Cates and Ms. Clancy ends a six-year political drought that shut out Cincinnati-area lawmakers from House leadership positions. Retired Rep. William Mallory, D-Cincinnati, was House majority leader from 1976 through 1994.

        Though expected to follow Mr. Householder's directions, the two new leaders also hope to become a vital link between the state Capitol and Greater Cincinnati.

        Ms. Clancy, 48, said she hopes to follow former Senate President Stanley Aronoff and current Senate President Richard Finan, R-Evendale, who helped secure millions for downtown development projects.

        “People in Cincinnati and in Hamilton County, in general, are used to working with Senate President Aronoff and then Senate President Finan,” she said. “They may not feel they had that kind of direct link to the House.”

        Mr. Cates, 44, said he expects even more weight to fall on his and Ms. Clancy's shoulders after Mr. Finan leaves. Term limits will force the Senate president. a 27-year legislative veteran, to retire in 2002.

        “When Dick Finan relinquishes his position, Patty and I are in a position to be the chief water-carriers for Cincinnati and the region,” Mr. Cates said.

        Mr. Finan said he looks forward to working with the two new leaders.

        Term limits will force Mr. Cates and Ms. Clancy to retire in 2004.

        That leaves little time, said Mr. Cates, to find a new group of Cincinnati lawmakers to lead in the Statehouse.

        Said Mr. Cates: “You got to start looking now for who's going to carry the ball after that.”


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