Ohio Governor Appointments House and Senate Leadership Teams

Government Relations

Governor-Elect DeWine Names Key Cabinet and Staff Members

Governor-elect Mike DeWine, who will be sworn in officially as 70th Governor of Ohio on January 14, has announced all but one nomination for his cabinet officers. Only the Ohio Department of Health remains without a nomination for its new leader. Among the nominations are current and former legislators, current directors continuing in their roles and long-time DeWine staffers in the Attorney General’s Office. One important announcement is that Lt. Governor-elect Jon Husted will serve in several important roles in addition to his duties as Lt. Governor – as the Director of InnovateOhio, the new initiative to make state government a more effective and efficient leader in using technology to improve customer service and save tax dollars, in the Office of Workforce Transformation, and as Director of the Common Sense Initiative, which reviews proposed regulations for business impact. The proposed appointments include:

  • Adjutant General – Gen. John C. Harris, Jr.
  • Administrative Services – Matthew Damschroder
  • Aging – Ursel McElroy
  • Agriculture – Dorothy Pelanda
  • Budget and Management – Kimberly Murnieks
  • Commerce – Sheryl Creed Maxfield
  • Development Services – Lydia Mihalik
  • Developmental Disabilities – Jeffrey Davis
  • EPA – Laurie Stevenson
  • Higher Education – Senator Randy Gardner (R-Bowling Green)
  • Insurance – Jillian Froment
  • Job and Family Services – Kimberly Hall
  • Medicaid – Maureen Corcoran
  • Mental Health and Addiction Services – Lori Criss
  • Natural Resources – Mary Mertz
  • Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities – Kevin Miller
  • Public Safety – Thomas J. Stickrath
  • Rehabilitation and Correction – Annette Chambers-Smith
  • Taxation – Jeff McClain
  • Transportation – Jack Marchbanks
  • Veteran Services – Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Deborah Ashenhurst
  • Workers Compensation – Stephanie McCloud
  • Youth Services – Ryan Gies

Governor-elect DeWine also has named the following individuals to key positions in the Governor’s Office:

  • Chief of Staff – Laurel Dawson
  • Chief Legal Counsel – Matthew J. Donahue
  • Chief Advisor – Ann O’Donnell
  • Director of Cabinet Affairs – Ryan Burgess
  • Director of Policy – Michael Hall
  • Director of Legislative Affairs – Dan McCarthy
  • Director of Communications – Lisa Peterson
  • Director of Recovery Ohio (new office to combat opioid crisis) – Alisha Nelson
  • Director of Children’s Initiatives (new position in Governor’s Office) – LeeAnne Cornyn
  • Senior Advisor for Criminal Justice Policy – Andy Wilson 

Ohio House and Senate Convene, Elect Leadership Teams

The Ohio House of Representatives and Senate opened the 133rd General Assembly on Monday, January 7 by swearing in all members and electing the majority and minority leadership teams. This included the election of the new Speaker of the House, which had been a contentious contest between Speaker Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) and Representative Larry Householder (R-Glendford), who served as Speaker from 2001-2004. In the end, Representative Householder was elected by a vote of 52-46 by winning the support of a majority of the Democratic members. Householder announced that he was delaying the vote on the rest of the leadership team, citing the need for the caucus to regroup after the split vote.

The House Minority Caucus selected their leaders at the end of last year, with Representative Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton) retaining his position as Minority Leader. However, he has just announced that he is stepping down as Leader at the end of January.

In the Senate, President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) and Minority Leader Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights) each retained their positions.

The leadership teams for the 133rd General Assembly:

House Majority Leadership
Speaker Larry Householder (Glenford)

House Minority Leadership
Minority Leader Fred Strahorn (Dayton)
Assistant Minority Leader Emilia Sykes (Akron)
Minority Whip Brigid Kelly (Cincinnati)
Assistant Minority Whip Kent Smith (Euclid)

Senate Majority Leadership
President Larry Obhof (Medina)
President Pro Tempore Bob Peterson (Sabina)
Majority Floor Leader Randy Gardner (Bowling Green)*
Majority Whip Matt Huffman (Lima)

Senate Minority Leadership
Minority Leader Kenny Yuko (Richmond Heights)
Assistant Minority Leader Cecil Thomas (Cincinnati)
Minority Whip Sean O’Brien (Cortland)
Assistant Minority Whip Sandra Williams (Cleveland)

* As noted above, Senator Gardner has been nominated for a cabinet position in the new administration.


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