COLUMBUS - State Sen. Randy Gardner (R., Bowling Green) was re-elected yesterday to the No. 3 leadership post in the Ohio Senate while Sen. Teresa Fedor (D., Toledo) jumped to the top of the hill among minority Democrats.
Republicans will outnumber Democrats 21-12 in the Senate and 56-43 in the House during the next two-year legislative session. Republicans will continue to control the legislative agenda, but the election of Ted Strickland as governor is expected to give Democrats more influence in the process than they've been used to.
Counting his tenure in the Ohio House and his last term and a half in the Senate, Mr. Gardner has served in more leadership posts than any legislator in Ohio history. At one point, he rose to the No. 2 position in the House before term limits pushed him from the chamber. He was uncontested in his bid for a second session as Senate majority floor leader.
"I'll strive to continue to make this position work for the citizens of northern Ohio," he said.
Most of the rest of the leadership slate, including Senate President Bill Harris (R., Ashland), was re-elected. The sole exception was the lowest post of assistant majority whip, which was eliminated as the current, term-limited officeholder moves to the House. That takes the number of Republican leadership posts back down to five, the number prior to the current session.
Ms. Fedor, a former teacher and state representative who just won a second term in the Senate, defeated state Sen. Kimberly Zurz (D., Uniontown) for Democratic leader.
"My colleagues recognized that I am the right person for this crucial time in Ohio's history and that I will work tirelessly to unify the voice of our caucus and move forward as a team," she said.