COLUMBUS House Speaker Jon Husted, a Republican who has led the chamber since 2004, announced plans Friday to run for Ohio Senate.
The announcement blunts speculation that Husted, one of the Ohio Republican Party's rising stars, might pursue a run for Congress or make a bid to unseat Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland in 2010.
"I made this announcement because the filing deadline is coming up and I wanted to end speculation about all these other things people are rumoring me to be doing," said Husted, of Kettering. "I wanted to communicate to the people at home my intentions."
With a strong likelihood of winning the Dayton-area 6th Senate District, currently held by term-limited fellow Republican Jeff Jacobson, Husted would be able to serve two consecutive four-year terms. He must leave the House at the end of next year due to term limits.
Husted said he is proud of the historic tax law changes, balanced budgets and improved education standards that have been ushered in under his leadership, but he wants to continue working.
He said revitalizing the economy and continuing to improve Ohio's education system are two of his passions.
"Work still needs to be done," he said. "The Ohio Constitution says there is a limited time in which you can accomplish things in this state, and it provides me only one other opportunity in the near term to be able to work on those things. That's the Ohio Senate."
Husted said he has no political plans beyond the Senate.
"I'm running for the Ohio Senate, and what my future holds beyond that I have not even begun to speculate on," he said.
He said he cannot knock term limits for the opportunity they gave him, at an early age, to be speaker though now he is seeing how they cut political service short.
Extending term limits from the current eight years four, two-year House terms, or two, four-year Senate terms to 12 or 16 years is something Husted favors. But he said he would oppose lifting them altogether.
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