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Five seek Ohio House appointment in 81st District

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The Ohio Statehouse

The Columbus Dispatch Enlarge

COLUMBUS — A former state representative, physician, former mayor, village administrator, and a marketing consultant are seeking to replace former Rep. Robert McColley in the Ohio House.

Mr. McColley resigned last week and was appointed to the Senate to replace former Sen. Cliff Hite (R., Findlay), who resigned after the filing of a sexual harassment complaint by a female state employee.

Despite what the set the chain of events in motion, no women sought the 1st District Senate appointment, and no women have now applied to fill the House appointment in the 81st House District. The House district includes all of Henry, Putnam, and Williams counties and southeastern Fulton.

Those submitting resumes to the office of Ohio Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R., Clarksville) by Friday’s deadline included:

  • Jim Hoops, of Napoleon, former state representative from 1999 to 2006.

  • Dr. Christopher Meyer, of Hamler, Fulton County Health Center’s director of outpatient pediatric clinical services.

  • Steve Lankenau, former Napoleon mayor.

  • Justin Barnhart, Leipsic village administrator.

  • Thomas S. Liebrecht, of Ottawa, marketing consultant.

The candidates will be interviewed by a screening committee, which will make a recommendation to Mr. McColley’s former colleagues in the House Republican Caucus. The chamber has recessed for the holidays, so no one will likely be sworn until mid-January.

The speaker’s office also received 10 resumes for the vacancy in the 87th District, created last month with the resignation of then Rep. Wes Goodman (R., Cardington). The married lawmaker resigned after being caught in inappropriate but consensual sexual behavior in his state office.

The district stretches north to include a portion of southwestern Seneca County, northern Marion, and all Wyandot, Crawford, and Morrow.

The applicants, including two women, are:

  • Doug Weisenauer, Crawford County commissioner.

  • Tom Whiston, Morrow County commission chairman.

  • Michael L. Wheeler, former Wyandot County commissioner.

  • Riordan McClain, director of finance and customer service for Doc Investments LLC, of Sylvania, and son of former state Rep. Jeff McClain (R., Upper Sandusky).

  • Steve Reinhard, of Bucyruys, former state representative.

  • Patricia K. Davies, Morrow County auditor.

  • Kathryn Grasz, president and CEO of Wyandot Chamber of Commerce.

  • Kurt Fankhauser, of Bucyrus, owner of company deploying broadband.

  • Sean A. Martin, Carey attorney.

  • Edward C. Pfeifer, of Bucyrus, an assistant grain buyer and ice cream business co-owner.

Contact Jim Provance at jprovance@theblade.com or 614-221-0496.

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