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2020 is looking to be a pivotal year in politics. But this year's elections are about much more than the race for the White House. And the coronavirus pandemic is proving to be a complicating factor. WKSU, our colleagues at public radio stations across Ohio and the region and at NPR will bring you coverage of all the races from the national to the local level.

Morning Headlines: Tim Ryan Expected To Launch 2020 Bid, Kasich Forms Group to Address U.S. Politics

U.S Rep. Tim Ryan (D) of Youngstown

Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, April 4:

  • Tim Ryan expected to launch 2020 bid;
  • Kasich forms new group to address U.S. politics;
  • DeWine OKs gas, diesel tax increase to repair roads;
  • Exonerated man charged in traffic worker's death;
  • Signet Jewelers starts tallying employees taking voluntary leave;
  • Study: Ohio close to last in health care spending

Tim Ryan expected to launch 2020 bid
Northeast Ohio Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan is expected to announce his bid for president sometime this week. BuzzFeed News reports a date has not been given, but he is scheduled to appear on the talk show "The View" this morning. Ryan of Niles is also planning a rally this Saturday in Youngstown. Over the last few weeks, he's made trips to early primary states like New Hampshire and Iowa.

Kasich forms new group to address U.S. politics
Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich has formed a new policy group promoting center-right viewpoints on politics. The group called "Two Paths America", inspired by his 2017 book, is based in Dublin, Ohio and includes several critics of President  Trump. The group's mission is to come up with viable solutions to challenges Americans face. Others who have joined the group include actor Arnold Swarzenegger, former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Bill Kristol, the editor of the Weekly Standard.

DeWine OKs gas, diesel tax increase to repair roads
Gov. Mike DeWine has signed a transportation budget thatincreases Ohio's tax on gas by 10.5 cents a gallon and the tax on diesel fuel by 19 cents to maintain deteriorating roads and bridges. DeWine signed the bill Wednesday, a day after lawmakers finished negotiations and passed it. The new tax rates start July 1. The increases mean Ohioans will pay a state tax rate of 38.5 cents per gallon on gas and 47 cents a gallon on diesel fuel. DeWine declined to veto other provisions of the bill, including one that allows for the removal of front license plates starting July 1, 2020. Some law enforcement groups oppose that change. The measure also sets fees at $200 for alternative vehicles and $100 for hybrid vehicles.

Exonerated man charged in traffic worker's death
A Northeast Ohio man who spent 39 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit has been charged with killing one worker and injuring another in a construction zone. University Heights police said that 64-year-old Wiley Bridgeman drove into the construction zone late last Thursday, struck the men, and then continued driving 4 miles before crashing. The worker who was killed is 54-year-old David Sollars of Rocky River. Bridgeman remains hospitalized. He and two other men were exonerated in 2014 for the 1975 slaying of a salesman in Cleveland.

Signet Jewelers starts tallying employees taking voluntary leave
Akron-based Signet Jewelers expects to know how many employees have volunteered to leave the company by the middle of the month. Signet offered the Voluntary Transition program as part of a plan to cut 60 to 70 million dollars in costs. Besides reducing its workforce, Signet also plans to close more than 150 stores and work to improve online sales.

Study: Ohio close to last in health care spending
A new study ranks Ohio near the bottom in 100 measures of health care outcomes and health care spending. The 2019 Health Value Dashboard from the Health Policy Institute of Ohio ranked Ohio 46th out of the 50 states. Ohio’s high rate of drug overdoses and smoking contributed to the low ranking. The report saw large disparities in access to health care based on race, ethnicity, income, education level and disabilities. Ohio did best in the quality of its public health system and in heart care for low income patients. Ohio did worst in health checkups, Drug overdose deaths, and child exposure to smoking.

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