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Transition Teams Taking Shape for Incoming State Executives

photo of Mike DeWine
Mike DeWine introduces his transition team (l-r): Communications Director Lisa Peterson, Transition Committee Director Laurel Dawson and LeeAnn Cornyn, in the newly created position of Director of Children’s Initiatives. ";

Governor-elect Mike DeWine and incoming Secretary of State Frank LaRose have announced their transition teams – the people who will help set policy, personnel and priorities for the next four years.

Brian Hicks headed up Governor-elect Bob Taft’s transition team as he took over for fellow Republican George Voinovich in 1998.  Hicks said everyone needs to work fast to be ready for the budget process in January.  And he thinks DeWine’s transition team, led by longtime aide Laurel Dawson, will cast a wide net.

“If you go back and you look at some of the appointments that Voinovich did and that even Taft did, there were Democrats who served in their administration. And I would expect that would be the case this year,” he said.

LaRose selected two veteran politicians to lead his transition team: former Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives JoAnn Davidson and former Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, who’s now a conservative commentator blasting Democrats in the Florida recount.  Hicks said transition teams are selected for skill sets and sometimes for symbolism.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.