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Analysis: The year ahead in politics after surprising votes for speaker

New U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy
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WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06,2023: Newly elected Speaker of the US House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy holds the gavel after he was elected on the 15th ballot at the US Capitol.

In Washington, D.C., the United States House of Representatives is back to work after an historic and protracted battle to elect a new speaker. The election of a new speaker is normally a formality but not in 2023. It took 15 rounds of voting for Congressman Kevin McCarthy of California to win the gavel. Only a vote for speaker in 1859—before the Civil War took more votes. (As in 133 rounds of voting over two months.)

In order for McCarthy to win over hard-right conservatives he had to give in on a number of concessions. Those include the ability of one-House member to call for snap vote on McCarthy as speaker.

The Ohio legislative term also started out with an unexpected result. Democrats joined with a group of Republicans to elect Jason Stephens of Lawrence County as speaker. He won out over Derrick Merrin of Toledo—who had been the choice of the majority of Republicans in a caucus vote in December.

If as Shakespeare wrote, that the past is prologue then the year ahead is shaping up to be quite interesting for political observers.

Later in the show, the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission is currently in the midst of a massive multi-year construction project that will modernize the way tolls are collected and how travelers use the turnpike.

The project will bring “open road tolling” to the turnpike. That means lanes in which drivers with E-Z Pass will be able to drive the length of the turnpike at highway speeds without having to stop for toll plazas.

Ohio’s turnpike overhaul will be a hybrid incorporating both open road tolling and the traditional method of taking a ticket and paying the toll by cash or credit.

GUESTS:
-Tom Sutton, Ph.D., Professor, Political Science, Baldwin Wallace University
-Cherie Strachan, Ph.D., Director, Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics; Professor of Political Science, University of Akron
-Ferzan Ahmed, Executive Director, Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission

Leigh Barr is a producer for Ideastream Public Media's the “Sound of Ideas” and the “Sound of Ideas Reporters Roundtable.”