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Republican Finance Chair Ryan Smith Elected Ohio House Speaker

New Ohio House Speaker, Ryan Smith.
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New Ohio House Speaker, Ryan Smith.

After two months at an impasse, the Ohio House has a new leader. 

In an unprecedented process, Republican Finance Chair Ryan Smith was elected speaker after 11 rounds of voting on the House floor. Under Ohio law, a speaker must have a majority to win until the 11th round. Smith ended up with 44 votes.

“You know I wasn’t sure if we’d go through 11 rounds of voting to get the plurality but I knew if we did, I’d get there,” the new speaker said.

Minority leader Fred Strahorn commanded most of the votes from Democrats throughout the process. He ended up with 27 votes.

“Hearing my name 308 times was a little disturbing and the process was a lot like watching grass grow,” he said.

Smith has called for unity among all representatives and he says he wants to immediately get back to work considering bills, including one that cracks down on payday lenders and another that funds new voting machines.