2015's biggest local and state political stories

Louis Stokes
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CLEVELAND -- The farewell tribute to Congressman Louis Stokes was the most memorable and emotional political story of the year in Greater Cleveland.

Stokes lost a battle with cancer. He was much beloved for his life of service to his constituents and his hometown of Cleveland.

Congresswoman Marcia Fudge said,"If Lou Stokes is not in heaven, most of us can forget about it."

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Statewide, the biggest political story was voters' overwhelming rejection of a plan to legalize both medical and recreational use of marijuana.

A majority of Ohioans approve the idea of medical marijuana.

But a business model that guaranteed investors in the statewide issue were the only ones who could make money growing and selling marijuana turned off many voters.

Both backers of the failed issue, and at least one other group, talk of returning to the ballot in 2016.

Governor John Kasich launched a campaign for President. He hoped his experience in Congress and as Ohio's Chief Executive would impress voters.

But he has yet to get beyond single digits in national polls, trailing Donald Trump and others. He his hoping for strong results in the New Hampshire primary.

Cleveland hosted a warm-up for next year's Republican National Convention. The first Republican Presidential debate was held at Quicken Loans Arena here.

RELATED | New 2016 RNC logo created by Cleveland-based company

Trump generated the most media attention.

Trump, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders all made Buckeye campaign stops, giving the state a taste of the blitz it will see next March before Ohio's primary.

A host of downtown projects are on a fast-track that will get even faster next year to be convention-ready.

Congressman John Boehner decided it was time to leave his embattled position as House Speaker.

"I got up, said my prayers, and decided this was the day to do it," he told reporters.

Boehner's resignation cost Ohioans an important voice on the national political stage.

Akron City Hall was the stage for an unexpected game of mayoral musical chairs.

Seven-term Mayor Don Plusquellic stepped aside, blaming coverage from the Akron Beacon Journal.

He was replaced by Council President Gary Moneypenny, who left as quickly as he arrived, admitting to inappropriate personal contact with a female city hall staff person.

Jeff Fusco replaced him temporarily.

Voters elected Dan Horrigan to start the post-Plusquellic era."It's historic and it's humbling," he said.

Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish took over the county's top job, shutting down the county's credit card and launching new programs for job development and expanded pre-school.

Next year, all members of Congress will face re-election. And Senator Rob Portman will be challenged by either Ted Strickland or P.G. Sittenfeld, depending who wins the Democratic 2016 March primary.

2016 will see a Mayor Frank Jackson-led school issue campaign.

But the big story will be the huge role Cleveland and Ohio will play electing the next President. Cleveland will host what promises to be an historic Republican convention. And Ohio will again be ground zero for the eventual candidates.