Howard Wilkinson

Political Reporter

Howard Wilkinson joined the WVXU News Team after 30 years of covering local and state politics for The Cincinnati Enquirer. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Wilkinson has covered every Ohio governor’s race since 1974 as well as 12 presidential nominating conventions. His streak continued by covering both the 2012 Republican and Democratic conventions for 91.7 WVXU. Along with politics, Wilkinson also covered the 2001 Cincinnati race riots; the Lucasville Prison riot in 1993; the Air Canada plane crash at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in 1983; and the 1997 Ohio River flooding. The Cincinnati Reds are his passion. "I've been listening to WVXU and public radio for many years, and I couldn't be more pleased at the opportunity to be part of it,” he says.

In 2012, the Society of Professional Journalists inducted Wilkinson into the Cincinnati Journalism Hall of Fame. 

Wilkinson appears on  Cincinnati Edition, blogs on politics and more, and writes the weekly column Politically Speaking at wvxu.org.

Ways to Connect

WVXU-FM

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson told News Director Maryanne Zeleznik this morning that, while the Ohio governor's race is the big ticket item on Tuesday's primary election ballot, there are many ballot issues to draw voters to the polls. A look at where things stand less than 24 hours before the polls open in Ohio. 

george w bush inauguration
WhiteHouse.gov / Wikimedia Commons

I always enjoyed covering presidential inaugurations.

Except for the time I came within an eyelash of getting arrested at one.

Provided

Wednesday's special session of the Law and Public Safety committee session to hear the Cincinnati Police Department's investigation into the death of 16-year-old Kyle Plush has been postponed for the time being.

richard cordray dennis kucinich
Wikimedia Commons

Next Tuesday's race for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination between Richard Cordray and Dennis Kucinich has the potential to keep a lot of Ohio Democrats up until the wee hours next Wednesday morning.

Depending on who you talk to, it's either going to be an incredibly close race, or it will be a relatively easy win for Cordray, the former Ohio attorney general who spent the past seven years as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in Washington.

But with one major poll suggesting that, as of mid-April, more than half of the likely Democratic primary voters were undecided, you can throw all predictions out the window.

They mean nothing.

WVXU-FM

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday about the GOP race for the Ohio gubernatorial nomination. Attorney General Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor have spent nearly $10 million bashing each other with TV ads. 

ohio house chambers
Ohio Statehouse Photos

Editor's note: Faithful readers of Howard Wilkinson's weekly "Politically Speaking" column will want to know that this feature will be published on Wednesdays beginning May 1. 

We have a primary election coming up in nine days in Ohio, and it doesn't seem to have stirred the souls of most voters.

ronald reagan jimmy carter
Wikimedia Commons

Editor's note: Faithful readers of Howard Wilkinson's weekly "Tales from the Trail" column will want to know that this feature will be published on Fridays beginning May 4.

Thursday, May 29, 1980, was a day of revelation to me as a young political reporter.

That was the day I learned that Ohio was, in fact, the center of the universe when it came to American presidential politics.

WVXU-FM

WVXU politics reporter  Howard Wilkinson spoke with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday about the drama over Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley's push to get rid of City Manager Harry Black; and Black's decision Saturday morning to resign before five members of city council fired him. 

Dennis Kucinich
Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons

Editor's note: Faithful readers of Howard Wilkinson's weekly "Politically Speaking" column will want to know that this feature will be published on Wednesdays beginning May 1. 

OK, Ohio gubernatorial candidate Dennis Kucinich, you may have your hands full explaining this to Democratic primary voters.

You've reported receiving $20,000 for a speech last year from the Association for Investment in Popular Action Committees.

That would be a group which clearly is sympathetic to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, as it is the parent organization of the pro-Assad Syrian Solidarity Movement.

Howard Wilkinson
Howard Wilkinson

Most people who know me know that I quit smoking over three years ago, after puffing away like a house afire for decades.

I did it because I finally came to the point where I really wanted to. And, frankly, it wasn't that hard.

So, bully for me.

reds bryan price
Cincinnati Reds

The Cincinnati Reds have fired manager Bryan Price Thursday morning after the club got off to a historically bad start of three wins and 15 losses this year.

barbara bush
Wikimedia Commons

Editor's note, updated April 17, 8:03 p.m.: In light of the news that Barbara Bush has died at the age of 92, WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson reflects on a time he met the former first lady. 

When you meet someone in politics who really cares about something, you take notice.

Not just the surface "caring" of political rhetoric written by a campaign speechwriter and delivered in fake sincerity, but someone who cares about certain things deeply, passionately and with every fiber of his or her being. 

Former first lady Barbara Bush is one of those rare people in politics. 

WVXU-FM

Former congressman and Cleveland Mayor Dennis Kucinich picked up a major endorsement Sunday from the Plain Dealer newspaper and cleveland.com. Kucinich has some establishment Democrats worried he might win the Democratic gubernatorial primary. They think former Attorney General Richard Cordray would be a stronger candidate against Mike DeWine, the likely Republican candidate for governor. 

Here's a truism in politics:

More often than not, one politician's ugly mess is another politician's dream come true.

Same goes for political parties. One political party spirals down the drain in scandal and another political party rises to the top. (See: "Watergate;" "Resignation;" "Richard Nixon.")

Jim Nolan / WVXU

Last June, you might have read a short story about it in the local newspaper, heard a snippet on the radio, or vaguely recognized a face that flashed on a TV screen.

todd portune cancer
Ann Thompson / WVXU

Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune will have his left leg amputated to rid his body of cancer.

Karen Kasler / Ohio Statehouse News Bureau

Early voting kicked off for the May 8 primary elections Tuesday in Ohio and Indiana.

WVXU-FM

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with our Jay Hanselman Monday about the increasingly bitter fight between Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. 

If you happen to be a fan of name-calling, low blows and street brawls, you couldn't help but love Ohio's Republican primary for governor.

Then again, if you do love such things, you might want to set aside some time for quiet reflection.

Jim Nolan / WVXU

Look, we can sit here all day and argue about whether Robert A. Taft II – Bob Taft, as he is known, was a good or bad governor for the state of Ohio.

That's a matter of personal judgment.

We can say, without fear of contradiction, that he was the 67th governor of the state of Ohio, serving from 1999 to 2007 as a Republican.

Another thing we can say about Bob Taft: His political party owed him an enormous debt of gratitude for agreeing to put up with the embarrassment of being former governor Jim Rhodes' running mate for lieutenant governor in 1986.

harry black
Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Updated: 3:20 p.m.

Cincinnati Council Wednesday set in motion a plan for investigating complaints of misconduct against City Manager Harry Black.

It quickly became evident that Black was not pleased with the process. 

The Democratic primary for governor in Ohio could well boil down to where the candidates stand and what kind of record they have on gun control.

It's reasonable to believe  the vast majority of Democratic primary voters, in the wake of cold-blooded murder of 17 students and faculty members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, are enraged over the easy access to semi-automatic weapons and are solidly behind the nationwide movement of high school students marching and lobbying for gun control.

Jim Nolan / WVXU

I worked for newspapers, principally the Cincinnati Enquirer, for 38 years.

And, during that time, I was sent by those newspapers to cities all over the North America dozens of times.

But only once did my editors send me to the wrong city. It's a tale worth telling.

This tale stems from a news story which was one of the most tragic I've ever had to cover – the Air Canada disaster of June 1983.

Michael E. Keating

Editor's note: This story was originally published March 25, 2014. We are re-posting it here in honor of the Reds' Opening Day on March 30, 2018, as the story is as much a fan favorite as the pastime of baseball itself. 

Nheyob / Wikimedia Commons

Cincinnati City Council approved an eight-month buyout Thursday morning for embattled City Manager Harry Black by a 7-1 vote.

WVXU-FM

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday about the implications of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee  (DCCC) putting the Ohio 1st Congressional District on its "Red to Blue" list of targeted races - the only House race in Ohio targeted by the DCCC. It will draw national attention to the Democratic challenger Aftab Pureval's bid to unseat long-time GOP congressman Steve Chabot. 

Jim Nolan / WVXU

Here's a little tip for you.

No, it's not about politics. First of all, I have no tips about politics; and, secondly, you probably wouldn't pay any attention to them if I did.

This is a tip you can take to the bank.

WVXU-FM

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson spoke with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about the on-going crisis at Cincinnati City Hall over whether City Manager Harry Black stays or goes. 

Hate to say I told you so.

But I told you so.

Jim Nolan / WVXU

Some people find it hard to believe, but there was a time early in my career that I was known to the public as primarily a humor columnist.

It's true. From 1977 to 1982, at the Troy Daily News, I had a column that ran in the Sunday magazine section called And Another Thing…Don't ask me how, but it became wildly popular in Troy; aside from the sport pages, it may have been the most read thing in the paper.

Beats me how it happened. But it made me a celebrity of sorts in that small town in western Ohio.

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