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0000017a-3b40-d913-abfe-bf44a4f90000Howard Wilkinson joined the WVXU news team as the politics reporter and columnist in April 2012 , after 30 years of covering local, state and national politics for The Cincinnati Enquirer. On this page, you will find his weekly column, Politically Speaking; the Monday morning political chats with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik and other news coverage by Wilkinson. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Wilkinson has covered every Ohio gubernatorial race since 1974, as well as 16 presidential nominating conventions. Along with politics, Wilkinson also covered the 2001 Cincinnati race riots, the Lucasville prison riot in 1993, the Air Canada plane crash at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in 1983, and the 1997 Ohio River flooding. And, given his passion for baseball, you might even find some stories about the Cincinnati Reds here from time to time.

Pillich to take on Mandel for Ohio treasurer

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State Rep. Connie Pillich, a Democrat from Montgomery, announced this morning she will take on Republican incumbent Josh Mandel for the Ohio treasurer's office in 2014.

Pillich, who represents the 28th Ohio House District in northern Hamilton County, won re-election last year after Republicans in the Ohio General Assembly had re-drawn her district to make it considerably more Republican.

She is a third term state representative, a retired captain in the U.S. Air Force, and a lawyer.

Ohio Democratic Party leaders have long been interested in Pillich as a potential statewide candidate, because of her track record of raising money and winning in Republican districts.

She is the second Hamilton County Democratic to announce a run for statewide office in 2014, joining former Hamilton County Commissioner David Pepper, who is running for Ohio attorney general.

It is not yet known if she will have a primary opponent.

If she is the Democratic nominee, she will take on another military veteran - Mandel, a Marine Corps veteran of the Iraq war.

Mandel was elected Ohio treasurer in 2010; and immediately will do the job she was elected to do and make sure our tax dollars are protected and used wisely."

Last year, Democrats slammed Mandel for allegedly ignoring his duties as state treasurer while running for the U.S. Senate.

Pillich picked up the theme Monday.

"It's about time we had a real leader in the treasurer's office,'' Pillich said. "Ohio needs someone who actually wants to be treasurer, someone who will show up to do the job and put qualified people to work with her,'' Pillich said.

Matt Borges, the Ohio Republican Party's chairman-elect, fired back in a press release, saying Ohioans "cannot afford to return to the disastrous tax and spend policies of Connie Pillich."

"Connie Pillich is part of the problem that Gov. Kasich, Treasurer Mandel and others have been working to fix since they were elected in 2010,'' Borges said.

As a Democrat, Pillich is a member of the minority in the Ohio House of Representatives. She sits on the Judiciary, Financial Institutions and Military and Veterans Affairs committees. She lives Montgomery with her husband and two children.

Howard Wilkinson is in his 50th year of covering politics on the local, state and national levels.