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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.

Civil rights lawyer to run as independent for juvenile court

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Jennifer Branch, a civil rights lawyer who represented Judge Tracie Hunter in her legal battle to win a Hamilton County Juvenile Court judgeship, will file petitions to run as an independent against Judge John Williams this fall.

Williams is the Republican judge whom Hunter defeated in 2011 after a long battle in federal court over the counting of provisional ballots. He was later appointed to a vacancy on the juvenile court.

Branch is a Democrat, but she is running as an independent. A Democratic lawyer named Susannah Meyer filed to run in Tuesday's primary for Williams' seat, but she withdrew in March, leaving the Democratic Party without a candidate.

The filing deadline for independent candidates is the day before the primary. Branch stepped forward recently to run for the judgeship; and the party has been helping her gather signatures in recent weeks.

"It was about 10 days ago that I decided to run, after I learned there was an opportunity to file as an independent candidate,'' Branch said. "The support I have gotten from the party, friends, the unions has been great. And when I talk to people, they say they want a choice. I will give them that."

Branch said she will turn in at least 5,600 signatures to the Hamilton County Board of Elections.  If 2,841 are the valid signatures of Hamilton County voters, she will qualify for the November ballot.

Branch is a partner in the law firm of Gerhardstein & Branch, which is the firm representing couples who filed suit in U.S. District Court here last week asking that Ohio's constitutional ban on same sex marriages be overturned.

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.