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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.

Ohioans To Trump: Sound Presidential In Acceptance Speech

Howard Wilkinson
Tony Maas of JTM Food Group and former Ohio Attorney General Betty Montgomery.

CLEVELAND – Sound like a president, not like a candidate.

That is what many in the Ohio delegation – a delegation that cast all of its 66 votes for Ohio Gov. John Kasich Tuesday night - want to hear from GOP nominee Donald Trump when he takes the stage Thursday night at Quicken Loans Arena to deliver his acceptance speech, the biggest speech the billionaire developer has delivered in his still-brief political career.

"What I want to hear from him is very simple,'' said former Ohio Attorney General Betty Montgomery, who still has grave doubts about Trump as her party's nominee. "What I want to hear is less name-calling and more substance."

Montgomery spoke for many – but not all – Ohioans here at the Republican National Convention when she told WVXU that she is not yet convinced by Trump.

"I haven’t seen him do anything  to switch from being a candidate in the primaries to being a candidate who could become president of the United States. Being a candidate and being presidential are two different things."

Jonathan Dever, a first term state representative from Madeira, said he wants to hear Trump deliver a conciliatory speech, one that is free of the sometimes divisive rhetoric he used during the campaign for the nomination.

"I want to hear a message of unification,'' Dever said. "For the Republican Party and for the nation. Look, where we come from bipartisanship is mandatory. In the legislature, that is the way we get things done. This country has big issues to deal with; and we are going to have to unite to solve them."

"I want to hear a speech that is reasonable,'' Dever said. "It was a very divisive primary season; and there was a lot of spicy rhetoric thrown around. The time for that is over."

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted said he thinks Trump has two missions to accomplish with his acceptance speech.

"First of all, he has to speak directly to people who are not supporting him yet and give them solid reasons why they should,'' said Husted, the state's chief elections officer. "Second of all, he has to make people feel confident that this strong personality who was so outspoken as a candidate in the primaries has the temperament to actually do the job of president and be our commander in chief.

"The rhetoric has inspired many,'' said Husted, who supported Kasich for president, "but now he has to transfer that into making people believe that he can be president of all the people."

U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Westwood, said he's not certain Trump has to do everything in one speech.

"He has four months to get his message across,'' Chabot told WVXU. "It's not really realistic to expect him to accomplish everything he needs to accomplish in one speech."

But, Chabot said, the speech "is a big step for Donald Trump. He has to unite Republicans; he has to appeal to independents; and reach out to Democrats who are not satisfied with their candidate for president. It's a tall order."

Chabot said he hopes Trump "sticks with the speech as written and doesn't get off track."

There was a sight at Thursday's Ohio delegation breakfast that has yet to be seen at this convention – Ohioans actually wearing Trump gear – in this case, red "Make America Great Again" ball caps. They were worn by Tony Maas and Ken Jones of Cincinnati – two enthusiastic Trump supporters.

Maas, who owns JTM Food Group with his brothers,  said he voted for Kasich in the primary, but is now all in for Trump.

"This is a battle for the soul of the nation; and we've got to win Ohio,'' Maas said. "All I expect to hear from Donald Trump tonight is a man who can be a leader and a person who can bring hope to the American people. I think he can and will do that."

Cincinnati city council member Amy Murray, who said she plans to spend her time this fall helping down-ticket Republicans get elected, said that Trump should try to set a tone in his speech "to unify the party. We're not there yet. And I don't want to hear him say things that are offensive to many Americans."

"Four years ago, when Mitt Romney was our nominee, you knew who he was and what he stood for,'' Murray said. "You knew he wasn't going to go out in public and say something to disappoint you. We have to be assured that Donald Trump will be that kind of candidate too."

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