Friends, co-workers and various elected officials gathered at the Highland County Administration Building Tuesday afternoon to express their appreciation to county commissioner Shane Wilkin as he ends a 10-year run on the county board, and wish him well as he begins a new chapter in the Ohio House of Representatives.
Wilkin was scheduled to attend his final meeting as a commissioner Wednesday morning before heading to Columbus later that same day to be sworn in to the 91st District seat held by Cliff Rosenberger until he resigned in April under the cloud of an FBI investigation.
Rosenberger was also speaker of the Ohio House, and after his resignation the House GOP caucus announced that the winner of the May Republican primary between Wilkin and Clinton County businesswoman Beth Ellis would be appointed immediately to Rosenberger’s seat for the remainder of the year.
But House Republicans spent weeks following the primary unable to choose an interim speaker, an impasse that was finally settled earlier this month with the 11th-ballot election of State Rep. Ryan Smith. Wilkin plans to be administered the oath in Columbus by Highland County Probate and Juvenile Judge Kevin Greer in a ceremony early Wednesday afternoon.
Local Republicans will then turn their attention to choosing a replacement for Wilkin on the county commission. Highland County Republican Party Chair Paulette Donley said previously that once Wilkin resigns, the party will invite interested Republicans to apply for the position, and the party’s central committee will ultimately appoint someone to take the seat immediately.
In November, the GOP appointee will face off against a candidate appointed by the Democratic Party to fill the remainder of Wilkin’s term through 2020. Independent candidates can also enter the race by filing petitions within 10 days of Wilkin’s resignation.
Reach Gary Abernathy at 937-393-3456, or follow on Twitter @AbernathyGary.