Monday, Dec 11, 2017
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Politics

Former Napoleon mayor wants House seat

COLUMBUS — Former Napoleon Mayor Steve Lankenau hopes to succeed former state Rep. Robert McColley (R., Napoleon) in the Ohio House of Representatives as part of the game of musical chairs started when state Sen. Cliff Hite (R., Findlay) resigned two months ago.

Mr. McColley resigned his House seat representing the 81st District on Tuesday and was promptly sworn in to the Senate to replace Mr. Hite representing the 1st District, which covers much of Ohio’s rural northwestern corner.

The House set a Dec. 15 deadline for applicants interested in succeeding Mr. McColley. The 81st District includes all of Henry, Putnam, and Williams counties and a portion of southeastern Fulton County.

His successor will be picked by his former Republican colleagues in the chamber but will probably not be sworn in until after the start of 2018. The House expects to wrap up business next week for the holidays and will not return to Columbus until Jan. 15.

Leipsic Village Administrator Justin Barnhart announced his interest in the seat last week.

Mr. Lankenau is a real estate agent and owner of Remax Exclusive in downtown Napoleon. He was elected mayor in 1987 and won re-election twice. He also served as president of the Henry County Chamber of Commerce and on the State and Local Government Commission and Northwest State Community College Board of Trustees.

“I have considered getting back involved over the years,” he said. “With a lot of encouragement, I am convinced the timing is right. I enjoy the interaction with constituents and local officials. I have always believed in the old idea of citizen legislators and have tried to live that by not making a career of one office after another.”

He studied political science and public administration, earning his bachelor’s degree from Miami University and his master’s from Harvard ’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

The House is also looking for a replacement for former state Rep. Wes Goodman (R., Cardington), who resigned last month amid his own sex scandal. He served the 87th District serving a sliver of southwestern Seneca County, part of Marion, and all of Crawford, Morrow, and Wyandot counties.

Contact Jim Provance at jprovance@theblade.com or 614-221-0496.

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