COLUMBUS -- Gov. John Kasich will offer his State of the State address to lawmakers in Lima next month.
The speech is set for Feb. 19 at 6:30 p.m. at the city's Veterans Memorial Civic & Convention Center. The timing is also a change -- most State of the States in recent history have been at midday.
The governor submitted a letter to Senate President Keith Faber, a Republican from Celina whose district includes the western Ohio city, and Republican House Speaker Bill Batchelder, formally seeking permission to take the talk on the road.
Both chambers will have to approve the request to make it official.
The community of about 40,000 is roughly between Dayton and Toledo on Interstate 75.
It's also home to the James A. Rhodes State College and an Ohio State University regional campus, which would fit in with the governor's efforts to increase career preparation in schools.
According to the governor's office, "Since January 2011, Allen County has experienced strong economic improvement, including an increase of 2,000 jobs in the Lima Metropolitan Area. Over the same amount of time, Allen County has gone from 10.8 percent unemployment down to 6.7, reflecting Ohio's strong economic resurgence and the importance of an improved environment for job creation via low taxes, streamlined regulations and a structurally balanced budget."
At least one lawmaker is already on record in opposition to Kasich's decision to offer the speech outside of Columbus.
Rep. Ronald Gerberry, a Democrat from Austintown, asked Batchelder in a letter to deny the governor's request, citing the tradition and historical significance of having the State of the State in the Ohio House chambers.
Gerberry last year introduced legislation that would have required the speech to be offered in the Ohio House chambers, whether by the governor in person or broadcast for members to watch.
Last year, Kasich gave the State of the State in Steubenville, marking the first time in modern history the speech was offered outside of Ohio's capital city.
"The benefit is real simple: You take government out to where people are and you connect with them better than just being in Columbus," Kasich told reporters earlier this week about giving the speech outside of Ohio's capital city. "The day will come where it will be done in Columbus again, but this is a great thing to take government to where people are."