GOP’s Kasich sworn in to 2nd term as 69th Ohio governor

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) About 200 people endured icy roads and a late hour to watch Ohio Gov. John Kasich formally sworn in to his second term.

The Republican governor told onlookers at the midnight event Sunday that every one of them was hand-picked because they were special to him.

”This opportunity for me is an opportunity for all of us,” he told the crowd. ”We have a great opportunity to renew the spirit of our nation as we renew the spirit of our state.”

Kasich, who’s considered a potential presidential contender, said he couldn’t think of a more important mission, saying he wants Ohioans and Americans to think with compassion of their neighbors.

He took his oath of office at midnight in the chambers of the Ohio Senate at a closely choreographed and required event. He was joined by First Lady Karen Kasich and their twin daughters, Emma and Reese.

Both Kasich and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor were administered their oaths by Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, then the governor swore in members of his Cabinet.

Kasich planned to hold a larger ceremonial event Monday at the historic Southern Theater, where New Jersey governor and prospective presidential candidate Chris Christie was expected to be in attendance.

An evening gala afterward coincides with Ohio State’s faceoff against Oregon for the national college football championship, pitting Columbus’ two favorite pastimes – politics and Ohio State football – for people’s attention.

For politics lovers, an inaugural ball is a luxury to be savored only once every four years, if you’re lucky. Drinks flow as operatives and staff celebrate the culmination of a successful campaign.

For fans of Buckeye football, it’s been an even longer stretch since a national championship was in their sights. It was the 2007 season when the Buckeyes last competed for the national title and not since their 2002 season that they last won one.

Kasich, a proud Ohio State graduate, has made contingencies. He declared early that he would not cancel the event for the game, but he has arranged for big-screen TVs to be on site Monday evening for game-watchers.

”As Buckeye fans and alumni, we would never want to miss seeing our team play for the National Championship!” his New Day Committee announced on inaugural stationery.