- Associated Press - Monday, January 12, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio’s elections chief said Monday that a recent overhaul of how the state draws its legislative districts shows the importance of never losing hope in politics.

Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted encouraged those attending his swearing-in Monday to support the overhaul.

Husted had sought changes to the so-called redistricting process for about a decade, saying the way Ohio draws lines is flawed and partisan. Last month, the Legislature passed a bipartisan plan that will go before voters this fall.

“No meaningful change ever comes easily,” Husted told an audience that included former Gov. Bob Taft. “The things that you’re most proud of were the toughest things you did.”

Husted was among the statewide officers who were sworn in for a second term on Monday. Republican incumbents swept all statewide offices in the fall election to earn another four years.

Auditor Dave Yost and Treasurer John Mandel also were sworn into office during separate Statehouse ceremonies on Monday. Attorney General Mike DeWine was sworn in Sunday, while Gov. John Kasich began his second term with a formal swearing-in at midnight.

Husted said he was grateful for another term, though acknowledged it’s not always easy campaigning for office and overseeing elections in a hotly contested presidential battleground state.

“I admit that not every day in public office is candy canes and lollipops,” he said. “It’s not always tremendous and fun. But I have a strong belief - a very strong belief - that I was put on this earth to serve God and God wants us to serve each other.”

Both DeWine and Husted are among those mentioned as potential contenders for higher office.

Asked by reporters Sunday whether he was going to run for governor, DeWine said that he was focused on his current job.

“As far as any future plans, this is not the day or the time to be really talking about those,” DeWine said. “My commitment is to the people of this state that I would do the job of attorney general.”

Asked by a reporter whether he wanted to be Ohio’s governor, Husted declined a direct answer. He said he was going to enjoy being sworn in for a second term and was focused on putting together his agenda for leading Ohio as its elections chief.

“And the politics of the future will be left to the future,” Husted added.

Husted said he plans to announce policy priorities for his new term during a meeting of local elections officials on Wednesday.

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Associated Press writer Andrew Welsh-Huggins contributed to this report.

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Follow Ann Sanner at http://twitter.com/asanner.

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