Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) appointed former county judge Jenifer French as chairwoman of the state’s public utilities commission on March 19. French will fill a position that has been vacant since November, when former Chairman Sam Randazzo resigned. If confirmed by the state Senate, French’s term will run through April 10, 2024.
French was a judge on the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas from 2015 to 2021. She lost a re-election bid in the nonpartisan race on November 3, 2020, after running in the Republican primary unopposed. Although the general election for the court was nonpartisan, candidates ran in partisan primaries.
The Ohio Public Utilities Commission is a five-person state executive board that regulates electric and gas utilities, water and wastewater companies, telecommunication companies, and railroads.
Ohio is one of 37 states in which utility commission members are appointed by the governor. The position is elected in 11 other states and in two (South Carolina and Virginia) they are appointed by the legislature.