‘Utterly disgusted': Clark, Champaign officials call for Householder to resign

Larry Householder leaves U.S. District Court

Clark and Champaign County lawmakers are calling for Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder to resign.

Householder and four others were arrested on Tuesday after investigators say an investigation revealed they had allegedly received more than $60 million to promote Householder, pass House Bill 6 (HB6) and defeat a ballot initiative to overturn the bill.

The chairmen of the Clark and Champaign County Republican Party and the Clark County Democratic Party have called for Householder to resign as a result of the arrest.

“It’s distressing and it’s disappointing,” Clark County Republican Chairman Dan Harkins said. “He needs to resign immediately and leave the General Assembly.”

Gov. Mike DeWine and Ohio Republican Party Chairwoman Jane Timken called for Householder’s resignation on Tuesday afternoon. In a statement sent to the Springfield News-Sun, Champaign County Republican Party Chairman Robert Pollock said he agrees.

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“We are in agreement with Gov. DeWine and the Republican State Party Chairman Timkins in their calls for Mr. Householder to step down from the Speakership of the Ohio House,‘' Pollock said.

Clark County Democratic Party Chairman Charlie Bush said Householder should “absolutely resign.”

“I think (Wednesday’s) headline says it all, ‘$60 million bribery scheme, largest in Ohio’s history,” Bush said. “I think that speaks for itself.”

Board of Clark County Commissioners President Melanie Flax Wilt said she is “utterly disgusted by what has gone on at the statehouse.”

“The fact that public servants could take advantage of the public in that way and misuse their power to just make terribly corrupt decisions, it’s no wonder people don’t want to run for public office or think so poorly of people who do,” Flax Wilt said.

Flax Wilt said she is proud that Rep. Kyle Koehler (R-Springfield) voted no on HB6 and on electing Householder as Speaker of the House.

Koehler echoed Flax Wilt, saying he is also “extremely proud,” of his no votes, but said he was “incredibly sadden to hear another incident where people are lured by the power of the position instead of serving the people.”

“He is innocent until proven guilty and until then, it’s up to only him if he will step down from serving. But I’m hoping he makes the right decision to step down,” Koehler said.

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On Wednesday morning, two bills were proposed in the House — one backed by Democrats and the other backed by Republicans — to repeal HB6. Introduced in April 2019 and signed into law by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine in July 2019, HB6 made several changes to Ohio’s energy law.

It also provided two bailouts: one for the Ohio Valley Electric Corp., which is partially owned by DP&L, AEP and others; and another bailout for Akron-based FirstEnergy Solutions, which owns two aging nuclear power plants along Lake Erie.

Koehler is a co-sponsor on both parties’ proposals to repeal HB6.

“I’m proud to co-sponsor those bills,” Koehler said. “I don’t think that’s how we are supposed to use taxpayer money.”