Less than 24 hours after Ohio Speaker of the House Cliff Rosenberger announced he is resigning as of May 1st, candidates for political office were eager to let voters know how they felt about the situation.
Republicans from his own party called for his immediate resignation.
Ohio Auditor of State Dave Yost released this statement:
“Speaker Rosenberger should step down immediately,” Yost said. “He made the right decision to resign–but if it’s right on May 1, it’s right today. The same rationale applies, and there is no cause to delay.”
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine made the same plea:
“There’s a lot of important work that the Legislature needs to get done. The Speaker has acknowledged that his presence is a distraction. It is best if he left now, so that the work of the people is not inhibited.”
But even DeWine is taking fire from opponents on both sides of the aisle over the issue.
Last Friday, DeWine apparently spoke to Rosenberger about the situation and advised him to step down if he did something wrong.
His primary opponent Mary Taylor seized that opportunity with this statement:
“The behavior that Speaker Rosenberger stands accused of is part and parcel of the hubris that the Columbus Establishment and good old boy network display on a regular basis. The cavalier attitude that they are somehow above the fray of comporting themselves as public servants beholden to the constituents they are sworn to represent is the reason I am running for Governor. This is what the Swamp looks like. And this is what I am going to erase in state government. While I agree with the Speaker’s decision to step down, there are still many unanswered questions. The first of which is what did Mike DeWine know that prompted his Friday call to the Speaker’s office? The days of the Establishment are numbered. Rosenberger is just the first.”
Even Democrat Richard Cordray, who is running in the Democratic Party Gubernatorial race called DeWine out in a telephone conference.
“The speaker’s resignation is just the beginning this investigation needs to continue until all the facts come out an every guilty and complicit party is identified,” said Cordray. “Attorney General DeWine, for his involvement needs to fully cooperate with the FBI in its investigation of this matter; third Mike DeWine’s actions and communications with Speaker Rosenberger were highly unusual and they raise serious questions about whether he used his role as Ohio’s top law enforcement official to protect himself politically.”
Fellow democratic gubernatorial candidate State Senator Joe Schiavoni also weighed in on DeWine’s conversation with Rosenberger days before his resignation.
“I think that it is weird; it’s fishy that the Attorney General is just simply making a random, casual, request to the Speaker of the House saying, ‘Hey man, if you did wrong you should probably resign.’ Like that is not what the Attorney General is supposed to do; and stuff like that makes people really lose trust in their elected officials.”
The other Democrat gubernatorial candidates were less vocal about the situation.
Dennis Kucinich provided no official statement on the matter, rather re-iterating his stance on lobbyists and special interests and how he would deal with them if elected; and Bill O’Neill said he did not have enough facts to form an opinion.
Lawmakers in the Ohio House of Representatives also weighed in, like House Assistant Minority Leader Nick Celebreeze in this statement:
“The one-party rule that has dominated our state for decades has led to unchecked power that has damaged not only this institution, but our state. Ohioans deserve better and that is why I agree that Cliff should step down immediately.”
Speaker Pro Tempore Kirk Schuring, who will fill in for Rosenberger until a new Speaker is elected after the May primary elections, had this to say Wednesday after the first session without Rosenberger atop the dais.
“We’re about the business of getting things done. We’re not going to falter, we’re not going to stammer, we’re not going to retreat, we’ve got work to do, the people elected us to do work, there is important legislation that needs to be passed,” said Schuring.
Rosenberger was not present for the session following his announcement the night before.
Schuring is unaware if Rosenberger will be returning to this office here in the capitol.
Rosenberger, like all lawmakers, has been paid in advance for the month of April; which may be why the May 1st resignation date was chosen.
If he were to step down from his position he would be on the hook for paying the balance of taxpayer dollars back to the state for the days he was not a lawmaker.
The base salary for Rosenberger’s part-time position is $60,584/year, or $5,048/month, or just over $2,524/bi-weekly.
That does not take into account any bonuses or increases for his leadership position.