After nearly two months of a Republican-led legislative impasse, the Ohio House is expected to resume legislative activity following today’s narrow, marathon election of new House Speaker Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell). Chaos and dysfunction have plagued the legislature since the abrupt resignation of former Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville), after he announced he was under FBI inquiry in April. Federal agents have since raided Rosenberger’s home, his state office and storage shed, as rumors of pay-to-play tactics on payday lending reform legislation continue to churn.
“After a state government shutdown of 55 days, the House GOP still couldn’t agree on a new Speaker, which forced us to take 11 separate votes to determine who will hold the gavel for the final six months of this terms,” said Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid). “I voted for Democratic Leader Fred Strahorn each of the eleven times because I believe the 8th House District and the rest of Ohio want the dirty campaigns and the pay-to-play politics to stop. Ohio’s middle class keeps falling further and further behind as a result of one party rule for 24 out of the last 28 years. This 55 day government shutdown is just the latest evidence that Ohio needs a major change in direction.”
Republican gridlock continued onto the House floor as the legislature held 11 rounds of voting to elect Smith, who becomes the first speaker in modern history to assume control of the Ohio House without securing a majority of votes. In a narrow vote, Smith was awarded the speakership under Ohio law with only 44 votes.