It took nearly a year, but Larry Householder is out of office.
The Ohio House of Representatives on Wednesday voted 75-21 to remove the former Republican Speaker from the legislature entirely.
We think it is about time.
Householder was indicted in July 2020 at the center of what FBI officials called Ohio’s largest public corruption case ever. While he was quickly removed as Speaker, he was allowed to stay in office until this week, earning a taxpayer-financed salary, benefits and expenses.
Trust in government is likely at an all-time low and having an official serving while facing corruption charges makes it worse. Removing Householder helps to restore at least some small measure of trust in our state government.
Some defenders of Householders will argue that he is innocent until proven guilty, and that is true from a criminal standpoint. It does not mean someone indicted of such charges should be allowed the privilege of making public laws and spending public money. He will have his day in court, and if exonerated he will have the ability to seek the office again, but it was clear he could not serve in the interim.
Householder, of Glenford, represented Perry and Coshocton counties and part of Licking County. Since his indictment, Householder has been stripped of committee positions and power in the House — rendering him largely ineffective as a legislator. Republican officials in Licking and Coshocton counties noted this in previous letters to the Ohio House asking him to be removed.
We need good representation in the statehouse – and someone under federal corruption indictment cannot provide that.
We understand there is frustration for how long it took Ohio House officials to remove Householder – frustration we share. It is also true that the case to remove Householder politically became stronger after several co-defendants in the corruption case pleaded guilty and cited Householder’s involvement.
Credit should be given to Rep. Mark Fraizer, R-Newark, who was a sponsor of the resolution to remove Householder. While it may not seem to require political courage to stand up against an indicted official, it unquestionably did. We recognize him for making what was clearly the right – if politically difficult – decision.
The Ohio House Republicans will select Householder’s replacement. Speaker Robert Cupp has yet to announce the process that will be used to make that selection.
As Householder’s allegations center around backroom dealings, we would ask Cupp to develop a plan that is as transparent as possible. Constituents should have confidence that the person selected to replace Householder will represent their interests and not those of some power brokers.
That can be best done if good people express an interest in serving. Several good candidates tried to unseat Householder as write-in candidates, but that proved to be too high of a political hurdle, even against an indicted incumbent. We encourage people in the 72nd District who have a passion for service to apply.
It may have taken longer than we would have liked, but the district and the state are better off with Householder removed. Let’s now move on to building a better Ohio.
— Newark Advocate, June 20