COLUMBUS, OH (WCMH)- After an alleged $60 million bribery scandal that rocked the Statehouse in July, new House Speaker Bob Cupp was left trying to put the pieces back together and move forward.
The former Ohio Supreme Court Justice took the position of Speaker one week after his predecessor, Larry Householder, was arrested and accused of federal racketeering. Speaker Cupp’s message to Ohioans is that most of the people at the Ohio Statehouse are not like that.
“That is not what happens every day. Legislators and other public servants are hardworking, they’re ethical, they try to do the right thing, they just want to serve the public. Often it’s a sacrifice financial or based on your family to do it so those are aberrations,” said Speaker Cupp.
Speaker Cupp presided over his first session this week since becoming House Speaker. One of the first matters of business is to repeal and possibly replace House Bill 6, which is the nuclear bailout at the center of a federal investigation. Speaker Cupp created a committee that will begin looking at the issue next week.
“We’re going to have the policy discussion in the open, and people will be able to weigh whether it’s good policy or bad policy,” said Speaker Cupp.
Householder remains a member of the House of Representatives. Speaker Cupp explained that they haven’t acted to remove Householder, because the legislature can only remove a member once for an act. Since Householder is on the November 3 ballot, they’d like to keep their options open for after November.
“If we need to use it in the beginning of the next session, we have something that we can do it rather than now having our hands tied,” said Speaker Cupp.
Democratic members of the House of Representatives have expressed their distrust in new leadership. Speaker Cupp expressed that he’s working to rebuild those relationships.
“I am fairly confident that while we have our disagreements now, that once the election is over all members of the legislature will be able to come together and the minority leader and I will be able to develop a good relationship,” said Cupp. “I think that was damaged a lot by the prior speaker and so I think it’s going to take a while to sort of get over the mistrust that was developed then.”