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Today the Ohio House Representatives picked Rep. Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) to fill the vacated Speaker’s position for the remainder of the year and remainder of the 132nd General Assembly. The election became necessary when, now former, Speaker Cliff Rosenberger resigned in mid-April. Ryan was sworn in shortly after the vote was taken.
However, the official vote comes weeks later than interim caucus leader, Speaker Pro Tempore Kirk Schuring had intended after Rep. Smith could not secure support from fifty members of caucus, the threshold set by Rep. Schuring for a vote to be called.
For months before Former Speaker Rosenberger’s unexpected resignation there had been a battle raging for the Speaker’s position for next General Assembly starting in January. Rep. Larry Householder (R-Glenford), a former Speaker himself, has been public about his quest to return to the Speaker’s seat. Although Householder did not run to fill the seat for the remainder of the year, some members had called for a third party to fill this term. In the end, after 11 rounds of voting, Speaker Smith earned a plurality of 44 votes from the 91 members present. Most all Democrats cast their votes for their leader, Rep. Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton). Reps. Andy Thompson (R-Marietta) and Jim Hughes (R-Columbus) also received votes.
The delay in the vote prompted outcries from interest groups, business associations, and editorial boards as the House could not vote on legislation without a Speaker. The full House has not met since April 11th; however, the Senate has continued their normal schedule, creating a backlog of legislation needing passage before what has been scheduled to be a long summer recess prior to elections in November.
Former Speaker Rosenberger, who assumed the Speaker’s position in January 2015, resigned after it became public that he was being investigated by the FBI for his lavish lifestyle. The investigation, according to various media outlets, also brings in to question a trip Rosenberger took to England with lobbyists representing the pay day lending industry.
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