New Ohio House speaker’s sterling narrative has detractors

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — There were some whispers among members of the Republican caucus that Bob Cupp should be the person to lead the Ohio House. It was 2018. The federal investigation into the previous House speaker had left the dais empty for months and the chamber at a standstill.

But Cupp, who has served in all three branches of state government, demurred. It wasn’t the right time.

Fast forward two years and two House speakers, Cupp’s moment had arrived. The conservative Republican and former Ohio Supreme Court justice was elected July 30 to lead the House in what the state Attorney General says will be “the greatest challenge of his career.”

The House speaker remains one of the most powerful political posts in state government. The speaker has the ability to block or move legislation, in addition to helping determine how the state spends billions of dollars earmarked for health care, education, criminal justice and other government programs.

Cupp takes control of the House during an unprecedented moment of division and tribulation for the presidential battleground state, and therefore the nation, less than two months from Election Day. His predecessor, fellow GOP state Rep. Larry Householder, was indicted this summer on federal bribery charges in what prosecutors called the ‘largest bribery, money-laundering scheme’ in state history.

Cupp, a 69-year-old anti-abortion, pro-gun rights conservative, took Householder’s seat by one vote in the GOP-controlled House, with every single Democrat and a few Republicans voting against him. All the other candidates to replace Householder were also white, Republican men.

Following Cupp’s election, colleagues and supporters of him joined in an unofficial campaign, nominating him as “the last Boy Scout” in Ohio politics. He was praised as “an elder statesman,” as “studious and diligent” and as having “unimpeachable character.”

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost shared anecdotes about Cupp’s dedication to growing his own heirloom tomatoes in February so that he can enjoy them come June. His wife Libby, a retired educator, whom he met while attending a convention for College Republicans, showed photos of the three llamas they rescued, Lima (LEE’-mah) the Llama from Lima (LYE’-muh) — the Ohio city of which Cupp is a native — Mocha Latte and Phantom of the Opera, to reporters and members on the House floor.

Even Cupp himself has added to the narrative of his simple life and how it won’t change with the promotion.

“My wife will still make me take the garbage out every Sunday night. Clean out the cat litter boxes and those kinds of things,” Cupp told reporters upon being elected speaker. “I tell people if they think I’m more than I am, they should tell me because I don’t want to be.”

But there are other views of Cupp — including from an old opponent, former Democratic Justice William O’Neill, who alleged years ago that Cupp violated his post’s ethics in accepting campaign contributions from the same energy company that is now at the center of the federal investigation into his

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House speaker’s ‘Boy Scout’ reputation comes with murky past


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — There were some whispers among the Republican caucus that Bob Cupp should be the person to lead the Ohio House. It was 2018. The federal investigation into the previous House speaker had left the dais empty for months and the chamber at a standstill.

But Cupp, who has served in all three branches of state government, demurred. It wasn’t the right time.


Fast forward two years and two House speakers, Cupp’s moment had arrived. The conservative Republican and former Ohio Supreme Court justice was elected July 30 to lead the House in what the state Attorney General says will be “the greatest challenge of his career.”

The house speaker remains one of the most powerful political posts in state government. The speaker has the ability to block or move legislation in addition to helping determine how the state spends billions of dollars earmarked for health care, education, criminal justice and other government programs.



Cupp takes reign over the House during an unprecedented moment of division and tribulation for Ohio and the nation. His predecessor, fellow GOP state Rep. Larry Householder, was indicted earlier this summer on federal bribery charges in what prosecutors called the ‘largest bribery, money-laundering scheme’ in state history.


Cupp, a 69-year-old anti-abortion, pro-gun rights conservative, took Householder’s seat by one vote in the GOP-controlled House, with every single Democrat and a few Republicans voting against him.

Following Cupp’s

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Oregon Republican Lawmakers React to Arrest of Dem House Speaker’s Aide in Portland Riots

Republicans in the Oregon legislature are accusing Democrats of sanctioning “lawlessness” after the arrest of a top aide to the Democratic Oregon House speaker this month during protests that devolved into riots in downtown Portland.



A photojournalist reacts as riot police fire tear gas in Portland, Ore., September 5, 2020.


© Carlos Barria/Reuters
A photojournalist reacts as riot police fire tear gas in Portland, Ore., September 5, 2020.

Kristina Narayan, who serves as legislative director for Oregon House Speaker Representative Tina Kotek, was arrested late at night on Saturday, September 5 and charged with interfering with a police officer after Portland Police declared a riot.

“Kristina Narayan was arrested for Interfering with a Police Officer after the event became a riot and the crowd was given multiple orders to disperse, which she did not do,” a Portland police department spokesperson said.

Narayan, 29, has worked for Kotek since September, 2016 and has served as the House speaker’s legislative director since May, 2018, according to her LinkedIn profile.

Republican state lawmakers in Oregon criticized their colleagues across the aisle for declining to denounce the ongoing nightly violence wracking Portland, and accused Democratic lawmakers of protecting their staffers and supporters who participate in the riots.

“The Democrat supermajority in Oregon have had instances where their publicly-employed staff have been involved in the violent riots and looting in downtown Portland,” said GOP state Senator Dennis Linthicum, who represents the southeast city of Klamath Falls.

“Knowing this, it becomes obvious why Democrats in Oregon and across the nation have not stood up for law enforcement and condemned the lawlessness in the streets because within these Democrat-controlled cities — they would be alienating their own staff members who are participating in the riots,” Linthicum said.

Republican Oregon Senator Alan Olsen agreed, adding that Democratic lawmakers in the state “despise” the very police protecting them.

“Oregon Democrats are the party of lawlessness because instead of denouncing the violence, they largely have remained silent. The top Democrat leaders are protected by the police but despise and have absolute animosity towards them,” said Olsen, who represents Canby, a city just south of Portland.

“It’s obvious that Oregon Democrats are protecting their own extremist staffers and supporters over innocent Oregonians who are the collateral damage of over 100 days of violence,” Olsen added.

Narayan’s arrest came a week after pro-Trump demonstrator Aaron Danielson was fatally shot in the chest during clashes between Black Lives Matter protesters and a caravan of pro-Trump demonstrators who drove through the streets of downtown Portland. Two days later, Portland Police declared a riot after about 200 demonstrators marched to Mayor Ted Wheeler’s residence to demand that he resign as violent demonstrations continue to rock the city.

Kotek’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

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