Union Money, Not Ohio Voters, Decided the State Agenda

The opinions expressed in guest op-eds are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of RedState.com.

While much of the country focused on the congressional drama over the United States Speaker of the House election, the Ohio House of Representatives began staging its own fight for the gavel.


That struggle continues as the federal trial on bribery and racketeering charges gets underway for disgraced former Speaker Larry Householder and the divided Republican caucus hammers out which rules to adopt for the legislative session.

Given the Householder corruption charges and the surprise vote by 22 Republicans to join 32 Democrats and choose Householder crony Jason Stephens, R-Kitts Hill, over the presumptive next speaker, Derek Merrin, R-Monclova Township, it’s easy to see why the majority in the Republican caucus would want to rein in the speaker’s powers.

Ohio voters went to the polls in November and voted overwhelmingly across the state for an agenda that would return parental rights in education, get a handle on state government spending, and lower taxes on everything from gas to groceries.

Now, with the control of the speaker’s gavel based on support from the Democrats, that agenda seems to have taken a significant hit.

Ohio Democrats, in fact, are still very much the pawns of Big Labor, and its agenda favors teachers’ union priorities over parents while expanding state government spending rather than helping families in the Buckeye State keep more of their own paychecks.


Thus, it’s noteworthy that the 22 Republican defectors who joined the Democrats to elect Jason Stephens have something significant in common — union money, particularly government union dollars.

Collectively, the 22 GOP lawmakers who supported Stephens have, since 2017, collected more than $347,000 from government unions, including the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), the Ohio Education Association (OEA), the Ohio Nurses Association (ONA), the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association (OCSEA) and the Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT).

During the same time period, the 11 Republicans who took government union money but did not support Stephens accepted barely $54,000 from the IBEW, OEA, ONA, and OFT.

During their last election cycle, the 22 defectors received a combined $139,000 from government unions, while only 11 Republicans who did not support Stephens accepted money from the unions, totaling only $29,000.

Between 2017 and his indictment in the first quarter of 2020, Householder received nearly $147,000 from government unions.

Rep. Jay Edwards, R-Nelsonville, led the effort to break the 22 Republicans for Stephens on Jan. 3, and he is also the Republican who has received the second-most amount of money from government unions since 2017, more than $84,500.


The next largest recipient of government union money, Bill Seitz, took in $52,500, and also partnered with the Democrats to elect Stephens.

Government employee and teachers’ unions are big factors as to why Ohio can’t rein in state spending and lower taxes, and why parents are learning after the fact that their children are being exposed to sexually explicit and racially divisive materials in K-12 schools.

Ohio voters believed they had fixed this last November, but their votes were invalidated by union money to Republicans, and by Democrats willing to sell their integrity to special interests when they should be serving their constituents.

Lauren Bowen is the Ohio state director for the Freedom Foundation. www.FreedomFoundation.com


Join the conversation as a VIP Member

Trending on RedState Videos