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GOP state lawmaker calls for impeachment of Ohio governor, citing COVID-19 response

GOP state lawmaker calls for impeachment of Ohio governor, citing COVID-19 response
Posted at 2:25 PM, Aug 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-24 14:25:37-04

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Republicans in the Ohio House of Representatives, led by State Rep. John Becker (R-Union Township, Clermont County), announced Monday that they have drafted articles of impeachment against Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) in regards to his COVID-19 response, which the state rep described as “abuses of power,” despite the governor’s recent all-time high approval rating.

Becker drafted 10 articles of impeachment against DeWine, stating the governor “has violated the Ohio and United States Constitutions, as well as multiple sections of the Ohio Revised Code.”

The violations, Becker said, stem from closing in-person polling during the primary election while allowing other businesses to remain open, and the mask mandate.

In his announcement, Becker expressed disdain for the mask mandate DeWine ordered in an attempt to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Ohio as cases began to surge across the state in July.

The state rep claimed that forcing Ohioans to wear a mask or covering as a condition of employment makes “Ohio a hostile work environment.” He went on to say “many Ohioans find the mask mandate offensive, degrading, humiliating, and insulting.”

Becker made the following statement regarding his efforts to impeach DeWine:

"I kept holding out hope that we wouldn’t get to this place. For months and months, I’ve been hearing the cries of my constituents and of suffering people from every corner of Ohio. They keep screaming, “DO SOMETHING!” They are hurting. Their businesses are declining and depreciating. Their jobs have vanished. The communities that have sustained their lives are collapsing, and becoming shells of what they once were."

"Living in fear, many have turned to drugs and yes, even suicide, to end or tolerate the unbearable pain inflicted by the governor upon their livelihoods, and the damage caused by his unraveling of the fabric of Ohio. It is long past time to put an end to government gone wild."

"With deaths and hospitalizations from COVID-19 flattened, the Governor continues to press his boot on the throat of Ohio’s economy. Due to the unilateral actions of Governor DeWine, a growing number of businesses have failed and continue to fail. Millions of frustrated, exasperated, and suffering Ohioans are relying on the General Assembly to take control and end their government-driven affliction."

The attempt to impeach DeWine comes just two months after the Quinnipiac University Poll of Ohioans found the Governor had a record-high approval rating, with 75% of voters saying they approved of the job he was doing. When it came to his response to COVID-19, DeWine received more high marks, with 77% of voters approving of his handling of the virus in Ohio.

House Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) responded to the articles of impeachment filed against DeWIne Monday, and said the “Republican dysfunction has reached a new low.”

"Instead of working to rebuild the public’s trust or calling the House back from summer recess to address the very real public health and economic crises Ohio currently faces by focusing on protecting small businesses and slowing the spread of COVID-19, Republicans continue to fight one another over political power."

"Ohioans deserve better leadership and I hope Republicans re-focus their attention towards the struggling Ohioans who need them to serve instead of enriching and promoting themselves."

The articles of impeachment will require a majority vote in the Ohio Representatives followed by a two-thirds majority in the Ohio Senate for DeWine to be convicted and removed from office.

This story was originally published by Camryn Justice on WEWS in Cleveland.

Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering