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Householder Renews Vow To Change Ohio House Culture

Larry Householder
Ohio House
Larry Householder has been disappointed in House members' conduct since he returned in 2016.

An investigation into a complaint of inappropriate workplace behavior from an Ohio House legislative aide  found no wrongdoing. But late Friday, the aide who made the complaint - Marissa Reyes - was laid off along with six other employees, Cleveland.com reports.

Reyes was considered a "floater" not assigned to a specific legislator, after she accused state Rep. Scott Wiggam and other staffers of making racist comments to her. The unidentified coworker was cleared of any violations and given a written warning.

Reyes' claims were the latest instances of bad behavior and inappropriate actions at the Statehouse. New Speaker Larry Householder says the culture in the House is going to change.

Householder came back to the House in 2016 after more than a decade out of office. And he says since then, there have been allegations of racism and sexism by various staffers and even lawmakers.

“It’s become a bit of a circus here in the House and it’s really disappointed me," Householder says.

Householder says a process is underway for hiring a human resources professional. And he says he’s been clear with members and staff that they need to be professional with everyone they encounter.

“I will not tolerate the behavior I’ve seen over the past couple of years," Householder says.

Householder says he hasn’t planned cultural sensitivity training but hasn’t ruled it out if it is necessary to change the culture in the House.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.