COLUMBUS — Allen County’s state legislators are officially heading up the Statehouse.
State Sen. Matt Huffman and state Rep. Bob Cupp were both unanimously elected to lead their corresponding chambers Monday afternoon during the 134th Ohio General Assembly’s largely ceremonial first day. It’s the first time any Allen County politician has led either the Ohio Senate or Ohio House of Representatives, let alone both.
The Ohio Senate kicked off proceedings first in the afternoon, although Huffman couldn’t be in attendance. The state senator reported a confirmed case of COVID-19 Monday morning and will be in quarantine for the next week.
Consequently, instead of a public swearing-in Monday, Huffman was sworn in at his home by Judge John R. Willamowski of the Ohio Third District Court of Appeals. Later in the day, the Senate unanimously confirmed his role as Senate President after the motion was made by Huffman’s cousin and colleague, Sen. Steve Huffman.
“I take this oath today with great respect for the responsibility on my shoulders,” Matt Huffman said in a press release. “My colleagues and I are committed to listening to the concerns, interests and dreams of all Ohioans as we work to recover from a turbulent year. I believe we have a singular opportunity to solve many current problems and to create a long lasting framework for good government.”
Huffman replaces Larry Obhof, who left the Senate due to state term limits.
On the House side of the General Assembly, Cupp ended up taking his seat as Speaker after the rest of House members were sworn in. When the session moved into the election of the House’s officers, Cupp was nominated by Rep. Jim Hoops, who spoke about Cupp’s ability to listen and his past governmental experiences.
“As many of you already know and if you don’t you will by the end of this session, the position for speaker is a very powerful position,” Hoops said. “You want to make sure the person selected understands the responsibilities that person was given when they were given the gavel to run this house.”
As for Cupp’s first address as the new General Assembly’s speaker, he took the time to welcome the latest slate of legislators to the Ohio Statehouse. Of the 99 members, 20 entered the chambers as legislators for the first time, and Cupp celebrated the diversity of thought, backgrounds, ages and opinions that came with them.
“This extraordinary depth of knowledge and experience will be so invaluable to the work of this house as we consider, weigh, develop, debate and pass proposed legislation.” Cupp said.
Cupp also spoke about the state’s role in facing the coronavirus pandemic to prep members for what’s to come.
“This General Assembly, we must continue working to assist in recovery, in reopening our economy and our schools safely and fully and rebuild a workable system of checks and balances for the future,” Cupp said.
Cupp replaced Larry Householder as Ohio Speaker of the House in July after Householder was indicted by a federal grand jury in connection to a $61 million bribery scheme involving House Bill 6.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.