Bob Cupp is everything that Larry Householder isn’t.
That is why the state representative from Lima would be a solid choice for Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives, and why we’re not surprised he is on the short list of possible candidates to replace the disgraced Householder.
The case for Cupp is an easy one:
• Cupp is well-respected by both Republicans and Democrats, and is not a divisive figure.
• He’s a Boy Scout, not a political operator.
• Cupp’s political career — from county commissioner to state representative and state senator — has been built on serving the people, not on accumulating power.
• He’s a former city prosecutor and Ohio Supreme Court justice who has the highest respect for the law, not a person who operates by his own set of rules.
• With Cupp, you get ethics, not attitude. And you receive someone who builds by consensus, not intimidation.
Simply put, Bob Cupp would be the right choice for returning integrity to a position that has become a bully’s pulpit.
Of course, Householder has yet to surrender the seat, despite Gov. Mike DeWine’s repeated calls for his resignation. However, we assume it is only a matter of time that Householder is forced out, being he’s the central figure in what federal officials are describing as a $60 million bribery scheme — the largest corruption case in state history. Householder can be expelled from the House by a two-thirds vote or simply removed from his leadership position with a majority vote.
Cupp, 69, has a broad understanding of the concerns facing Ohio. He knows agriculture, having grown up on a farm in rural Allen County. His years as a county commissioner gives him firsthand knowledge of issues facing local government. And during his years in the Legislature, he’s worked on everything from drainage issues to school funding. In the Senate, Cupp served two terms as the president pro tempore, the Senate’s 2nd highest leadership position. He also has served as Chief Legal Counsel to former Ohio Auditor of State Dave Yost.
Cupp is unopposed in the November General Election. He will be serving his fourth and final two-year term as the 4th District’s state representative before term limits are invoked.
Other names being mentioned as possible replacements for the House speaker are Rick Carfagna, of Delaware; Scott Lipps, of Franklin; and Craig Riedel, of Defiance. A vote on who will become the new House leader could come as early as Tuesday.
To be fair, we should mention that Cupp is among the many lawmakers who have received campaign donations from FirstEnergy. He accepted $9,850 during a six-year period from 2014 to 2018, all of which were within the legal contribution limits. He didn’t take any money from FirstEnergy during the past two years when House Bill 6 became a hot issue.
The next House Speaker, whom ever that might be, needs to push the Ohio Legislature into turning a light on “dark money,” which is the candy that feeds a corrupt politician. It is what Householder used in setting up Generation Now. The non-profit entity was allegedly used by Householder to push legislation to bail out FirstEnergy, to gut subsidies for renewable energy, and to roll back clean energy standards.
Ohioans have a right to an accountable government. They deserve to know who is trying to influence lawmakers, their votes, and opinions. The source of campaign funding information helps voters examine the motivation behind the political advertisements they see.
That’s been a point made for years by Catherine Turcer, the executive director of Common Cause Ohio, a non-partisan government watchdog group.
“This pay-to-play scandal would have been stopped in its tracks if Ohioans were able to see who was behind efforts to influence their opinions and votes — if they could ‘follow the money,’” Turcer said in a statement issued after Householder’s arrest.
“We shouldn’t need an FBI investigation to connect the dots. If we had had strong campaign finance disclosure rules, Larry Householder would not have been able to pervert our political system the way that he did.”