Lawmakers Demand Change in Culture After Disparaging Remarks at Roast

Jan 26, 2018

Antonio says other lawmakers have been cowed from complaining.
Credit ANDY CHOW / STATE OF OHIO

Two Republican state lawmakers have issued apologies for disparaging remarks they made earlier this week at a roast for a departing employee. But some lawmakers are demanding more than apologies. Statehouse correspondent Jo Ingles reports they want a change in the culture they say is prevalent in Ohio's statehouse.

Rep. Bill Seitz and Sen. Matt Huffman, both Republicans, apologized for disparaging statements about some women, including current lawmakers. But Democratic Rep. Nickie Antonio says she wants all lawmakers to change the “good 'ole boy” culture at the Statehouse.  

“We’re made fun of. We become the punch line in a joke. You know, people behave like they are frat boys and Cap Square is their playground. This has to stop.”

Antonio, who plans to introduce legislation soon to deal with this issue, says lawmakers who are offended by the behavior often don’t speak up for fear of retribution.

“We should not have to be pay to play and pay with our silence.”

Earlier this week, Democratic Sen. Cecil Thomas called for an investigation into the matter. Lawmakers recently went through sexual-harassment training.