Bill Seitz

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Bill Seitz
Majority Leader of the Ohio House of Representatives
Assumed office
June 7, 2017
Preceded byDorothy Pelanda
Member of the Ohio House of Representatives
from the 30th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2017
Preceded byLouis Terhar
In office
January 3, 2001 – October 9, 2007
Preceded byCheryl Winkler
Succeeded byRobert Mecklenborg
Member of the Ohio Senate
from the 8th district
In office
October 10, 2007 – December 31, 2016
Preceded byPatricia Clancy
Succeeded byLouis Terhar
Personal details
Born (1954-10-29) October 29, 1954 (age 64)
Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
EducationUniversity of Cincinnati (BA, JD)

Bill Seitz (born October 29, 1954) is the state representative for the 30th District of the Ohio House of Representatives. He is a Republican. The district consists of Cheviot, Delhi Township, Green as well as portions of Cincinnati, in Hamilton County. Formerly, Seitz represented the same seat from 2001 to 2007. He served in the Ohio Senate from 2007 to 2016.

Life and career[edit]

After graduating from the University of Cincinnati with a BA in History and then a JD, Seitz worked as a member of the Cincinnati Board of Education, and as a Green Township Trustee. Since 1978, Seitz was a partner in the Taft, Stettinius and Hollister law firm until joining Dinsmore & Shohl in 2014.

With incumbent Representative Cheryl Winkler unable to run again due to term limits, Seitz was nominated to succeed her in 2000. He handily won election in 2000, and was reelected in 2002, 2004 and 2006.

In 2004, Seitz was mentioned as a potential successor to Lou Blessing in the Ohio Senate. However, he chose to remain in the House, and the Senate seat was won by Patty Clancy. When Merle Kearns resigned midway through 2005 to take a place in the cabinet of Governor Bob Taft her assistant majority whip position became open, and colleagues appointed Seitz to take her place.[1] Seitz served as majority whip in the 127th General Assembly.

When Senator Patty Clancy announced that she would resign her seat midway through 2007, Seitz was mentioned as the frontrunner for the appointment to replace her. In October 2007, Senate Republicans appointed Seitz to finish the remainder of Clancy's term.[2] Seitz easily won election to the seat in 2008. For the 129th General Assembly, Seitz ran for a leadership position, but lost President Pro Tempore to Keith Faber and Majority Leader to Jimmy Stewart.

After Seitz voted against the controversial legislation that would greatly hamper collective bargaining for public employees, Senate President Tom Niehaus stripped him of his chairmanship of the Senate Government Oversight Committee. While Niehaus stated that it was due to him failing to keep another member informed about changes to a bill, many have speculated it was a political repercussion for voting against the measure.[3] Seitz has called the move unacceptable and disagrees with the decision.[4] Seitz later struck back with a memo stating that Faber had falsely accused him of doing so, stating that both Niehaus and Faber had acted disingenuously.[5] Seitz won a second full term in the Senate in 2012, defeating Democrat Richard Luken with 62% of the vote.[6]

Seitz is currently on the Board of Directors of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a nonprofit partnership of conservative legislators and private sector lobbyists that craft model legislation for those legislators to sponsor.[7]

Ohio House of Representatives[edit]

In 2016, Seitz was term-limited in the Ohio Senate and announced he would seek his former seat in the House. Louis Terhar, who represented that seat, in turn ran for Seitz's Senate seat. He won the seat with over 73% of the vote against Democrat Mark A. Childers.[8]

Seitz sits on the House Criminal Justice Committee[9].

In March 2016, Seitz introduced HB 296, which would require a monetary payment (bond) for vote centers aka polling centers/places to remain open after their usual closing time of 7:30pm. He proposed the bill after two separate judges extended voting hours at two different polling centers, one due to technical glitches which delayed voting, and another because of a fatal car accident on an interstate which delayed traffic to the vote center[10]. Seitz claimed the bond was necessary because "activist judges" could always find a reason to keep vote centers open[11]. Governor John Kasich eventually vetoed the bill [12].

In 2018, Rep. Kristin Boggs and Rep. Laura Lanese introduced HB 561, a bill that would eliminate the spousal exemptions for offenses of rape, sexual battery, unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, gross sexual imposition, sexual imposition and inportuning [13]. Rep. Seitz was the only member of the committee to vote in opposition to the bill [14].

Sexual Harassment Controversy[edit]

On January 24, 2018, the website 3rd Rail Politics reported Republican legislators' alleged sexist and demeaning comments toward women at a roast for outgoing Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger's chief of staff Mike Dittoe. Held at the Athletic Club of Columbus just down the street from the Capital Building, the event was attended by legislators, lobbyists and campaign contributors.

"Representative William Seitz (R-Cincinnati) called out former Rep. Diana Fessler, calling her a nutjob who "wore a tin foil hat." More demeaning still, he compared her to his current Southwest Ohio colleague Rep. Candice Keller. Saving the best for last, he imagined certain legislators doing their work "set to music." Former Senator Cliff Hite, who as first reported by 3rd Rail was drummed out of office for disturbing allegations of harassing a female statehouse staffer, could have Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It on," Seitz joked. "Or better yet," he added, "The Answer is Blowing in the Wind." Not content to just smack one chamber, he added a similar off-color double entendre to describe the song for former Rep. Wes Goodman. [Not suitable for print].[15].

These remarks took place the same week House members received sexual harassment training mandated as a result of recent local and national scandals.

Days later, Seitz apologized for the remarks, calling them "irresponsible". Ohio Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, in a statement, said he expects Seitz to be "more thoughtful" and "more respectful" in the future [16].

State Reps. Nickie Antonio, Teresa Fedor and Michele Lepore-Hagan and Kathleen Clyde told Republican House Speaker Clifford Rosenberger that Seitz should resign, a move Seitz called "politically motivated" [17].

Soon after, an anonymous woman filed a complaint, stating that Seitz's remarks worsened an already hostile working environment in the Statehouse. Republican Attorney General Mike Dewine paid $12,000 to Taft Stettinius & Hollister to conduct an internal investigation. Taft Stettinius and Hollister not only gave Dewine substantial campaign contributions, the firm emplloyed Seitz for over 3 decades. Taft's investigators conducted only three interviews - of Seitz and two witnesses - then concluded Seitz had not violated the House's Sexual Harassment Policies. The review appeared to exclude any witnesses that were offended Seitz's remarks, or any victims of Statehouse sexual harassment [18].

The Toledo Blade called for second investigation "with no conflict of interest"[19].

Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan said, "...interviewing only two of the more than 100 people who attended the event where Rep. Seitz degraded women, and then burying the report makes it clear that the leadership of the House and AG DeWine wanted to whitewash this particular incident" [20].

State Reps. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) and Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) asked Ohio Attorney General (AG) Mike DeWine to hire an objective third party to reopen the harassment investigation of Rep. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati). [21]

An ethics grievance was filed with the Ohio Supreme Court against firm partner Stuart Dornette, regarding the firm's failure to disclose this conflict of interest. Dornette has contributed to Seitz's political campaigns. Seitz referred to the complainant as a "knucklehead" [22]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Seitz Elected To Leadership Position In Ohio House Of Representatives". Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2010-12-21.
  2. ^ Seitz to be appointed to Senate?
  3. ^ Siegel, Jim (2011-04-07). "Republican who opposed SB 5 punished". Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved 2011-04-07.
  4. ^ Truong, Quang (2011-04-07). "Seitz stripped of chairmanship". Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved 2011-04-08.
  5. ^ Bischoff, Laura (2011-04-12). "Seitz fires back at Senate president". Dayton Daily News. Retrieved 2011-04-12.
  6. ^ Husted, Jon 2012 general election results (2012-11-06)
  7. ^ Board of Directors - ALEC |accessdate=April 17, 2012
  8. ^ "Our Campaigns - OH State House 30 Race - Nov 08, 2016". Retrieved 2017-01-21.
  9. ^ http://www.ohiohouse.gov/committee/criminal-justice
  10. ^ https://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/politics/2016/05/24/lawmakers-fast-track-bill-requiring-cash-longer-voting-hours/84843498/
  11. ^ https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/05/24/ohio-voting-hours-bill/84874672/
  12. ^ https://static.votesmart.org/static/vetotext/57401.pdf
  13. ^ https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA132-HB-561
  14. ^ https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-votes?id=GA132-HB-561
  15. ^ https://www.3rdrailpolitics.com/article/906
  16. ^ https://www.journal-news.com/news/state-lawmaker-apologizes-for-comments-reportedly-made-roast/4vyp1sXF3mSOND5gA8Xe2N/#seitz_letter
  17. ^ https://sunny95.com/news/061160-061160-4-in-ohio-house-want-lawmaker-to-resign-over-crass-remarks/
  18. ^ https://www.cleveland.com/open/index.ssf/2018/06/rep_bill_seitz_cleared_of_sexu.html
  19. ^ https://www.toledoblade.com/Editorials/2018/06/20/Re-do-the-review-of-Bill-Seitz.html
  20. ^ http://www.ohiohouse.gov/democrats/press/ohio-ag-picked-donor-to-whitewash-sexual-harassment-investigation-of-gop-lawmaker-lawmaker-says
  21. ^ http://www.ohiohouse.gov/nickie-j-antonio/press/ohio-ag-needs-to-open-independent-harassment-investigation-of-bill-seitz-lawmakers-say
  22. ^ https://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/politics/2018/06/25/taft-law-firm-shouldve-disclosed-conflict-interest-grievance-says/732404002/

External links[edit]

Ohio House of Representatives
Preceded by
Dorothy Pelanda
Majority Leader of the Ohio House of Representatives
2017–present
Incumbent