Let’s take a look at two Ohio lawmakers who were recently in the news, one an U.S. congressman and the other a state representative in the Ohio House.
The congressman is 36-year-old Anthony Gonzalez, a Republican in his second term who represents the 16th congressional district in Northeast Ohio. It includes Wayne County and parts of Cuyahoga, Medina, Summit, Portage and Stark counties.
To understand his story, you need to know his background.
Gonzalez is the son and grandson of Cuban immigrants who fled under the threat of execution from the regime of Fidel Castro. His family eventually landed in Ohio, where his father opened his first steel plant, a processing facility on the west side of Cleveland.
When he became of age, Gonzalez worked summers in the factory, saying it is where he “first gained a true appreciation for the dignity of a hard day’s work, the value of a good-paying job, and the importance of being able to put food on the table.”
He also became a football star at St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland and later The Ohio State University, where he played wide receiver under Coach Jim Tressel before becoming a first-round draft pick for the National Football League’s Indianapolis Colts.
After five seasons in the NFL, Gonzalez went back to school. He received his MBA from the Stanford Business School and helped launch a technology company that helped K-12 schools maneuver through the mountains of government paper work. He eventually returned home to the Cleveland suburb of Rocky River with his wife, Elizabeth, and their two young children, Alexander and Caroline.
It was there he decided to enter politics.
He said his decision to run for Congress came from his fear “that the American Dream my grandparents and parents risked their lives to pursue, and I have been so fortunate to live, has felt too distant and too remote for others today.”
It’s no surprise Gonzalez quickly became a rising star in the Republican Party. He continues today to espouse the values of limited government, free markets, and equal rights for all Americans. But the Republican Party is now abandoning him.
It seems as if he committed a mortal sin by today’s Republican standards: He stood firm to his beliefs and voted to impeach Donald Trump for inciting the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol earlier this year. For that, he was sharply criticized by Ohio Republicans, asked to resign, and on Friday was censured. But Gonzalez never budged. On Wednesday he and David Joyce were the only two Ohio Republicans in the U.S. House who voted to create a commission to investigate the insurrection.
Now let’s look at the other person, 61-year-old Larry Householder. The Republican from Perry County in Ohio’s Appalachia region has spent his political career obtaining power.
He was Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives from 2001 through 2004. He left then under an FBI investigation but managed to get re-elected 12 years later. He again claimed the role of Speaker of the House and came under another FBI investigation. Federal agents have said his achievement was accomplished through corruption, alleging FirstEnergy gave Householder’s political operation $60 million in a corrupt exchange for a $1 billion nuclear bailout law.
Andy Tobias, who covers politics for Cleveland.com, called Householder a charming and cunning political tactician, often difficult to read and for those who don’t know better, easy to underestimate.
Chris Redfern, who was the top Democrat in the Ohio House during Householder’s first term as speaker, told the Columbus Dispatch that Householder was someone with a chip on his shoulder who wanted to show big city legislators, both Republican and Democrat, what a powerful person he was.
Hours after Householder was arrested a year ago this July, many of the state’s top Republicans, including Gov. Mike DeWine, called on the lawmaker to resign. Yet today, Householder still holds his seat in the Ohio Legislature. Questions about his future were asked of Republicans as recently as last week, but not a peep was heard from anyone despite his sins against the citizens of Ohio.
And today, you ask what’s wrong with the Republican Party?
We ask: What’s happened to its values?