The Associated Press, and local Cincinnati media has confirmed, that State Representative Bob Mecklenborg has announced his intention to resign office, effective August 2.
Mecklenborg was arrested back in April for suspicion of driving while intoxicated after midnight on Good Friday. He reportedly failed all three field sobriety tests. A blood test taken by the Indiana State Police detected alcohol levels above the legal limits as well as the presence of Viagra.
According to the Indiana State Police report concerning the incident, a young woman, who was not Mecklenborg’s wife, was a passenger in the car he was driving. The woman had ties to a gentlemen’s club that was in the general direction the car Mecklenborg was driving was headed. Although the club would not confirm or deny that the passenger was a stripper at the club, it did tell at least one Cincinnati TV station that it could take a message for her.
Last week, Joseph wrote about how Mecklenborg lied by omitting any reference of his arrest when applying to replace his expired drivers license. A story that was picked up by the Columbus Dispatch over the weekend.
After first publicly stating support for Mecklenborg and calling on the media to recognize it was a “private matter,” on Wednesday Speaker Batchelder became the first Republican to call on Mecklenborg to resign. Governor Kasich specifically refused to call on Mecklenborg to resign.
CGE asked the Kasich communication team last Friday whether the governor has made any statement of any kind about Rep. Mecklenborg, and if not, why not?
Gov. Kasich did not respond. But his Deputy Press Secretary, Connie Wehrkamp, did. "It’s a serious situation that needs to be addressed and the governor is confident that Mr. Mecklenborg and the House leadership will handle it appropriately."
CGE posed another question to Gov. Kasich’s top communication members on Rep. Mecklenborg, given the governor’s track record of invoking the Lord into some conversations when the spirit strikes him, as it did, memorably, in his inaugural speech when Kasich proudly confessed, "I am a servant of the Lord," CGE asked, "As a servant of the Lord, does Gov. Kasich think Rep. Mecklenborg’s actions are consistent with the teachings of Jesus? Has he reached out to Mecklenborg in any way, as he did with Tressell…?
No reason has been giving why Mecklenborg will continue to serve for the rest of this month, thus drawing a salary from taxpayers despite the fact that he failed to attend the only House session this month until September and is entirely unable to provide any service to his constituents until his resignation is effective.
The House Republican Caucus, in consultation with the Hamilton County Republican Party, will be able to appoint Mecklenborg’s replacement.
No word yet from the Ohio House leadership as to whom will assume the Chair of the House State Government & Elections Committee.
[UPDATE:] Speaker Batchelder issued this statement in response to … well, it turns out his office was the one that announced the resignation in the first place:
“My friend and colleague Bob Mecklenborg has guided the Ohio House of Representatives with his expertise on a variety of legislative initiatives since he became a member,” Speaker Batchelder said. “As I have said before, Bob has been a dedicated public servant and his contributions to the Ohio House have been vital to the important work of this great institution. Bob has admitted his mistakes and, while difficult, I believe he has made the appropriate decision to step down as a member of the Ohio House of Representatives. I thank him for his dedicated and loyal service to the people of Ohio, particularly to the people of western Hamilton County.”
Remember when Chris Redfern praised Marc Dann when he resigned, or his former colleagues in the State legislature? Oh, that’s right, we didn’t.
Here’s about as far as I got with Mecklenborg’s released statement:
As a member of the Ohio House of Representatives, I believe that I have served well and faithfully my constituents of the 30th House District…
Here’s a protip: when resigning due to being revealed that you were arrested under suspicion of driving under the influence with a stripper in your car, avoid works like “served well” and “faithfully” in your resignation statement.
“I believe that I have served well and faithful” is a hidden statement of defiance. It says: “I can’t believe they’re making me resign over this bullshit.” It makes the rest of his statement and pseudo-apology sound as genuine as the revelation last week that he was now in treatment… treatment he apparently sought months after the incident and only after it became widely known.
The resignation is the coward’s way out. Mecklenborg did so simply to avoid answering the questions about the incident such as his relationship with his passenger, who’s car was he driving, where was he going, and did he vote using the drivers’ license he obtained after the incident, and why did he fail to report the incident when he applied to renew his license?
Mecklenborg’s resignation prevents him from ever having to answer those questions or anyone else in his caucus from answering what did they know and when. The entire GOP leadership response on this is weak, especially for a caucus who called for the heads of anyone in the Strickland Administration for far less, non-criminal actions.
Governor Kasich, when asked about this situation, ducked it. Batchelder almost sound wistfully sadden that it’s come to this. Mecklenborg apologizes for the embarrassment his actions caused, but not the actions themselves.
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