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2 lawmakers apologize for crude remarks at going-away party

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Two Republican state lawmakers apologized on Friday for offensive remarks they made throughout a best House staffer’s going-away party that made gentle of new sexual misconduct scandals and disparaged feminine lawmakers.

State Rep. Bill Seitz, of Cincinnati, and state Sen. Matt Huffman, of Lima, one by one expressed be apologetic about for vulgar and derogatory jokes cracked on Tuesday at the farewell party for House Chief of Staff Mike Dittoe. Their remarks got here not up to per week after the House finished newly mandated sexual harassment coaching.

Seitz, a veteran lawmaker identified for his oratory, issued an open letter in a single day Thursday to House Speaker Clifford Rosenberger and fellow House individuals pronouncing he regretted any disgrace, misery or embarrassment he brought about along with his feedback. Among different issues, he maligned GOP state Rep. Candice Keller and previous state Rep. Diana Fessler with name-calling and suggestive and sexist jokes.

“My words were irresponsible as a member of this esteemed institution and as a member of House leadership,” wrote Seitz, the House majority chief.

Huffman apologized for remarks together with a vulgar time period for feminine genitalia.

“I understand why people at the event were offended, and I apologize,” Huffman mentioned in a remark launched via Senate management on Friday. “I am truly sorry.”

The tournament, styled as a roast and providing an open bar, was once held at the luxurious Athletic Club in downtown Columbus. About 100 legislators, lobbyists and personnel individuals attended. Keller was once no longer there, however at least one different feminine House member walked out since the lawsuits were given so vulgar. Seitz fell later on and broke his ankle.

Keller mentioned she was once stunned and disenchanted when she heard about Seitz’s feedback, which integrated pronouncing she wears a “tin-foil hat.”

“It’s very hurtful and very embarrassing. I can’t explain why,” she mentioned. “It’s humiliating for some reason, and I didn’t really do anything. I find it odd, really, in light of the Harvey Weinstein culture in which we live, that everyone isn’t more cautious.”

Weinstein, a Hollywood film manufacturer, has been accused of sexually harassing a number of ladies. He has apologized for inflicting “a lot of pain” with “the way I’ve behaved.”

Keller mentioned she needs that Rosenberger, provide at the development, had accomplished extra to forestall it within the second.

“I can’t for the life of me figure out in what universe this is funny,” she mentioned, including she got here to Columbus to get issues accomplished for her constituents on jobs, tax reform and combating the opioid disaster.

John Fortney, a spokesman for Republican Senate President Larry Obhof, mentioned Obhof spoke to Huffman and “expressed his strong disappointment and disapproval.” He mentioned the will for to any extent further motion is being evaluated.

Last yr, then-state Sen. Cliff Hite, a Findlay Republican, resigned after an investigation discovered he had touched and made irrelevant feedback to a feminine state employee. Within the month, then-state Rep. Wes Goodman, a Republican from Cardington, resigned after acknowledging a sexual stumble upon in his workplace.

In an acknowledgment letter to Seitz, Rosenberger mentioned he was once “disheartened by the careless and insensitive remarks” the consultant made. He instructed Seitz he expects his remarks to be extra considerate and his habits extra respectful going ahead. He directed Seitz to for my part apologize to Keller and Fessler.

Democratic state Rep. Nickie Antonio, the state’s first brazenly homosexual state lawmaker, mentioned the ones sitting within the crowd that night time must “come forward and demand better.”

“Until we demand better of our elected officials and hold them accountable for treating taxpayers like commodities and the Statehouse like a playground, we won’t make progress on important issues like job creation, school funding and equal pay,” she mentioned. “Time’s up for sexual harassers at the Statehouse.”


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