COLUMBUS, Ohio — A little after six o’ clock last Thursday evening, Bob Cupp walked into the office of the Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives.
The day’s events started to hit him at that time.
Hours earlier the Lima state representative became the leader of House on a historic day which saw the chamber, by a 90-0 unanimous vote, remove Rep. Larry Householder, who was formally indicted Thursday for his role in an alleged $60 million bribery scheme.
“It’s been such a busy day, it’s all starting to register with me now,” Cupp said in a telephone conversation with The Lima News. “I’m not the type of person who gets all tied up with titles. It’s going to take a while for me to get used to it. I have a lot to think about tonight on the drive home.”
Cupp, 69, is believed to be the first person from Allen County to hold the House leadership post, said Allen County Republican Chairman Keith Cheney. Cupp was named to the post in a 55-38 vote following hours of private debate during a Republican caucus Thursday afternoon. He then was immediately sworn in by Ohio Supreme Court Justice Judith French.
His immediate goal he said is to restore the trust of fellow legislators as well as the public.
“The duty of the legislative branch of government is to serve to enact laws in the best interest of the people of Ohio. The House in recent years has operated under a top-down leadership style. I want to bring people together and hear them out. There’s a lot of talent in the House, and we all need to work together,” Cupp said.
One of his first tasks, he noted, will be to repeal House Bill 6 — the cornerstone of the Householder indictment — and replace it with a new measure. “There also are several bills stranded between the House and Senate that need moved along,” Cupp said.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine was excited with the naming of Cupp. He issued a statement calling Cupp “a man of integrity who will serve Ohio well.”
Householder’s No. 2, Speaker Pro Tempore Rep. Jim Butler, of Oakwood, also was a potential candidate for the role. Three other lawmakers — Reps. Rick Carfagna, Tim Ginter and Craig Riedel — withdrew from contention and supported Cupp.
Cupp has a broad understanding of the concerns facing Ohio. He knows agriculture, having grown up on a farm in rural Allen County. His years as a county commissioner give him firsthand knowledge of issues facing local government. On the state level, besides being a state representative since 2015, he’s served four terms as a state senator and also was an Ohio Supreme Court Justice.
“In Allen County we’ve always known Bob as a man of integrity,” said Cheney. “A bright light will shine once again on the House under Bob’s leadership.”
Cupp is unopposed in the November General Election. He will be serving his fourth and final two-year term as the 4th District’s state representative before term limits are invoked.