COLUMBUS — Some Republican state lawmakers want to impeach Gov. Mike DeWine over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
State Rep. John Becker, R-Union Township, has drafted 10 articles of impeachment against DeWine, a Republican, including charges the governor has “violated the separation of powers” and “violated his oath of office” with his actions.
While the push is likely to gain some traction and headlines, it seems a long-shot bid. Articles of impeachment require 50 votes in the state House of Representatives and a two-thirds majority (22 votes) in the state Senate for conviction and removal from office, according to Becker.
“I kept holding out hope that we wouldn’t get to this place,” Becker said in a statement. “For months and months, I’ve been hearing the cries of my constituents and of suffering people from every corner of Ohio.
“... Living in fear, many have turned to drugs and, yes, even suicide to end or tolerate the unbearable pain inflicted by the governor upon their livelihoods, and the damage caused by his unraveling of the fabric of Ohio,” Becker added. “It is long past time to put an end to government gone wild.”
The governor's office and state Democrats are pushing back against the effort.
“The extremist Republicans whose intimidation tactics forced Dr. Amy Acton to leave her job have their sights now set on Gov. DeWine, who has done a laudable job of steering our state through the pandemic,” state Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan, D-Youngstown, said in a news release. “This effort to impeach him would be laughable were it not so dangerous. The corruption-riddled Republican House majority has left much important work undone and now are engaged in this useless exercise.”
Proponents have started a new site, ImpeachDeWine.com, to share information. According to the site, Reps. Nino Vitale, R-Urbana, and Paul Zeltwanger, R-Mason, have signed on as co-sponsors.
“Governor DeWine is focused on saving lives during the pandemic,” DeWine spokesman Dan Tierney said in an email. “He is focused on helping the economy and getting Ohioans back to work. That is what he is focused on. Not this.”
Republicans have sparred with DeWine for months over his approach to the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, Republican critics have criticized the governor’s use of health orders to mandate Ohioans wear masks and temporarily close their businesses amid the outbreak.
Last month, the governor vetoed a bill that would have, in part, reduced the penalties for anyone who violated pandemic-related orders from the state or a local health department.
“Instead of working to rebuild the public’s trust or calling the House back from summer recess to address the very real public health and economic crises Ohio currently faces by focusing on protecting small businesses and slowing the spread of COVID-19, Republicans continue to fight one another over political power,” House Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes, D-Akron, said in a statement.
“Ohioans deserve better leadership, and I hope Republicans refocus their attention towards the struggling Ohioans who need them to serve instead of enriching and promoting themselves,” she said.
— Story courtesy of The Center Square.