Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger will resign May 1, according to a report late Tuesday in the Columbus Dispatch.
The Dispatch said Rosenberger told the newspaper, “I believe my actions as speaker have been both ethical and lawful, however, I understand the nature of this inquiry has the potential to be very demanding and intensive, and it could take months or even years.”
Reports surfaced in recent days that Rosenberger was facing an FBI investigation, possibly in regard to his travel and other issues.
Rosenberger informed the Republican caucus of his decision Tuesday evening, the Dispatch reported.
Rosenberger represents the 91st District, which includes Highland, Clinton, Pike and part of Ross counties. He was not seeking re-election due to term limits.
Rosenberger’s office confirmed Saturday that he had hired a defense attorney in light of the FBI investigation.
Later Tuesday, Rosenberger released the following statement.
“As I have said previously, I am aware of a federal inquiry being conducted regarding things I may have been involved in. First and foremost, I believe that all of my actions as Speaker have been both ethical and lawful.
“However, I understand that the nature of this inquiry has the potential to be very demanding and intensive, and could take months or even years to resolve. Meanwhile, there are many important issues facing our state that deserve careful consideration and review, and Ohioans deserve elected leaders who are able to devote their full and undivided attention to these matters. I believe the institution of the Ohio House of Representatives is far more important than one person.
“Therefore, it is after much thought and contemplation that I have decided to resign as both Speaker of the Ohio House and state representative of the 91st District, effective May 1st. At that time, Speaker Pro Tempore Kirk Schuring will assume the responsibilities of the office of Speaker until a new Speaker is elected by the Ohio House.
“Serving the people of the 91st House District has been the greatest honor of my life, and I am truly sorry that I will not be able to fulfill the remainder of my term. I take this step with full confidence in my ultimate vindication, but also believe this decision is what is best for my family, my constituents, the residents of the state and the Ohio House of Representatives. I have every belief that the House will continue to lead on the most important issues facing our great state and that Ohio’s future remains bright.”
Speaker Pro Tempore Kirk Schuring (R-Canton) also released the following statement:
“It has been an honor and privilege for me to serve with Cliff Rosenberger over the past seven years in the Ohio House. Particularly in the past three years, I believe we have worked well together to take the lead on a variety of policy issues that are critical for our state’s success. That is what makes tonight’s announcement so emotional.
“Though it was very difficult, I know the Speaker made the decision he felt was best for the Ohio House of Representatives. Therefore, effective May 1st, I will humbly accept the responsibilities of the office of the Speaker until the next Speaker is elected by the House.
“Moving forward, my goal will be to facilitate the operations of this institution as smoothly and efficiently as possible. I will continue to work closely with our members on the legislation that is important to them and the people of Ohio.”
Check back online Wednesday and in Thursday’s Times-Gazette for more details.