DeWine on Impeachment Articles: ‘Have at It’

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Gov. Mike DeWine was brief and to the point when addressing the articles for his impeachment introduced Monday.

To the state lawmakers who drafted the articles, which are sponsored by state Rep. John Becker, DeWine said he will continue working to keep Ohioans safe and getting the state’s economy moving faster.

“If there are others in the legislature who want to spend their time on throwing up resolutions and filing articles, it’s a free country,” DeWine said during Tuesday’s coronavirus briefing. “I would just say to them, ‘Have at it.’ But my focus is to do what I’m sworn to do, and that is to protect the people of the state of Ohio.”

In the articles, the representatives cited the governor’s “abuses of power” during the coronavirus pandemic, including “arbitrarily closing certain businesses,” implementing a statewide mask mandate and meddling in the conduct of the presidential primary election.

The articles also addressed DeWine’s veto of Senate Bill 55, which would lower fines for breaking health department orders, and threatening to veto S.B. 1 that would require ODH orders lasting more than 14 days to be reviewed by a newly created committee and House Bill 618, which would limit the authority of the governor and ODH to issue orders regarding contagious diseases.

“Due to the unilateral actions of Gov. DeWine, a growing number of businesses have failed and continue to fail. Millions of frustrated, exasperated, and suffering Ohioans are relying on the General Assembly to take control and end their government-driven affliction,” Becker said in a statement Monday. “Gubernatorial recall elections are not permitted in Ohio and removal by complaint is too arduous and impractical for the citizenry to navigate as a process for taking back their government. The only other option is impeachment.”

In response to some of the orders being heavy handed, DeWine said he doesn’t want any order to stay on “a day, an hour or a second” longer than it has to. He says lawmakers who want to discuss any actions taken can contact him.

“There’s nobody more open than I am. Every legislator has my cell phone,” he says.

The articles and statement were almost immediately denounced by the Ohio Republican Party and Ohio Democratic Party. In a statement, ORP Chairwoman Jane Timken called the introduction of the articles “despicable.”

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.