Indicted Former Speaker Returns To Work, Defending Himself And Nuclear Bailout Law

Rep. Larry Householder (R-Glenford) speaks to reporters before session on September 1. It was the first time he was back in the House since being stripped of his speakership in July.
Rep. Larry Householder (R-Glenford) speaks to reporters before session on September 1. It was the first time he was back in the House since being stripped of his speakership in July. [Karen Kasler]
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The Ohio House came back to work Tuesday. And Republican Rep. Larry Householder  (R-Glenford) did, too.

It was his first time back since being ousted as speaker after being indicted in an alleged bribery scheme involving the nuclear bailout law he championed.

"I'm not going to cause any problems here. I mean, I'm just coming here to to participate and vote for the people of my district," Householder said.

Householder spoke to reporters in the back of the House chamber as he waited for session to get started, saying he’s innocent of the racketeering charges related to the nuclear bailout law, which he says saved those power plants and jobs, and he doesn’t want to see it repealed.

“Good legislation is good legislation, and it was the right thing to do for the people of Ohio. There were obviously people who were looking for business advantages and other things to close down those power plants, just like there always is," Householder said Tuesday.

He and other bailout backers have said the legislation saved the state's two nuclear power plants, along with 4,000 jobs. And they say it will save ratepayers $2.3 billion.

They also claim its opponents were financed by natural gas interests and the Chinese government, which was never proven. Opponents of the law included environmentalists and research groups.

But the source of the funding for Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts, the group that tried to put the law before voters last fall, is unclear. So was the funding for Ohioans For Energy Security, the pro-bailout group that fought that attempt.

The federal lawsuit says the nonprofit group Generation Now illegally pumped millions of dollars into the effort to pass the law and to put it on the ballot.

Householder said it's good to be back at the Statehouse, saying he felt the decision to strip him of his speakership was wrong, but that "things got pretty wild there for a while. I understand that. And those things happen. I mean, that's part of politics. When you get into the arenas, sometimes those things occur."

And he compared his situation to investigations and other activities involving President Donald Trump.

“If you look at what's going on at the national level with the president and everyone else, it just seems that's the way things are today. So I wouldn't say it's embarrassing the final stretch of the imagination," Householder said. "I feel good about what I've done and what I've done to protect the people, the state of Ohio and the legislation that we move forward. And I feel proud about all those things.”

Householder, who was re-elected in 2018 by a two-to-one margin in his district, faces four write-in candidates this fall.

Copyright 2020 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

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