U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton said Friday a comment about her in a Medina County GOP newsletter was “an insult to all women” and she called for the head of the Medina County Republican Executive Committee to step down.
An article in the committee’s spring newsletter said, “Let’s take Betty Sutton out of the House and put her back in the kitchen!” The comment appeared on an inside page of the newsletter mailed last week.
Bill Heck, chairman of the committee, said the comment wasn’t intended to be offensive.
“This is something that we take seriously, and we’ll be more politically correct as we go forward,” he said, noting every document produced by the committee now will be reviewed by two members before it’s printed.
However, he said he would not step down.
“I don’t think this is a matter of such drastic urgency or importance that would cause the executive committee to want to replace me,” he said.
In her Friday statement about the comment, Sutton, D-Copley Twp., focused on the potential impact it could have on women.
“The comment made in the flier not only devalues women and all that they contribute to the strength of our nation, but it is also an unconscionable statement of belief about the potential of our girls and young women,” she said.
“The statement in the mailer devalues the tremendous breadth of talents of women and girls, be they Republicans, independents, Democrats or none of the above,” she said.
Heck said he wrote the “tongue-in-cheek” comment to rally the electorate and to focus the campaign on political issues.
“We were just trying to put some words out there that would put some attention to the voters,” he said.
“That type of rhetoric is certainly not meant to be sexist or offensive. It’s part of political rhetoric,” he said. “Part of our mission of our publication is to stimulate the voter.”
He noted that he has two daughters and his wife, Jill Heck, previously served as Medina County probate and juvenile judge and as county prosecutor.
“I think if I was sexist, I probably would not survive my own household,” he said.
Sutton also asked Tom Ganley, a Republican candidate for the 13th Congressional District, to denounce Heck’s statements. An advertisement for Ganley appeared in the newsletter.
“I don’t believe in stereotypes of any kind. Clearly the words used were inappropriate, but with unemployment over 11 percent in Ohio we need to stick to the issues,” Ganley said in an e-mailed statement. “I’m sure Betty Sutton is a very capable lawyer, but I disagree with her on a variety of political issues such as taxes, the role of government in our daily lives and spending. I think the voters deserve to hear about what we are doing to solve the issues facing our nation.”
Sutton is up for re-election in the 13th District. She faces Justin P. Wooden of North Canton in the May 4 Democratic primary.
Ganley, of Brecksville, faces five others in the Republican primary: James Brihan of Avon Lake, Bill Haney of Brunswick, Jim Hrubik of Norton, Jason Meade of Barberton and Todd Sharkey of Akron.
Contact Maria Kacik at (330) 721-4049 or firstname.lastname@example.org.