June 24, 2016

Mostly sunny

Ohio speaker has words for Obama at GOP social

Ohio House Speaker William Batchelder, R-Medina, addresses a crowd of about 60 people gathered Sunday at Medina’s Public Square for the Medina County Republican Party’s annual ice cream social. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY KIERA MANION-FISCHER)

Ohio House Speaker William Batchelder used the occasion of the Medina County Republican Party’s annual ice cream social Sunday to blast President Barack Obama’s policies on coal, health care and Syria.

“We have one of the largest coal supplies in the country, and this man absolutely wants to run us out of business,” Batchelder told about 60 of the party faithful gathered at the ice cream social.

Last week, the Obama administration proposed strict limits on carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants.

“The unfortunate part of that is, when you run the coal companies out of business, you run business out of business,” said, Batchelder, who lives in Medina and represents House District 69, covering the eastern half of Medina County.

Batchelder faulted federal health care reform for its impact on the Cleveland Clinic.

“I’ve been amazed at what happens up in Cleveland,” he said. “One of the very best medical centers in the world, the Cleveland Clinic, is laying off 3,000 employees because of the impact of ObamaCare on that hospital.”

The hospital announced last week that it would be offering voluntary early retirement packages to about 3,000 employees, and cited lower payments from Medicare and Medicaid and expected changes from federal health care reform as a reason for this.

The speaker also took issue with the president’s stance on Syria.

“The idea that the United States of America would want to get in a fight with Syria is so absolutely appalling as to be beyond belief,” he said. “Syria of course has some very strong allies — Iran, Russia. I mean, what’s going on here?”

From left, Medina County Commissioner Steve Hambley; his wife, Cheryl Hambley; and Laurel Miller, wife of Medina County Sheriff Tom Miller, listen to a speech by Ohio House Speaker William Batchelder during the Medina County Republican Party ice cream social at Medina Public Square on Sunday. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY KIERA MANION-FISCHER)

After his speech, Batchelder said he wasn’t sure what he planned to do after his term ends. He will not be able to run for re-election to the House because of an eight-year term limit added to the Ohio Constitution by voters in 1992.

“I do have a 182-acre farm,” he said. “I don’t know.”

Batchelder will have served a total of 38 years in the House when his term ends in 2015. This is the second time term limits have forced Batchelder out of the Legislature. He avoided being term-limited in 2000 by accepting a judgeship, and returned to the House in 2007.

Last week, Medina County Commissioner Steve Hambley announced plans to run for Batchelder’s House seat.

Contact reporter Kiera Manion-Fischer at (330) 721-4049 or kfischer@medina-gazette.com.