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House Democrats call on speaker to take action amid threats of violence to Leader Sykes

June 3, 2020
Democratic Newsroom

COLUMBUS—Ohio House Democrats sent a letter to Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) urging him to consider additional security measures for members receiving threats of physical violence. The letter follows threats of violence made against House Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) and her family in May. To date, the speaker has not publicly condemned the incident and has refused to make any additional security measures available to Leader Sykes.

“As Speaker and in recognition of your leadership role in the Ohio House of Representatives, you are granted additional security while in the statehouse,” Democrats wrote in the letter. “As members of the minority caucus, we feel strongly that our own leadership is similarly deserving of heightened security protection, especially given the recent threats and increasing animus in this political environment.”

“When we selected you as the Speaker, you committed to being a leader for all 99 elected representatives. While our caucuses may sometimes disagree on policy, we should always agree on the on the fact that we all have a right to express our positions without being threatened by physical violence.”

“Since the beginning of this General Assembly, multiple members in both caucuses have received and had to endure violent threats against them. While some would label the increasing vitriol in the political discourse or the blatant misinformation that is used by some to rile up their constituencies as ‘politics,’ recent events demonstrate the fallout from such comments.”

House Democrats call on speaker to take action amid threats of violence to Leader Sykes (PDF)