State trooper to fill vacant Householder seat

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 30, 2021

COLUMBUS (AP) — An Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper will fill the House seat of disgraced former lawmaker Larry Householder, Republican leadership announced Friday.

A select committee of GOP lawmakers chose Kevin Miller out of 18 other applicants to take over the vacancy left after the House took a historic, bipartisan vote to expel Householder earlier this month for his alleged role in a $60 million federal bribery scheme.

House Speaker Bob Cupp said Miller’s “extensive experience serving the Ohio State Highway Patrol will allow him to serve and represent the People of the 72nd House district well.”

Miller, a 22-year veteran of the patrol, currently works as a legislative liaison for the agency. His job involves drafting legislation and keeping troopers aware of what’s happening at the Ohio Statehouse.

“I’m looking forward to working on the issues affecting Coshocton, Licking and Perry counties and ensuring our communities’ voices are heard in Columbus,” Miller said in a statement.

In his cover letter, Miller, who identifies as a lifelong Republican, said he has seen first-hand as a member of the patrol “the recent decrease in morale and the challenges with recruitment and retention of our law enforcement officers.”

“As a legislator, I would make it a priority to advocate for all first responders to ensure they have the training and resources to successfully discharge their duties and return safely to their loved ones,” he wrote.

The House seat Miller will be taking over became vacant after 75 Republicans and 21 Democrats cast a vote last week to expel a member of the House for the first time in 150 years. With the vote, the GOP-controlled House approved a resolution that stated Householder was not suited for office because of the indictment.

Householder pleaded not guilty and predicted again on the House floor last week that he will be acquitted of charges that he orchestrated a $60 million bribery scheme meant to approve legislation propping up two nuclear power plants and then kill a ballot issue trying to overturn the law.

“I have not nor have I ever taken a bribe or solicited or been solicited for taking a bribe,” Householder said.

He and four associates were arrested in July in an investigation connected to the nuclear bailout legislation, House Bill 6, which contained a $1 billion ratepayer-funded rescue that would have added a new fee to every electricity bill in the state and directed over $150 million a year through 2026 to the plants near Cleveland and Toledo.

The former lawmaker faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Among the other applicants for the seat was Householder’s own son, Derek Householder, who is currently serving as commissioner of Perry County.

Miller will be sworn in on Monday to represent the residents of Perry, Coshocton and portions of Licking County, where he has been living for the past eight years.