[LFC Comments: Here is a timely article by cleveland.com. We applaud Representative Callender for communicating clearly with the taxpayers of the 61st District.]
Perry nuclear plant rescue remains a good policy for Lake County: Jamie Callender
CONCORD TOWNSHIP, Ohio — I sponsored House Bill 6, which helped Ohio consumers by removing government subsidies that made the cost of energy more expensive. And, more important to me, this legislation protected hundreds of jobs and millions of tax dollars funding Lake County first responders, libraries, and schools.
When former Ohio Speaker Larry Householder was arrested on federal corruption charges, scrutiny shifted to HB 6. To ensure Lake County and nuclear energy is supported for the right reasons, and not muddied by corruption, I’m calling for a new measure that simultaneously repeals and replaces this law. Make no mistake — Ohio and Lake County still need the policy of HB 6 and I still support it.
Many around Ohio viewed the HB 6 debate from an academic perspective. But, to me and my neighbors in Lake County, it’s also personal. I’ve lived and worked in Lake County for nearly all of my life. My family and my business are here. I served as a trustee of the Mentor Public Library Board. And, as a parent and a legislator, I’ve strongly advocated for our schools. Organizations like these all count on the Perry nuclear power plant, which for more than 40 years has been an integral part of Lake County’s economy.
The plant employs 700 highly paid employees and supports hundreds more jobs at nearby companies. Every year, the plant contributes $60 million to the Lake County economy.
Campaign contributions don’t determine my priorities – but the needs of my district do. Lake County working families needed help. That’s why I sponsored HB 6. In fact, I’ve advocated for measures to save the jobs and tax base surrounding the plant for nearly 20 years.
In 2018, I was a private citizen when Larry Householder called and encouraged me to run for state representative. He knew I had a heart to help Lake County and he understood the power plant was at risk. I was initially reluctant to return to the legislature but, after discussing it with friends and neighbors, I decided to step up and fight for Lake County again. One of my first goals was to propose legislation to protect the power plant and its economic impact on our community.
We ran a good campaign and I spoke to thousands of voters. Then and now, I knew what everyone else knew: A lot of money was being spent by outside groups to support Larry Householder and candidates he viewed as supportive of him. I didn’t coordinate with any of those groups, and I had no idea about Householder’s alleged control of them until the federal charges were made public.
I’ve read the criminal complaint against Larry Householder and it’s clear to me that he crossed the line. I called for him to resign and voted to remove him as speaker of the Ohio House.
Ohio lawmakers were already facing important tasks, such as addressing the pandemic, dealing with concerns about racism, and resolving state budget shortfalls. Now we must rebuild a crumbling trust in government, and address again the important legislation addressing Ohio’s nuclear power plants.
While federal investigators haven’t contacted me about what I know about the passage of HB 6 and the subsequent petition effort, I’ll cooperate with any investigator who wants more information. I’ll tell them what I tell the public now – good legislation that protected Lake County was marred by a poisonous political process and, it appears, multiple legal violations.
I’ll never apologize for fighting for the schools, libraries, and first responders of Lake County, but I am sorry that the actions of a handful of political insiders in Columbus have tainted my effort to protect the single largest source of clean, carbon-free energy in Ohio.
My focus will now be on rebuilding faith in the important work of state lawmakers and taking the legislative actions necessary to protect the Perry nuclear power plant. Our Lake County families, schools, and first responders need help and I stand for them.
State Rep. Jamie Callender of Lake County is a Republican representing Ohio’s 61st District.