Dayton Representative Fred Strahorn Friday announced he’s stepping down as House Democratic leader later this month. Strahorn has held the leadership post for four years. He will remain in the legislature.
In a statement, Strahorn gave few details, calling his departure "bittersweet." He says he’s proud of his accomplishments in the top job, including, he says, working across the aisle and gaining five Democratic seats in the House.
The announcement comes on the heels of a contentious vote that elected Larry Householder as Speaker of the Ohio House. Householder won over Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell), who Strahorn had supported.
"Democrats selected Fred Strahorn as their leader in an informal leadership vote last month. But Strahorn supported Smith, and 26 of his 38-member caucus backed Householder – leading to speculation that a shakeup among the minority leadership could be possible," the Statehouse News Bureau reported recently.
Read more about the vote at the Statehouse News Bureau website.
Strahorn released a statement saying he'll provide more details about his decision to step down from leadership on Tuesday, Jan. 15 at 11:00 a.m., and also said:
“I don’t take today’s announcement lightly, because I’m proud of the rebuilding and growth Ohio House Democrats have experienced under my leadership. After a decade of being denied a seat at the table with Republicans, we changed our direction in the legislature by engaging better with the majority on the official side and working overtime on the political side, which resulted in a net gain of five Democratic legislators in the House. Ultimately, 11.5 million Ohioans have a stronger voice and a more responsive government because of that approach.
“The caucus’ success over the last four years is shared among the talented, hardworking members and staff who each sacrificed and gave their all to further our goals of growing the middle class and ensuring working people and working families have a real opportunity for a better life in our state.
“I want to thank former Speaker Ryan Smith for his inclusiveness, leadership and shared commitment to making our state better. Though we have disagreed on the best approach at times, I believe Ryan is a man of principled integrity.
“As we move forward I am hopeful for the caucus’ continued success and will look to contribute toward that success. My decision to step down is bittersweet, but it is made sweeter knowing that I will have more time to spend with my loved ones and more time to focus on the issues that are personally important to me. I thank all the members for their trust in me over the last four years, and I look forward to this next chapter, both for myself and for the Ohio House of Representatives,” the statement reads.