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Cleveland’s Martin Sweeney resigns from Ohio House

October 4, 2018

Cleveland’s Martin Sweeney resigns from Ohio House

COLUMBUS, Ohio—Democratic state Rep. Martin Sweeney of Cleveland has resigned from the Ohio House after two terms in office, according to a resignation letter published Thursday. 

Sweeney was set to leave the House after this year anyway after he unsuccessfully ran for the Ohio Senate earlier this year. His daughter, Bride Rose Sweeney, is running unopposed next month to succeed him in House District 14, which covers parts of Cleveland and suburbs such as Middleburgh Heights, Brooklyn, and Parma Heights. 

“This decision was made after great reflection and was not taken lightly,” Sweeney wrote in his resignation letter to House Speaker Ryan Smith, which was published in Thursday’s House Journal. Sweeney’s resignation took effect last Monday.  

Sweeney didn’t immediately answer phone calls seeking comment. However, he told Gongwer News Service that he plans to stay active in politics, though he hasn’t decided on his next steps. 

It’s still unclear whether Ohio House Democrats will appoint someone to fill Sweeney’s seat during the House’s lame-duck session in November. House Democratic spokesman Jordan Plottner said House Minority Leader Fred Strahorn will discuss the issue with Smith after the Nov. 6 general election.

A former Cleveland City Council president, Sweeney’s most high-profile work this session has been to introduce legislation to blow up an often-ignored state law requiring consumer-grade fireworks bought in Ohio to be transported out of state within 24 hours. That legislation, House Bill 226, passed the House last year but so far has fizzled in the Senate. 

Sweeney told Gongwer he has tried to work with legislators from both parties while serving in the House. He has been one of a handful of Democratic lawmakers who occasionally votes for major GOP-sponsored legislation, such as the 2015 state budget bill. 

Earlier this year, Sweeney decided to run for term-limited state Sen. Mike Skindell’s Senate District 23 seat rather than run for re-election. However, after a heated race, he lost the Democratic primary in May to state Rep. Nickie Antonio of Lakewood.

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