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Area state lawmaker ‘livid’ over alleged comments at roast

Ohio Rep. Candice Keller said she’s “appalled” and “livid” by alleged “bar-room conversation” at a private roast of the exiting Chief of Staff for the Ohio House Republicans.

On Tuesday night, Republican lawmakers were at the Athletic Club of Columbus to celebrate long-time Ohio House staffer Mike Dittoe. An online blog that follows Ohio politics wrote that the roast was filled with off-color and demeaning comments, one of which targeted Keller, a Middletown Republican, and was reportedly made by Ohio Rep. Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati.

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“Apparently, the present culture of racism and sexual assault in our culture has not changed the conversation enough, even in Ohio’s legislature,” Keller exclusively told this news outlet on Thursday.

“I would encourage my colleagues to act respectfully of women and to guard their mouths. Women are involved in the public sector permanently. I suggest that those who would insult us in an inappropriate manner to clam up and get used to the idea.”

Seitz also broke his ankle that night and was hospitalized, according to Statehouse officials.

Ohio House spokesman Brad Miller confirmed the roast happened and Keller had spoken with legal counsel.

“She has spoken with the speaker (Cliff Rosenberger) and our legal counsel, which our members are encouraged to do, but at this point no complaint has been filed,” he said.

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Keller said she has no intention of filing a complaint. However, she does “suggest that those who would insult us in an inappropriate manner to clam up and get used to the idea.”

Since the roast, she has received an outpouring of support from constituents, she said. At least one other state lawmaker has issued a statement on the report.

“If these reports are true, I am outraged by the inappropriate comments made by a few speakers, which are derogatory and unacceptable towards women,” said state Sen. Cecil Thomas, D-Cincinnati.

This news organization has asked the offices of Rosenberger and Seitz for comment.

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