Butler GOP chair only asks woman how she’d balance work, home life as a state rep; some Republicans are fuming

A Butler County state representative is calling for “change within the Butler County Republican Party leadership immediately.”

State Rep. Candice Keller, R-Middletown, has condemned a question asked by Chris Wunnenberg, the Butler County GOP’s Central Committee chairman, to the only female candidate seeking the party’s recommendation for a Statehouse seat.

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Ann Becker was the only woman of seven candidates seeking the GOP's recommendation last week to replace former Ohio Rep. Margy Conditt, R-Liberty Twp., who resigned.

Anonymous questions were asked of the five candidates seeking the party’s endorsement. Only Becker was asked: “How would you handle the workload and time commitment of a state (representative) while your children are still in school and require a lot of your time?”

“The Republican party stands for equality at all levels including race, gender and nationality. I expect our leader to exude those same principles,” Keller said.

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Keller on Facebook called for “change within the Butler County party leadership immediately.”

She told this newspaper she’s calling for Wunnenberg’s resignation as the county GOP Central Committee chairman and removal as a board member from the Butler County Board of Elections.

“I ask my fellow county and state officeholders, both male and female, to join me in demanding his immediate removal,” Keller said.

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Wunenberg said he’s staying until he’s voted out by the Central Committee.

“I have no intention of resigning a position I was elected to, and I would expect (Keller) wouldn’t either,” he said.

Wunnenberg, who moderated the recommendation meeting for the GOP’s members in the 52nd Ohio House District, previously told this news outlet he “didn’t do a lot of censoring of the questions.”

Jeff Kursman, who was one of the candidates seeking the party recommendation for the Statehouse appointment, said the question “was totally inappropriate” and “irrelevant.”

“People today have to balance a professional life and a personal life and I don’t see having a kids being a detriment in representing a community,” said Kursman, who has a 15-year-old son and a 13-year-old daughter. “In fact I see it as a positive … as you’re invested in a community.”

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The head of the Ohio Republican Party says the question “was unfair” and wished “better judgment” would have exercised by Wunnenberg.

“I would like to think those questions wouldn’t be asked of women about their work-life balance,” Ohio GOP Chairwoman Jane Timken said. “The (gender) roles are reversing and women make up a large percentage of our working population.”

It’s projected that by 2025 women will make up 47.1 percent of the labor force in the United States, according to the Pew Research Center.

“It’s unfortunate that that question was asked, and I wish it had not been asked,” Timken said. “Even men in our General Assembly, they spend time away from their families … I just don’t think it was a fair question.”

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The question even got the attention of Ohio gubernatorial candidate and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, who had been in Butler County recently on a campaign swing.

“In my first job as a CPA, I fought for work-life balance. We have to move beyond this mindset,” Taylor wrote on her Twitter account.

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