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Democratic Lawmaker Fires Back At Republican Colleague Over Facebook Post

Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland), who's the president of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus, speaks at a press conference in November 2019.
Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland), who's the president of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus, speaks at a press conference in November 2019.

A Democratic state lawmaker is angry that an Ohio House colleague is claiming a bill she’s proposed would do things it wouldn’t do.

Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) said the three-page bill asks the Ohio Department of Health to create a pilot therapy program for Cleveland area kids and families at risk of trauma related to gun violence. She said she developed the idea based on the "Friendship Bench" program after hearing its founder talk about it. The evidence-based talk therapy program has reportedly helped 30,000 people in that country alone.

Republican Rep. Nino Vitale (R-Urbana) wrote on Facebook that Howse’s bill gives ODH Director Amy Acton – who he calls a Democrat – "the power to create and control firearms and therapy programs for guns."

Vitale has been a vocal critic of Acton and her role in creating the state's policies on shutting down businesses and wearing masks, calling her a "dictator" and attending at least one Statehouse protest where demonstrators called for Ohio to open all businesses immediately.

Howse is furious: “It's either he didnotreadthebillorhecan'tcomprehend.”

Howse said Vitale could have called her to discuss the bill, but she plans to talk to him because, as she put it, that’s what leaders do.

“Iambeyondfrustrated.Heneedstogrowup.Manypeopleinhiscaucusneedtogrowupandlead," Howse said.

Messages left for Vitale were not returned.

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