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Government and Politics

Ohio Senate President says “goodbye” in farewell speech
Senator Tom Niehaus gives talks to the state senate about cherishing moments despite political party affiliation. 

Jo Ingles
Republican Senator Tom Niehaus
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The President of the Ohio Senate was honored during one of his final sessions today.

Tom Niehaus will be leaving the Senate when the general assembly finishes its work next week.

Niehaus left the members of the Senate with advice to work with each other in a bi-partisan way to get things done. And he told a story about Democratic State Senator Nina Turner, one of the Senate’s more outspoken members, to make his point.

Hear Niehaus' farewell speech

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You know I’ve been promoting bipartisanship. That means getting to know each other personally. We need to socialize, talk about family and friends. It will make a difference. Last year, we had a “members only” bowling party. And Nina, I’m going to tell a little story. You know Nina was having a little trouble keeping the ball on the lane. So at one point, one of our Republican colleagues yelled out at her “Nina, move to the left”. Now who would have ever thought a conservative Republican would tell a liberal proud Democrat to move to the left? But we all laughed. We enjoyed the moment. And we need to enjoy more of those moments.

Niehaus has served in the Ohio legislature for 12 years. He’s served as president of the Ohio Senate for the last four of those years.

Listener Comments:

God is watching over us. He made the animals on earth. remember the ark a pair of animals. that was all animals Nitro is watching u

Posted by: Crystal Hughes (morgan county) on December 13, 2012 11:12AM
This man has blocked bills nearly every bill proposed to protect OH animals because of his close ($$) relationship with the major corporation in Cinn. This company uses animals in lab testing so feel that any law protecting animals could be a slippery slope to their research. Even if it's for dogs, farm animals, etc. that would never impact said company. As a volunteer for HSUS and ASPCA, I am thoroughly disgusted with Niehaus. He's insensitive to the plight of animals in Ohio, which if you were aware of what's going on, you wouldn't be able to sleep nights. His replacement is Fabor who is the only member of OH Senate who voted AGAINST THE PUPPY MILL LAW, SB 130. Repulbicans in OH House and Senate ban together and won't even allow a bill to go before the Senate or House of Rep -- won't even let them BE DISCUSSED. NPR and your local affiliate WKSU NEED TO GIVE MORE TIME TO THE LEGISLATIVE ABUSE AT THE STATE LEVEL THAT PROLONG ANIMAL SUFFERING. IT'S AN INTERESTING STORY - WHY THESE PEOPLE NEVER WANT ANIMAL PROTECTION LAWS THAT HAVE ANY TEETH OR ANY AT ALL FOR THAT MATTER. WHY DO THEY SEEM TO HAVE TOTAL DISRESPECT FOR ANIMALS? DO THEY DISBELIEVE THE FACTS? BLOCK IT ALL OUT AND STAY IN DENIAL. IS IT THAT THEY LEGITIMIZE THEIR DECISIONS BECAUSE THEY'D JUST RATHER NOT KNOW? IT WOULD BE A GREAT TOPIC AND I AND OTHERS WOULD BE GLAD TO HELP YOU.

Posted by: Karen Squires (Columbus OH) on December 13, 2012 10:12AM
I was born and lived my life in Ohio. I am truly ashamed that the State I have known as my home is such a horrible place with zero compassion. I AM an animal advocate and proud of that title. I have worked side by side with so many others who on a daily basis have seen the consequences of animal abuse. I have seen first hand child abuse in some real bad cases. I have cared for animals from such horrid conditions who will live out their days with the aftereffects of the abuse they endured. The mental abuse is so much worse than the physical.

I have made hundreds of calls, emails, and letters trying to get our legislation to at least put HB 108 Nitro's Law on the floor for vote. To at least let the Senators vote. Senator Neihaus says he answered the phones and the voice of his constituents were important to him. I say that he told a bald face lie. He not once contacted to or spoke to anyone who called let alone responded to any emails. The only thing anyone received was a letter from his aide. No reasons and no response.

Is this how our tax money is spent? Is this how our employees do the job they are paid for? If you refused to listen to your employer you would not have a job. Why is child abuse and animal abuse only a misdemeanor? Ask our legistators that we pay to do a job why they sit and not even let these bills be voted on. They die out and then it is our fault.. I DON"T THINK SO.. Put the blame where it should go. ON THE HEADS OF OUR STATE GOVERNMENT..

Posted by: Marry Daniels (Port Washington,Ohio) on December 13, 2012 9:12AM
To Thomas Niehaus, Rest well because there are thousands of people that have anything but, love for you. You are an Animal Hater, or you would have done something to help our Defensless Animals. You are Cold and have absolutely no empathy for anything.I hope you enjoy your retirement and that "NITRO" will never leave your mind. You *

Posted by: Janet Withers (Perrysburg, Ohio) on December 13, 2012 9:12AM
Ohio, do you remember

… the 48 majestic, exotic animals lying in Terry Thompson’s farmyard while the stunned world looked on in horror and wondered why there was neither an emergency plan nor a law regulating backyard lions and tigers?

…. Marcus Fiesel’s beautiful, wide eyed, baby face on the front page as a shocked community learned the preschooler had been duck taped and rolled into a rug, left in the closet for days while the family went out of town on a picnic?

… the sad faces of dogs with genetic problems, health defects, infected ears, covered in urine and feces, being carried out of Ohio’s infamous puppy mills?

Senator Neihaus got great accolades in the Ohio Senate yesterday about his always being available to take a phone call from a colleague. His web site touts him as being a great listener. Yet, today when I asked the family of Nitro,(the Rottweiler whose name is on an Ohio bill proposing felony for animal abuse) how many return calls she ever got in the last years from Senator Niehaus – none. He not only did not return the family’s calls. His aide’s phone often was on voice mail mode. He gave no reason for why, despite an onslaught of e-mails, calls, news articles from animal advocates, he would not bring Nitro’s Law to the Senate floor for a vote. By citizen count there were enough Ohio Senators to pass the law. No Democratic Senators were opposed. All opposed were Republicans.

Why, when Governor Ted Strickland had signed an eight point agreement – the eighth point being the regulation of Ohio backyard, exotics - just before leaving office, did Governor Kasich not sign on the bill in the spring as he was supposed to do? This made the new law regulating exotic animals in Ohio go off the books in the spring. Thus, there was neither law nor emergency plan in place in October when the Zanesville animals were all suddenly released.

Marcus Feisel, the youngster who lost his life, abandoned for days, alone in a closet, came from Butler County. This is Senator Niehaus’ corner of Ohio. Why did Marcus languish for years of his short life without protection against ongoing abuse and in substandard conditions, even with assigned social workers from the county overseeing his case?

Why for years have puppy mill abusers, liked Virginia’s Junior Horton, who allegedly had over one thousand dogs in a mill where only five hundred were permitted, been run out of their own states and move to Ohio?

Ohio animal and child welfare laws are too lax. The United States Humane Society puts Ohio at 36 for animal protections. Animal cruelty is simply a misdemeanor in Ohio. So the deliberate, slow torture and finally death of an animal means nothing to Senator Niehaus and the Ohio Senate? - At least not enough.

Senator Gerberry, the Nitro’s Law sponsor, was quoted as saying that the General Assembly has passed too many animal laws. That’s why Nitro’s Law could not be passed this year. Senator Niehaus is quoted as saying that animals don’t have souls and cannot have stronger protections than children. That’s why Nitro isn’t moving through the legislature.

Let me refer Senator Niehaus to two favorite, Catholic icons. First, St. Francis, Senator, is one of the world’s, best known animal advocates. Peek into the back yards of houses around the globe and you can see St. Francis quietly tending the birds and wild life. Second, in 1990 Pope John Paul II said, “also the animals possess a soul and that men must love and feel solidarity with our smaller brethren”. Can even the Ohio Senate President argue with St. Francis and Pope John Paul II that animals don’t deserve strengthened, legal protections?

Ohio, do you remember each, heart- wrenching story? Don’t forget. Keep these stories and political initiatives in mind when you next vote. Don’t wait for the next life, child or animal, to be extinguished. Don’t wait for the next, Ohio catastrophe . Vote for the person who will pick up the phone, share his reasoning with you. Vote for the candidates that listen to you and advocate for you, not exclude you. Vote for inclusion, morality, and compassion … and maybe another Senate office aide to answer your calls.

Posted by: Beth Sheehan (Cincinnati, Ohio) on December 13, 2012 5:12AM
Thank you, Karen Squires! I agree 100%....this needs to be exposed NOW! And GOOD RIDDANCE to niehaus.....he is as slimy and corrupt as they come!!!

Posted by: mari cooper (cincinnati, ohio) on December 13, 2012 2:12AM
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