Ohio state representative says colleague called her a S.O.B. during Confederate flag bill conversation

Kyle Koehler (R-Springfield) apologized to Juanita Brent (D-Cleveland) for his anger

Ohio state representative says colleague called her a S.O.B. during Confederate flag bill conversation
Ohio State Rep. Juanita Brent (D-Cleveland) said she feels attacked after a conversation with her Republican colleague, State Rep. Kyle Koehler (R-Springfield). (Source: Special to WOIO)

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Ohio State Rep. Juanita Brent (D-Cleveland) said she feels attacked after a conversation with her Republican colleague, but State Rep. Kyle Koehler (Springfield) claims his profanity was not directed at her after apologizing in a letter.

Brent said the conversation was about amendments to a bill on the Confederate flag.

“We continued to talk about it and as he got ready to end the conversation with me, he said, ‘You son of a b---h’ and he walked into the committee room,” said Brent.

Koehler is the chairman of the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee.

Brent told 19 News last month things got heated after she amended OH HB665 bill to ban Confederate flags at county and independent fairs in Ohio.

She said before the meeting, Koehler pulled her to the side to talk about it.

“‘Can you please pull your amendment, you’re gonna make me look like a racist,‘” Brent claims Koehler said.

The House passed OH HB665, without the amendments.

Currently Confederate memorabilia is banned at state fairs but not county and independent ones.

19 News reporter, Sia Nyorkor reached out to Koehler who sent this statement:

“In my own words - On June 10, I had a 10-15 minute conversation with a group of people in a hallway outside a hearing room. While tense, it was never loud, no one yelled and no one ever called anyone a name.

I had told the Representative that while I found the display and sale of the confederate flag offensive, I could not amend a bill with her language that we were both informed by the Legislative Service Commission was unconstitutional. She said she would submit it anyway.

This issue is very personal to me because we help raise two children of color in our home on the weekends through kinship/foster care. I felt that my vote to defend the First Amendment would be characterized as defending racism.

I walked away extremely frustrated.

After getting more than 15 feet away, with my back to the group of people, I reached for the committee room doorknob and said a curse word under my breath after remaining calm throughout the entire discussion.

Not to anyone or about anyone. I said what my father used to say when a bolt would break while trying to fix something in the garage while I was growing up. That was unprofessional of me and I apologized for that.

I never directed it anyone nor have I ever directed something like that at anyone.

Everyone standing in that hallway knows that.”

Earlier this month, Koehler sent Brent a handwritten letter, apologizing “for letting his emotions got the best of him.”

Ohio State Rep. Juanita Brent (D-Cleveland) said she received this handwritten letter from State Rep. Kyle Koehler (R-Springfield).
Ohio State Rep. Juanita Brent (D-Cleveland) said she received this handwritten letter from State Rep. Kyle Koehler (R-Springfield). (Source: Special to WOIO)
Ohio State Rep. Juanita Brent (D-Cleveland) said she received this handwritten letter from State Rep. Kyle Koehler (R-Springfield).
Ohio State Rep. Juanita Brent (D-Cleveland) said she received this handwritten letter from State Rep. Kyle Koehler (R-Springfield). (Source: Special to WOIO)

Brent said she doesn’t accept his apology and wants her colleagues to appoint a new chair to the committee.

“We just cannot tolerate people that are gonna be sexist, dismissive, who are gonna be discriminating against people who are just doing their jobs,” she said. “We cannot pick someone who’s gonna be calling people S.O.B.s.”

You can read her statement here.

Brent said she had a meeting scheduled with Speaker of the House Larry Householder to talk about the issue, but the FBI arrested him last week on $61 million dollar bribery scheme charges.

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