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Lebanon council member resigns over abortion proposal, partisan climate

“There is a core group of people who have hijacked the council to force their personal, political and religious views on the entire citizenship of Lebanon.”
Updated: May. 25, 2021 at 5:02 PM EDT
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LEBANON, Ohio (FOX19) - The lone member of Lebanon City Council opposed to an ordinance that would effectively ban abortions in the city announced her resignation on Tuesday.

Council member Krista Wyatt, a former firefighter elected to City Council in 2018, issued a statement (reproduced in full below) to explain her resignation.

In the statement, Wyatt, who has lived in Lebanon her entire life, cites numerous incidents going back sixteen months that she says demonstrate the growing influence on council of a small, hyper-partisan faction of the Republican party.

Krista Wyatt
Krista Wyatt(Provided/The Enquirer)

The city is currently embroiled in a lawsuit Wyatt argues was predictable over legislation allowing concealed carry of weapons in council chambers.

Wyatt also describes revelations of racism before City Council that she says fell on deaf ears last year.

Then, the abortion ordinance, which would make Lebanon a so-called “sanctuary city” for the unborn.

“Multiple Republicans have reached out to me to indicate while they do not support abortion, they do not feel it should be made into local legislation that conflicts with State and Federal laws, Wyatt said. “They do not support the actions of a group who does not represent the entire party.”

Later, she continued: “There is a core group of people who have hijacked the council to force their personal, political and religious views on the entire citizenship of Lebanon. It is not fair to the citizens and is not the role of a City Council member to be a moral compass. The Charter clearly states that we are to be elected as a non-partisan status, but the Council membership has strayed very far from that.”

Wyatt further explained her opposition to FOX19 NOW on Monday.

“I just don’t like to limit people’s options to medical care, and I don’t think we have the business of making legislation that takes rights away from a woman to make a decision,” she said. “Her right to liberty is being taken away by law.”

The sanctuary city ordinance has support from six of City Council’s seven members and is expected to be approved at a meeting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

Lebanon does have a women’s center, but abortions are not performed there.

Lebanon would be the first city in Ohio and 29th in the nation to designate itself a sanctuary city for the unborn.

The ordinance would be immediately enforceable under the Ohio Revised Code.

Anyone found guilty of this misdemeanor could serve up to a year in jail and receive $2,500 in fines, according to City Attorney Mark Yurick.

Wyatt’s statement:

“I, Krista Wyatt, have resigned my seat on Lebanon City Council. [...] I no longer want to be affiliated with the current council membership.

“Lebanon is my hometown and after serving the community with the fire department for thirty years to be able to continue being a public servant. The first two years of my term were wonderful as I feel we had a group of people who worked collectively and had the best interests of th eoverall community. I felt we were truly serving Lebanon.

“But the lats sixteen months have been a different story. Legislation was passed to allow concealed weapons to be brought into our meetings. Despite speculation that we would be sued, the legislation was passed (I did not vote as I was absent due to an accident.) We are now in a lawsuit, over legislation that did not have to happen, and it is costing thousands of taxpayer dollars to defend.

“After a young black man was verbally accosted downtown last year, we had multiple citizens come to the podium and share stories of how they or their family members have been treated in this community. Stories of how they fear for their safety due to the color of their sin, some who moved away from this community due to real or perceived threats. Council member Monroe and I worked together with a core group to establish a Human Relations Commission in which residents would work to build a better community. but the other five members felt it would best be handled by churches and non-profit groups, or would be included in future city plans. They did nothing to help an immediate need that had been laced right in front of our eyes.

“And now we have a sanctuary city ordinance before us. Brought upon a group of people who represent a faction of the Republican party. Multiple Republicans have reached out to me to indicate while they do not support abortion, they do not feel it should be made into local legislation that conflicts with State and Federal laws. They do not support the actions of a group who does not represent the entire party.

“So the question remains of what’s next? There is a core group of people who have hijacked the council to force their personal, political and religious views on the entire citizenship of Lebanon. It is not fair to the citizens and is not the role of a City Council member to be a moral compass. The Charter clearly states that we are to be elected as a non-partisan status, but the Council membership has strayed very far from that.

“I am a fair person who wished to have a Council seat to represent all of Lebanon’s citizens. While they weren’t always happy with the work we did, I was always willing to listen to their concerns and tried my best to see all viewpoints. I am heartbroken to not fulfill my term and I know many people will be disappointed with t his. But as a respectable, decent human being, I can no longer allow my name to be associated with the Lebanon City Council.”

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