Staff reports

OHIO ­— Ohio State Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) announced on Tuesday that State Senator Cliff Hite (R-Findlay) resigned on Monday evening, effective immediately.

Hite initially cited personal health reasons for his sudden resignation. Then, in an on-the-record statement dated Oct. 17 and released via Twitter on Wednesday, the former senator amended his reasoning to include inappropriate behavior with a staff member “in a nearby state office.”

“After we met, I sometimes asked her for hugs and talked with her in a way that was not appropriate for a married man, father, and grandfather like myself,” Hite wrote. “I apologize completely. This is no one’s fault but my own. I’m proud of my long career as a teacher, coach, and legislator but I’m not proud how I acted with this person.”

In the tweet, Hite did reference his health, commenting he was hospitalized for several days over the course of the last year and faces two different surgeries in November.

“The combination of my mistake in judgment and my failing health led me to decide to step down..,” Hite said.

Hite represented the 1st District which, in addition to Hardin County, includes Henry, Williams, Hancock, Defiance, Van Wert, Paulding, and Putnam counties and portions of Logan and Auglaize counties.

Formerly the football coach and a teacher at Findlay High School, Hite was first elected to the Ohio House of Representatives in 2006. He was then appointed to the Senate by Governor John Kasich in 2011. Hite won reelection to the Senate in 2012 and 2014 where he chaired the Senate Agricultural Committee and, most recently, worked on reforming wind farm setback rules and establishing a violent offender registry.

Regarding a possible replacement for Hite, Obhof stated, “I will announce an application process for selecting a replacement to the 1st Senate District seat by the end of the week.”