Former Ohio House speaker William Batchelder, whose cupboard was never bare in the 38 years that he spent in the legislature, is back, filling out his retirement days by taking care of the same business. He just doesn’t want anybody to think that he really is doing what he seems to be doing, complete with his familiar jolly disposition..
As the Beacon Journal’s Doug Livingston reported on Saturday, the Republican conservative, who was term-limited from his old job in December, will be teaching law and politics at the University of Akron and Cleveland State. But that’s only part of the story. He will be better known as the chairman of a lobbying outfit named – can you guess? – the Batchelder Company, whose mission will be to support charter schools. It’s not unfamiliar ground for Batchelder, a long-time supporter of charter education.
The published report said that as chairman, Batchelder says he will only serve as an advisor to two of his two top aides when he was speaker -Troy Judy and Chad Hawley. Both had already been running a charter lobbying operation under a different name and have a solid footing in the field.. Hawley told the paper that he and Judy “worked in the legislature for the past 10 years so we’ve got a pretty good feel for the legislative process and how it operates. So this is sort of our natural progress and how it operates.”
You can bet that they do with Batchelder on board.
The “natural progress” got still more interesting by attracting as its first client the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT), not only the largest online charter school system in Ohio but the recipient of $100 million in state money for the school year. It has 15,000 students and is among the worst in getting academic results with a graduation rate of 38 pct.
But ECOT founder William Lager didn’t leave anything to chance down in Columbus as a major Republican donor, averaging $200,000 year to Republican lawmakers – $1 million since 2010. No coincidence, then, that Judy in 2014 was “senior advisor for the Ohio House Republican Organizational Committee”. Sort of a rite of passge to the flow of political money – $76,000 from Lager. .
It’s amazing how an academic program can lead to the education of so many lawmakers.
In his post-graduate advisory role Batchelder will be sure to mention it.
Let the Good Times roll again!