Jay Edwards

Jay Edwards during a House session in 2017. Photo courtesy of The Ohio House of Representatives.

Rep. Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville) can expect his paychecks from the Ohio House of Representatives to shrink by about $12,000 in the upcoming year since he will no longer be part of his party’s leadership team.

He will earn about $67,500 in 2021 — the base rate salary of a rank-and-file member, down from the nearly $78,000 he will make by the end of this year, according to 2018 legislation that amended the pay scales for numerous state officials.

Edwards’ pay could still increase if he were to chair a committee or subcommittee or become a ranking member.

Had he remained in the position for the upcoming General Assembly, he would have been expected to earn more than $79,000.

Edwards, who was elected majority whip in 2019 under disgraced former speaker Rep. Larry Householder (R-Glenford), said in November that he did not run for re-election to the position, one of the most powerful in the chamber, in the upcoming General Assembly, saying he felt the leadership job limited him in his legislative duties — despite it coming with a pay raise and statewide clout in politics.

Elections for House leadership are often just a formality since the speaker effectively selects behind closed doors who they wish to lead the caucus beside them. Floor votes on leadership nearly always end in unanimous approval among both parties.

“This position disqualified me from sponsoring legislation and the majority of my time was spent on member management and helping our members pass their bills,” Edwards said in a statement. “Although I had many of my fellow colleagues approach me about running for a leadership position, I feel being able to sponsor legislation in addressing these and other issues head on for the people of the 94th District is much more important.”

Edwards hasn’t been a primary sponsor of any legislation since February 2019, shortly after he was elected majority whip.

The office of Speaker Rep. Bob Cupp (R-Lima) declined to comment directly on Edwards no longer being part of House leadership.

In August, Cupp requested that Edwards, along with the rest of the former Republican Majority House Leadership team, step down from their positions shortly after he was elected as the new speaker following the removal of Householder in an effort to rid the leadership of holdovers.

Edwards, who’s in the past indicated his ambitions to hold higher leadership positions in the chamber, refused the speaker’s request, saying he saw no reason to step down.

Cupp additionally removed Edwards and the rest of the former leadership team at the time from the authoritative Rules and Reference Committee, which sets the House’s agenda. Householder appointed Edwards to that committee in 2019.

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