As speaker of Ohio’s House of Representatives, Bill Batchelder has made it his specialty to ram through popular issues like the recently overturned Senate Bill 5 and everything that makes women hate Republicans.
Yes, the 30-year servant is a busy man around Columbus. But what of his down time in his hometown of Medina?
One would think that upon returning for the weekend, he might catch up on a few projects in need of attention, such as picking up the garbage cans strewn about his lawn, fixing broken railings and downspouts, or perhaps picking up a bit of the accumulating trash.
But one would be wrong.
Batchelder’s 125-year-old Victorian abode, fashioned in early Addams Family style, looks more like a ramshackle Halloween display these days, complete with piles of leaves and grass clippings dumped in the cluster of trees near the sidewalk.
Do-it-yourselfers would marvel at Mr. Speaker’s frugal craftsmanship in transforming a former campaign sign into a handsome plug for a hole in the wooden trellis on his porch. And few would question his handyman skills, based on the expertly duct-taped shoes he has been known to sport around town.
Such are the tribulations of a public servant scraping by on no more than a $94,000 salary, a $100,000-plus public-employee pension, and the meager earnings of his wife, a federal judge.
“It’s nice, isn’t it?,” says one nearby resident, who asked not to be named for fear that congressional garbage cans might start appearing all over neighboring lawns. “I guess you don’t have to clean up when you’re a big-shot politician.”
But it turns out the good speaker isn’t killing much idle time around the house lately. Batchelder spokesman Mike Dittoe notes that water damage sustained from a broken pipe in June has rendered the house unlivable. The Batchelders, he says, have been holed up in a hotel in Medina for the last six months, but plan to return home later this week. All of which does little to explain residents’ claims that the Batchelder manse has been a showcase of domestic rot for years now.
Meanwhile, a police report was filed when our dutiful photographer showed up to capture the home’s grandeur, and U.S. Marshals have since been placed on high alert. When you stop by the house, fellas, maybe bring a few extra trash bags with you.