State Sen. Cliff Hite, R-Findlay, abruptly resigned his Ohio Senate seat Monday and apologized on Twitter today for behaving inappropriately toward a woman at the Statehouse.
Hite, 63, has represented Ohio’s 1st Senate District since early 2011, which includes Bokescreek, Rushcreek and Richland townships in Logan County as well as all of Hardin County.
In a Twitter statement this morning, Hite admitted having inappropriate conversations with a female state employee who did not work for him and that he “sometimes asked her for hugs,” the Associated Press reported. He says the inappropriate physical contact went no further.
Hite calls the conduct “not appropriate for a married man, father and grandfather like myself.” He says it was disrespectful to the woman and to his wife.
Hite, 63, said that he had inappropriate conversations with a female state employee who did not work for him but in a nearby state office and that he "sometimes asked her for hugs." He said the inappropriate physical contact went no further.
"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," he said. He added that both the woman and his wife deserved more respect.
Hite's wife, Diane, added her own statement to the post. She said the couple is in counseling, and she called her husband "a good man" who made a mistake.
"He told me all about it, apologized to me, and I forgive him," she said. "We don't have a perfect marriage and, like so many couples, we've had some hard times in our relationship."
Hite said the mistake and his failing health led to his decision to resign. He had served in the Senate since 2011 and been elected to three terms in the Ohio House before that. Diane Hite said she is hopeful both her husband's health and their marriage "will get better."
Senate President Larry Obhof, a Republican, said a process for Hite's replacement will be announced by the end of the week.
Hite has been chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Before being appointed to the Senate, he served in the Ohio House.
He was Findlay High School’s football coach and a teacher before his career in politics.