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State News

Ohio senator who resigned is sorry for inappropriate conduct (UPDATED)

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    Ohio Sen. Cliff Hite speaks at a meeting at Lorain County Community College in 2015. Hite abruptly resigned Tuesday.



COLUMBUS — A state senator who resigned abruptly this week apologized Wednesday for inappropriate conversations and physical contact with a state worker.

Republican Cliff Hite, of Findlay, issued a statement on Twitter after his resignation Monday prompted a barrage of questions.

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.

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