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Ohio Board of Education member speaks on participation in ‘Stop the Steal’ event

Jake Zuckerman, WKYC and Susan Tebben, Ohio Capital Journal |

An Ohio Board of Education member said she merely walked, prayed and waved her American flag on the trip she organized to U.S. Capitol the day it was breached by insurrectionists.

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 06: Thousands of Donald Trump supporters storm the United States Capitol building following a “Stop the Steal” rally on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. The protesters stormed the historic building, breaking windows and clashing with police. Trump supporters had gathered in the nation’s capital today to protest the ratification of President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory over President Trump in the 2020 election. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

As previously reported by the OCJ, elected board member Kirsten Hill organized a bus trip for a “Stop the Steal” event as part of the TEA Party of Lorain County, which led to the insurrection that delayed Congress’ electoral college certification of the presidential election.

In an emailed statement, Hill confirmed that she traveled to Washington, D.C., on January 6, but said her participation in the event “consisted of listening to President Trump’s speech, walking to the Capitol, praying at a street corner along the National Mall and waving my American flag in support off our great country.”

Hill said she went as a private citizen “with a group of like-minded people to express our concerns that there was significant voter fraud in the November 3rd presidential election,” a claim that has been presented without evidence and has been denied by election officials in Ohio and nationally with judges striking down lawsuits brought by the Trump team.

Kirsten Hill, second from left, is shown holding an American flag with the Washington Monument in the background on a Jan. 6 trip to Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy of Kirsten Hill.

Hill went on to condemn “any acts of violence or damage that may have been done by any individuals or groups regardless of their motives or deeply held convictions.”

“It is, of course, best to wait for official investigations to be completed before assigning absolute responsibility for any lawlessness,” Hill wrote.

She claimed there was “a small minority of individuals who appear to have broken the law by vandalizing the Capitol Building and personal property.”


I traveled to Washington D.C on January 6th as a private citizen with a group of like-minded people to express our concerns that there was significant voter fraud in the November 3rd presidential election. As you are no doubt aware, the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution affords citizens the right to petition our government for redress of our grievances while exercising our freedom of speech and the right to peaceably assemble.

Unfortunately, there was a small minority of individuals who appear to have broken the law by vandalizing the Capitol Building and personal property. I condemn any acts of violence or damage that may have been done by any individuals or groups regardless of their motives or deeply held convictions. It is, of course, best to wait for official investigations to be completed before assigning absolute responsibility for any lawlessness.

My participation at the event consisted of listening to President Trump’s speech, walking to the Capitol, praying at a street corner along the National Mall, and waving my American flag in support of our great country.

Kirsten Hill via WKYC

In video, photo and news accounts of the insurrection, hundreds of people are shown entering the Capitol, and according to recent media reports, the acting U.S. attorney for the District of Columbus has said at least 170 people have been identified as persons of interest in crimes from trespassing and felony murder, to seditious conspiracy.

In the violence of Jan. 6, five people died, including Capitol Police officer Brian D. Sicknick and four members of the pro-Trump groups who participated in the event. Many other members of law enforcement were injured during the violent mob at the nation’s seat of government.

As a result of her attendance at the events in D.C., the head of the Ohio Education Association asked Hill in a Tuesday press release to provide more information about her “reported involvement in the day’s event” and denounce the participants “in the strongest terms.”

On Wednesday, after reading Hill’s statement, OEA president Scott DiMauro said the teachers union “remains deeply concerned by Kirsten Hill’s apparent inability to comprehend the gravity of her actions.”

“Her participation in the January 6th rally in Washington, D.C., which was aimed at overturning legitimate election results and ended up killing five people, including a police officer, demonstrates her flagrant disregard for the democratic principles on which our country was founded,” DiMauro said in a statement. “Ohio’s students deserve better.”

Separate requests for comment from the state Board of Education’s president, Laura Kohler, and vice president, Charlotte McGuire, went unanswered as of Wednesday afternoon, but a spokesperson for the Ohio Department of Education said Kohler “will not provide comment regarding members of the State Board of Education and their activities that do not pertain to board work.”

“(The ODE and Kohler) will, however, condemn in the strongest possible terms, violence or insurrection against our democracy,” ODE spokesperson Mandy Minick wrote in a statement.

In response to questions about the process to remove a board member, Minick said “neither Ohio Revised Code nor the Ohio Constitution permit or set forth a process by which the State Board of Education can remove an elected member.”

Jake Zuckerman contributed to this report.

This story was originally published by the Ohio Capital Journal and republished here with permission.

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