In May of this year, after reading that Rep. Sprague had addressed the Findlay Rotary Club, I contacted the Rotary to see if there would be interest in letting John Kostyo, who was a declared candidate running against Rep. Sprague for a seat in the Ohio House of Representatives, also address their membership.
I received a call from Lynn Child, the program director for the Rotary Club. Ms. Child informed me that it was the policy of the club not to permit political candidates to promote their campaigns and issues. Guest speakers are to provide educational presentations like pending legislation. I replied that Mr. Kostyo was more than able to play by their ground rules. I was then informed that Mr. Kostyo was welcome to address the membership, but the earliest date open for a speaker was in December.
After reading the story in today’s (Sept 25th) Findlay Courier “Latta Unsure if Tax Cuts Will Continue”, I feel the campaign for John Kostyo and the public deserves some clarification of the policies of the Findlay Rotary Club in regard to political speakers. It would seem to me that any talk by any politician, officeholder or candidate is inherently political. I would also call into question the timing of Rep. Latta address given that we are in the heart of the campaign season.
Let me be clear, the Findlay Rotary Club is a private club and it is well within their rights to invite any speaker at their discretion. But if the Findlay Rotary Club wishes to present themselves as a public forum for the benefit of the City of Findlay and if the Findlay Courier is going to cover their meetings as a public forum, then it is my belief that the Findlay Rotary Club needs to provide the public and the press with a clear statement of policy in regard to political guest speakers. It is my perception that the current policy, as expressed and executed, is being manipulated to give a political preference.
See Story in The Findlay Courier: http://www.thecourier.com/Issues/2012/Sep/25/ar_news_092512_story2.asp?d=092512_story2,2012,Sep,25&c=n