Speaker of the House John Boehner resigns


Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) answers questions during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 7, 2015, in Washington, D.C.

Alexandra Gray

Speaker of the House John Boehner announced Friday morning his resignation to avoid a government shutdown.  

Boehner, a member of the Republican Party from Ohio’s 8th District, has been under pressure from the conservative side of Congress, which is speculated to have been a major reason why he resigned.  

Republican members of Congress are looking to pass a bill to defund Planned Parenthood. The extremely conservative members want the bill passed, but Boehner did not want to pass the bill because President Barack Obama would not support the bill. 

Boehner realized that if the bill were sent forward to defund the program, there would be a government shutdown.  

Michael Ensley, associate professor in the political science department at Kent State, said the more conservative Republicans were going to try to terminate Boehner’s position by voting him out if he did not put the defunding bill forward. Ensley added he believes Boehner wanted to “avoid that fight.”

“I’m baffled by what the conservative wing of the party thinks they can achieve by running him out of the position,” Ensley said.  

Ensley said he doesn’t believe this is an effective strategy and will damage the reputation of the Republican party as a whole.  

“If they want to achieve their policy goals, they need a Republican president, and this doesn’t achieve that; it ruins the party’s image,” Ensley said.

Sarah Matthews, a junior public relations major who interned in Boehner’s office this past summer, said according to the media, Boehner has been contemplating his resignation for a while.  

Matthews said although Boehner, who she said is a very religious man, said she believes Pope Francis’ visit at the Capitol influenced his decision. 

“For 20 years now, Boehner has been trying to get the pope to make a visit to the Capitol,” Matthews said, “and now it’s one of the biggest accomplishments he achieved before his resignation went into effect.”   

Both Ensley and Matthews said they believe Boehner’s resignation is an act of selflessness. Matthews said she thinks he is doing what’s best for the entire Republican party rather than looking out for himself.  

“This is something that matters to me,” Matthews said. “He’s a very down-to-earth guy and has always been in politics for the right reasons.”

Matthews described her internship in the office as one of the most amazing privileges of her life and said she’s lucky because she learned a lot from her experience.  

“It’s funny because he said he never saw himself rising to such prominence,” Matthews said.  

Alexandra Gray is the student politics reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].