State Representative Tom Patton speaks to College Republicans 

In a speech to students, Republican State Representative Tom Patton attempted to differentiate himself from other Republican politicians by saying he did not vote for the “heartbeat bill” and won the endorsements of every labor union in Ohio.


Simon Skoutas

State Representative Tom Patton (R-Strongsville) speaks with students at a College Republicans event on Oct. 6.

State Representative Tom Patton, a Republican member of the Ohio legislature currently seeking re-election, came to campus to meet with the Baldwin Wallace University College Republicans on Oct. 6 to talk about his family, career, political positions and to answer student questions.    

Patton has visited campus before and spoken to classes held by Professor of Political Science, Tom Sutton, who also attended the event. In introducing Patton, Sutton said Patton is not like other Republicans.   

“Don’t pay attention to all that nasty stuff when it comes to Republicans, because [Patton] is a different type of Republican,” Sutton said, “I’m not going to say good or bad … I’ll let you be the judge.”    

Patton brought up abortion rights shortly after the event began and said he is pro-life. However, Patton said he does not approve of the beleaguered heartbeat bill, which banned abortions either after six weeks or when a heartbeat is detected in the fetus, because the only exception to the ban is when the mother’s life or permanent physical health is in danger. (Hamilton County Judge Christian Jenkins issued a preliminary injunction against the law Oct. 7 as a lawsuit proceeds.)   

“The right to life people aren’t thrilled with me,” Patton said. “I have a lot of exceptions. The heartbeat bill was a bill I didn’t vote for … Rape, incest, the health of the mother [and] the mental health of the mother are all factors I think should be considered.”   

(While Patton has voted in favor of prior versions of the heartbeat bill, including House Bill 258, he did not register a vote on Senate Bill 23, the more restrictive version that was signed by Governor Mike DeWine in 2019.)   

In addition to Patton’s effort to differentiate himself from some other Republicans when it comes to abortion, he also claimed that unions are more favorable to him than they usually are toward Republican politicians.   

“One of the groups that always traditionally supports the Democrats is the labor unions… They always thought the Democrats were looking out for the little guy,” Patton said. “I am proud of this ethic; I support the little guy. I got every single labor union’s support in the state of Ohio.”   

Patton also talked about working on a “firefighter presumptive cancer” law. Patton said firefighters get cancer at a far higher rate than the general population. This bill ensures that firefighters experiencing cancer have their treatments paid for.    

“Now they’re not worried about sick time,” Patton said. “They’re paid for, all the bills are paid for, and don’t we owe them that? These brave men and women are running into burning buildings when we’re running out.”   

For recent graduates, Patton mentioned a possible proposal to create a tax break aimed at  encouraging recent graduates to stay in Ohio.    

“We want to create an environment that … all you guys want to stay here in Ohio,” Patton said. “One of the things we’re thinking about doing is come up with, three years after you graduate, three years [of] no state income tax.”    

Following the meeting Carleigh Ludwig, a senior public health major and president of BW College Republicans, commented on the meeting. Ludwig said she was glad Patton talked about making assumptions on someone’s beliefs based off their political party.   

“You’d assume he is so pro-life,” Ludwig said, “but he understands that there’s reasons and makes exceptions.”