COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A GOP-backed bill introduced Monday would change the name of an Ohio state park to honor former President Donald Trump.
The bill primarily sponsored by freshman Rep. Mike Loychik to rename Mosquito State Park to Donald J. Trump State Park is the latest attempt by Ohio Republicans to honor the former president.
“This legislation is meant to honor the commitment and dedication that our 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, bestowed upon the great people of Trumbull County,” Loychick wrote in an initial statement.
He added, “This enthusiasm for our former president was also historic throughout the state of Ohio last November as he pushed for initiatives and policies that was very well-received with my constituency and the state.”
Trump won Trumbull County in 2020 with nearly 55% of the vote. He won the state by more votes than any presidential candidate in Ohio history.
The state park in question is located in Cortland, with more than 7,000 acres, and one of the largest lakes in the state. Loychik had initially announced his plans for the bill in mid-March, resulting in a wave of criticism from Democratic colleagues.
“Ohioans’ are struggling with an addiction crisis, economic disruption, and a pandemic that the other guy said would disappear just like magic,” Democratic Rep. Rich Brown tweeted on March 12. “Instead of addressing these pressing issues, Ohio House Republicans are spending their time flattering the Insurrectionist in Chief.”
The state would need $300,000 allocated to change the signs in the park, according to the bill language.
A message seeking comment was left Tuesday with Loychick.
Also in response to the bill, the state Department of Natural Resources defended the name of the park.
“The name has withstood the test of time. Mosquito Creek Lake was formed by damming Mosquito Creek back in 1944,” the statement read. “Since then, Mosquito Lake State Park has become one of Ohio’s best state parks, best fishing lakes, and has one of Ohio’s most important wildlife refuges.”
The first proposal introduced by Republican legislators in honor of Trump sought to declare his birthday, June 14, as Donald J. Trump Day in Ohio.
While it is not uncommon for states to turn the birthdays of former presidents into paid holidays or days of significance, that designation is usually bestowed after death. More than 40 states, including Ohio, recognize Ronald Reagan Day.
Farnoush Amiri is a corps member for The Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.