'Laziest' Ohio legislator found passed out at McDonald's

Dave Ghose
Left: Wes Retherford's official portrait. Right: his mugshot from his recent arrest.

A lawmaker criticized in Columbus Monthly’sRating the Legislators” cover story made unflattering news over the weekend. State Rep. Wes Retherford—rated by Statehouse insiders as the General Assembly’s laziest and least principled member—was discovered passed out in his vehicle with a loaded gun at a McDonald’s drive-through in southwest Ohio on Sunday morning.

While the Butler County Republican is known as easygoing and friendly, those who responded to our survey last year were critical of his work ethic and lack of engagement. “He’s a swell fellow, never met any enemy,” one Statehouse insider told us. “But Wes shows up to committees late, leaves early. While he’s there, he can be charming and witty and funny, but he’s not a heavy lifter.”

And even before this weekend, his drinking habits had come into question. In 2015, Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger ordered Retherford to remove a liquor cabinet from his office in Columbus, an incident that led Retherford’s unsuccessful Republican primary challenger in 2016 to coin the hashtag “StatehouseNotFratHouse” in a Twitter battle with Retherford, 32, a mortician’s assistant from Hamilton.

In connection to the Sunday incident, Retherford was charged with operating a vehicle while under the influence, a first-degree misdemeanor, and improperly handling a firearm in a motor vehicle, a felony.