After months of touting that Ohio’s would be the first Statehouse in the country to have a Holocaust memorial, it won’t. Iowa has already broken ground on a similar memorial, and will dedicate it in October – while construction on Ohio’s memorial hasn’t even started. Joyce Garver Keller is the executive director of Ohio Jewish Communities, which represents Ohio’s eight Jewish federations in Ohio. She says she told Gov. John Kasich that Ohio’s Statehouse would be the first with a Holocaust memorial when he first proposed it in 2011, in the end it really doesn’t matter which state is.
"I don't think the issue of being first is really significant or important in any way," says Garver Kelly. "This is not about being first. This is about creating a memorial to help legislators and visitors to the Statehouse understand the history of the Holocaust.”
A contract to move the Ohio Holocaust Memorial project forward is expected to be signed any day now. The privately-funded project has generated some controversy – former Sen. President Richard Finan resigned his leadership position on the board that manages the Statehouse grounds, saying Kasich’s office was too forceful in pushing this project and the board was losing its independence.