The mayor of a small city in Ohio resigned Monday after he suggested that permitting ice fishing could lead to prostitution.
Hudson Mayor Craig Shubert, who has twice made national headlines with unusual remarks since his wife died in early September, said his comments amounted to dry humor weaponized by political opponents.
Shubert questioned the idea of allowing ice fishing, which he noted could come with accompanying shelter, at Tuesday's City Council meeting: "If you then allow ice fishing with shanties, then that leads to another problem — prostitution."
He informed the city of his immediate resignation Monday in a terse letter to City Council clerk Aparna Wheeler, which was copied to council President Christopher W. Foster.
Shubert, 65, also released a statement to the public on his campaign website, including the following passage:
"My comments at Tuesday’s workshop were made out of concern for our community; what could become of unintended consequences of new legislation, based on my prior television news reporting experience. My attempt to inject a bit of dry humor to make a point about this, in the midst of a cold, snowy February, was grossly misunderstood."
He said foes have used the remarks to engage in "personal destruction by means of character assassination, blaming me for the negative international press they helped to promote."
Maxine Doogan, an organizer with Stop the Raids, a coalition that seeks to decriminalize prostitution, said sex workers are often demonized by elected officials.
"To use sex work as a political football is not good judgment," she said, suggesting that perhaps the former mayor could benefit from spending time with a sex worker.
Shubert's site says on a web page that is no longer directly accessible that he is a former journalist who has worked for The Associated Press and appeared on television as a reporter and anchor.
In 2018, he campaigned for an Ohio House seat but lost in the Republican primary that spring.
On Sept. 5, Shubert announced the death of his wife on Facebook with a link to a story published by Ohio's Akron Beacon Journal, which said Sherri Moyer, 60, had cancer.
"Our beautiful First Lady has slipped the surly bonds of Earth," Shubert wrote. "She is now pain free and at peace with our Lord. I am eternally grateful to all who have shown their love and compassion for Sherri, especially these past nine months."
Later that month Shubert made news for saying the local school board should resign because a book assigned to Hudson High School seniors in a college credit course suggests that students write about sexually explicit scenarios.
The book, "642 Things to Write About," published by a San Francisco nonprofit education organization, includes sex-related ideas for class assignments, including "write an X-rated Disney scenario," according to the publication Cleveland.com.
"Your educators are distributing what is essentially child pornography in the classroom," Shubert said at the school board meeting.
In his statement Monday, he noted the impact his wife's death has had on him.
"Since the passing of my wife, First Lady Sherri Moyer, I have given considerable thought to the next stage of my life," Shubert said. "Retirement is on the near horizon. ... I wish to thank the residents of Hudson who have stood alongside Sherri and me the past three years."
Hudson, a city of 22,000 people between Akron and Cleveland that has a higher median household income than that of Beverly Hills, California, said in a statement that the City Council will appoint an interim mayor who will serve at least until November's election.