A full deck of cards: Ohio House signs on to aide’s ambition

Dec 26, 2021, 2:36 PM | Updated: Dec 27, 2021, 5:47 am
Trading cards that Ohio House legislative aide Adam Headlee had signed by all 99 state representati...

Trading cards that Ohio House legislative aide Adam Headlee had signed by all 99 state representatives are photographed at his office in the Riffe Center in Columbus, Ohio, on Friday, Dec. 17, 2021. Headlee said the good humor with which both Republicans and Democrats greeted his project sends “a subtle message of unity” at a politically divided time. (AP Photo/Julie Carr Smyth)

(AP Photo/Julie Carr Smyth)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Adam Headlee enjoys his political memorabilia. Already at age 25, the legislative aide has packed his office in Ohio’s capital with collectible conversation pieces: campaign buttons, historic photographs, a display of founding father bobbleheads.

So when Headlee learned that the state Chamber of Commerce had produced a deck of trading cards featuring the names and faces of every sitting state lawmaker, his collector’s instincts kicked in.

“After I got a couple of members who I knew well to sign their cards, I thought, I wonder how many could I get?” he said. “Could I get 10? Could I get 20? Could I get 30?”

Ultimately, Headlee landed the John Hancocks of all 99 members of the Ohio House. He was pleasantly surprised that lawmakers of both parties played along and seemed to enjoy it.

“Silly as it may sound, there’s a very subtle lesson of unity underlying all this, because everybody thought their trading card was cool,” he said. “Starting off, I thought, statistically speaking, at least one of the 99 is going to tell me to go pound salt and won’t sign their card. But, the closer I got, everybody was a good sport about it.”

Headlee made certain rules for himself as he pursued the signatures. Notably, he wouldn’t interrupt legislators as they conducted official business in committee or on the House floor.

He noticed that he ran into many of the same lawmakers repeatedly at first, because they shared something — party, geography, a policy interest — with his boss, state Rep. Adam Bird, a Republican from the village of New Richmond.

Headlee fairly easily collected his first 60 signatures. He’d catch people in the halls or on the streets around Columbus’ Capitol Square. Many representatives didn’t even know the cards existed.

“There were several members who I don’t think realized they’d had a baseball card made of them,” he said. “I always liked to see the smile on a member’s face when I got to explain where these came from.”

The Ohio Chamber produces the cards once per decade and distributes them at its annual policy conference, spokesperson Courtney Whetstone said.

Attendees this September received a rubber-banded packet of about 20 cards when they arrived, then more cards when they attended additional events, she said.

“They were randomized, and certain packs were held back for the second day, so you had to be there both days to get them all,” she said. “They were really aggressively being traded.”

Headlee pulled a string with a friend to get a complete deck, he said, which also includes cards for Ohio’s 33 state senators, one for Republican Gov. Mike DeWine, and a group of cards showing current members as they looked in 2001.

He took to carrying his cards everywhere, tucked into his jacket pocket along with an official House signing pen. He thought it a nice touch, but the pens sometimes smudged on the shiny cardstock.

Rep. Kent Smith, a suburban Cleveland Democrat, offered a lesson when Headlee tracked him down at a vintage baseball game on Statehouse grounds: Use a Sharpie. Smith had been signing trading cards for fans for years, as a veteran announcer for the Burning River and Chicago Outfit roller derby leagues. Permanent marker, he told Headlee, was the way to go.

One lawmaker, a Democrat, asked to sign in blue. Some dated their cards. One lawmaker, a minister, added a “God Bless You.” Another, hoping to confound historians, scribbled “Drink more Scotch.” Rep. Latyna Humphrey, a newly seated Columbus Democrat, happily signed her district’s blank card, just above the “To Be Determined.”

As Headlee’s stack of unsigned cards dwindled, the aide had to be more deliberate. He asked mutual acquaintances for key introductions, pigeonholed members after committee hearings or called their offices for appointments.

Finally, on the Thursday before lawmakers broke for the holidays, Headlee got his 99th signature. It was from House Democratic Leader Emilia Sykes, whose frenetic schedule during the past two months had included a role in the high-profile, deadline-driven redistricting process.

“She’s obviously very busy,” he said. “I was thinking maybe that’s a bridge too far, I might not get the chance.”

But a member who had already signed their own card briefed Sykes on Headlee’s project and arranged for them to meet.

As she signed with a gracious smile, Headlee said it bolstered his hopes for the future of politics in these fractious days. “That somebody cared enough about my little project to do that, I was very grateful.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

President Joe Biden speaks with members of the press about the Texas synagogue hostage incident bef...
Associated Press

Biden, new Japanese prime minister to meet virtually Friday

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — President Joe Biden will meet virtually with Prime Minister Kishida Fumio of Japan on Friday, as the omicron variant of the coronavirus continues to surge around the world. The White House said Sunday the meeting will take place to highlight the strength of the U.S.-Japan alliance. The two are looking to […]
18 hours ago
FILE - Tuskegee airman Charles McGee poses for a portrait during the "Red Tails" junket in New York...
Associated Press

Celebrated Tuskegee Airman Charles McGee dies at 102

Charles McGee, a Tuskegee Airman who flew 409 fighter combat missions over three wars, has died. He was 102. Vice President Kamala Harris and Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III on Sunday announced his death on Twitter, both of them calling McGee an American hero. “While I am saddened by his loss, I’m also […]
18 hours ago
FILE - In this photo taken during Dec. 27 - Dec. 31, 2021 and provided on Jan. 1, 2022 by the North...
Associated Press

N. Korea fires 2 suspected missiles in 4th launch this year

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea on Monday fired two suspected ballistic missiles into the sea in its fourth weapons launch this month, South Korea’s military said, with the apparent goal of demonstrating its military might amid paused diplomacy with the United States and pandemic border closures. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said […]
18 hours ago
File---File picture taken Jan.24, 2022 shows a police security guard on the roof of a hotel ahead o...
Associated Press

Group: Tax rich to fund vaccines for poor hit by pandemic

LONDON (AP) — Anti-poverty organization Oxfam called Monday for governments to impose a one-time 99% tax on the world’s billionaires and use the money to fund expanded production of vaccines for the poor — part of an effort to combat global inequality widened by the coronavirus pandemic. The ranks of the super-rich have swelled during […]
18 hours ago
Associated Press

North Macedonia: Center-left government OK’d by parliament

SKOPJE, North Macedonia (AP) — North Macedonia’s parliament on Sunday approved a new coalition Cabinet led by the Social Democrats, with two ethnic Albanian parties as junior partners. The Cabinet won the confidence vote 62-46 in the 120-member legislature. It enjoys somewhat broader support than the previous government of Social Democrat leader Zoran Zaev. The […]
18 hours ago
FILE - Defending men's champion Serbia's Novak Djokovic practices on Rod Laver Arena ahead of the A...
Associated Press

Djokovic leaves Australia but debate goes on in vaccine saga

Australia made its decision, but opinion remains divided worldwide on Novak Djokovic and whether he should have been allowed to compete in the Australian Open despite not being vaccinated against COVID-19. At a tennis center in Phoenix on Sunday, employee Stan Taylor said the lobby was abuzz with just one question as players arrived: “What […]
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
...

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
...
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
...

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]
...

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
A full deck of cards: Ohio House signs on to aide’s ambition