POLITICS

Ohio Politician Uses Zoom Background Of His Office During Meeting, Goes On A Drive

Just because you *can* make your meeting background look like your office while you go on a drive, doesn't mean you should.

Whatever you think of Ohio state Sen. Andrew Brenner (R), you can’t say he lacks drive.

That’s not necessarily a good thing.

On May 3, Brenner attended an Ohio Controlling Board meeting virtually, as did the rest of the participants. Unlike the others, however, Brenner signed on via his phone from the front seat of his car.

While he initially gives the meeting his full, undivided attention, that changes about three and a half minutes in, after Brenner’s camera goes dark. When he returns, Brenner appears to have miraculously teleported home.

Look closer, though, and you’ll see he’s actually wearing a seat belt — and very clearly driving his car while a virtual background does some heavy lifting.

Brenner defended his actions to The Columbus Dispatch, arguing he wasn’t guilty of distracted driving ― because he wasn’t distracted.

“I wasn’t distracted. I was paying attention to the driving and listening to [the meeting],” Brenner said. “I had two meetings that were back to back that were in separate locations. And I’ve actually been on other calls, numerous calls, while driving. Phone calls for the most part but on video calls, I’m not paying attention to the video. To me, it’s like a phone call.”

Brenner is tooting his horn a bit here, though to his credit he does appear to be a (relatively) responsible driver. Sure, we’ve all taken phone calls while driving, but he’s clearly glancing at the phone during the 13-minute conference, at one point un-muting it to participate in a vote.

In a fun bit of irony, Brenner’s on-the-go meeting occurred the same day that two of his colleagues in the House introduced House Bill 283. Its aim? To crack down on distracted driving as a result of cellphone use.