COLUMBUS — Allen County is home to two of the most powerful lawmakers in the Ohio General Assembly, following the selection Tuesday by the Ohio Senate Majority Caucus of Sen. Matt Huffman, R-Lima, to serve as the body’s president for the 134th General Assembly.
Huffman joins State Rep. Bob Cupp, a fellow Republican who earlier this year was named Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives, to form a coalition with a strong Lima connection atop the Statehouse leadership ranks.
Does familiarity breed contempt or congeniality? Cupp laughed when that question was posed Tuesday afternoon.
“I’m sure there will be times when we have disagreements, but I’m also sure those disagreements will be resolved amicably. I am very much looking forward to working with Matt,” Cupp said. “He’s a very capable leader and will be a great leader not only for the Senate but for the state of Ohio in general.”
Huffman was elected last week to his second term in the Senate after previously serving four terms in the Ohio House, while Cupp took over the reins of the Ohio House this summer after former Speaker Larry Householder, R-Glenford, was charged in July with racketeering charges in the alleged bribery scheme to pass a $1.3 billion bailout of two Ohio nuclear plants.
Huffman and the other members of the Republican leadership team will assume their new roles Jan. 4.
“I am obviously very happy,” Huffman said Tuesday of his selection as Senate president. “Our caucus is committed to helping our state recover from a turbulent year and to pursuing pathways to growth and success for all of Ohio’s families and communities.”
Cognizant of the role of the House in state government, Huffman said he intends to “try and do a general retro-fit in government with some major legislative changes that will be introduced in the Senate after the first of the year.” Those changes will come, he said, only by working with Cupp and House leaders.
“Bob and I have been in the Allen County Bar Association for the last 35 years, and he’s great to work with,” Huffman said.
School finance reform is among the “half dozen” priorities for the upcoming session, the GOP senator said.
Other GOP leadership members for the upcoming General Assembly session include Sen. Jay Hottinger, of Newark, as President Pro Tempore; Sen. Kirk Schuring, of Canton, as Majority Floor Leader; and Sen. Rob McColley, of Napoleon, as Majority Whip.
“I’m confident that president-elect Huffman will continue the Senate’s legacy of fiscally responsible, pro-growth policies that provide hope and opportunity for all Ohioans,” current Senate President Larry Obhof, R-Medina, said in a press release. “The challenges ahead are significant, but Matt and the other members of the majority caucus are proven leaders who will bring people together and achieve results.”
Huffman represents the 12th Senate District, which includes Allen, Champaign, Mercer and Shelby counties as well as parts of Auglaize, Darke and Logan counties. A lifelong resident of Lima, he has practiced law for more than 35 years in his family’s private law practice.
McColley represents the 1st Senate District, which includes Defiance, Hancock, Hardin, Henry, Paulding, Putnam, Van Wert and Williams counties and parts of Auglaize, Fulton and Logan counties. As Majority Whip, he will be responsible for monitoring legislation and securing votes for legislation on the Senate floor.
“I am honored to be elected by my colleagues to serve as the Majority Whip,” McColley said in a press release. “I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Ohio Senate to continue to advance a conservative agenda for the state of Ohio.”