A little over a month ago, I was standing at the podium presiding over Senate session as president of that body. Now, I am sitting in my predecessor’s seat in the Ohio House of Representatives as a freshman member. While my role has changed, my appreciation for being elected by you has not. I may no longer be Senate President, but as a legislator, I still have one of the best jobs in the world.
My inspiration to join the legislature has always been my care for the next generation. Since my children were born, that inspiration has only grown. I am determined to make Ohio the best place to live, work, and raise a family. This inspiration remains as I formulate my priorities to best represent the 84th House District. Jobs and the economy, education, government transparency, and strengthening communities will remain the focus of my legislative priorities.
As I finished my term in the Senate, I reflected on some of the legislation we have passed to make Ohio a better place to live, work, and raise a family. We eliminated the small business tax and cut taxes for all Ohioans by a total of over $5 billion, all while decreasing regulation on Ohioans. We challenged universities to get creative and find ways to cut costs for students by at least 5 percent with the Ohio Senate 5 percent Challenge. This simple challenge resulted in a roughly 11.7 percent reduction in the cost of a degree at Ohio’s public colleges and universities. We also passed legislation concerning infant mortality and the opioid epidemic in an attempt to keep our communities safe and protect our children. As an advocate for open government, I sponsored Senate Bill 321, which allows for public records to be more accessible and affordable to increase government transparency.
Jobs, education, public safety, and government efficiency, transparency, and accountability are all topics that I have a particular interest in and that I will continue to work on as I serve as the representative of the 84th House District.
Now in the 132nd General Assembly, I will continue to push to ensure that we have smaller, more accountable, more effective government that serves Ohioans. The opioid epidemic and our high rates of infant mortality will not be fixed by legislation alone. We must find ways to continue to engage with high risk communities and continue to empower local churches and non-governmental organizations to take on these problems in their neighborhoods. The cost of higher education is still too high and we need to find innovative ways to save money for our college students, while continuing to encourage workforce training development. Also, we should work to deregulate education to further empower parents, teachers, and local schools with the flexibility to best serve Ohio’s students. Parents and localities are better suited to design education for their children and their community than those in distant Columbus or Washington D.C. When we promote education that is truly local, we will have students who are better prepared to meet the needs of their communities. When we encourage workforce training, we are providing our businesses with trained and qualified employees which will have long-term benefits for our economy and our state.
I am going to be reintroducing my sunset review bill that reviews the efficiency of state, agencies, boards, and commissions. This bill passed both chambers last General Assembly, but was vetoed by the Governor, who thought it was duplicative of the budget process. I disagree, as my experience on the Finance Committee has taught me that the process does not allow time for a thorough review analysis of the effectiveness of each agency. Moreover, the legislative and constitutional responsibility to oversee state government operations does not end with the budget, once every two years. I look forward to working with the new Senate President and the Speaker as we discuss this bill to increase government transparency and efficiency.
Involvement on committees is pivotal to making a change in the state, and I am excited to be serving on the Agriculture & Rural Development, Finance, Government Accountability and Oversight, and Public Utilities committees. I also look forward to chairing the new finance sub-committee on State Government and Agency Review.
I am extremely grateful to work for you, but need your help. In order to best serve you, I need to hear from you. Please don’t hesitate to contact my office at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (614) 466-6344 to let me know your thoughts on how we, together, can make Ohio the best place to live, work, and raise a family.
The writer represents the 84th District in the Ohio House of Representatives.