The Post, 8/24/2011

A large part of my job as House Speaker involves travelling throughout the state to meet with various people and groups. Although this is very time-consuming and means I must work from the car or catch up on my office work outside of regular business hours, it’s truly one of the most enjoyable aspects of my job. The Ohio House is meant to represent the people of our state, and I believe that meeting and hearing from Ohioans is the best guidance that members of the current legislature can receive from the people.

Through the House committee process, we offer the opportunity to hear from Ohioans regularly as the General Assembly carries out its business, but we are also taking special initiative to hear from Ohioans on particular subject areas over the coming weeks. These legislative study committees are an excellent way to connect with our constituents and ensure that their voices are heard.

The meetings have already started and will continue throughout early fall. With members from both the majority and minority caucuses participating, these committees will serve as terrific forums to receive feedback on important issues such as workforce development, tax structure, and technology in state government. The hope is that Ohioans will greatly benefit from improvements in these subject areas, and it is best that our state has a plan to move forward in this effort.

For instance, Ohio has as many as 70,000 open positions available for which our companies are not able to find qualified workers. In order to create and maintain jobs, workforce development is essential to fill these positions. By evaluating how effective and efficient these programs are, our state can work better with our business community in getting Ohioans back to work.

Bringing jobs back and making Ohio more successful will also require an in-depth look at our state’s tax structure. To encourage growth and improve the livelihoods of Ohioans, it’s important that our state can boast the best tax environment for both the business community and individual citizens. This is always a cornerstone of the legislative process, and it’s important that we hear from citizens on this issue.

Furthermore, to be more effective we have to find ways of improving state government. Bureaucracy doesn’t help us move at the speed of business, so the government always seems behind when it comes to the use of technology. By hearing from the public, we can better get ahead of the curve and incorporate technology into our state’s business model. Surely, this will make us all the more productive and responsive to the needs of Ohioans and our business community.

I urge you to attend one of these study committee meetings if they are of interest to you. With input from Ohioans and research in these areas, the legislature will chart a better path forward for the future.


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