The most effective way to run a government that is truly responsive to the people is to ensure that as much control as possible remains at the local level. Local governments are more representative of the citizens because they better understand the problems and values of their respective areas. This is what Federalism is all about—the delegation of few and defined powers to national government and the reservation of all other powers to the individual states or to the people themselves.

These advantages can be seen within the state level as well. Legislators from all over Ohio meet in Columbus, representing the citizens of their districts, ensuring that voices from all over the state have a fair and equal opportunity to be heard.

Recently, I was selected to co-chair a committee that will provide a stronger voice for Southeast Ohio. Along with Co-chair Rep. Lou Gentile, I will lead the Caucus on Appalachian Affairs, which will meet periodically to discuss the goals and needs of the area. Appalachian Ohio has unique challenges, but also unique strengths with which to address those challenges. We've had to be creative, innovative, self-reliant, and we've had to do a lot without the help of Columbus or the other parts of the state. We are known for our small businesses, that can rapidly adapt to changing economic conditions. As a small business owner myself, I realize how essential that is.

The primary focus of this bipartisan caucus will be to foster quality education, job creation and economic development in the region. I will work with my fellow legislators and constituents to make these goals not only a priority, but a reality.

We understand that prosperity must be built from the bottom up. Education is the foundation of all future success, in individuals and in communities. Assuring that our youth have the tools and resources necessary to receive an exceptional education is the first step toward bringing people, and ultimately jobs, to Southeast Ohio.

From there, it is paramount that we allow local businesses the chance to succeed on their own, without a burdensome government constantly breathing down their necks and enforcing strict, job-killing regulations. Only then can we enjoy sustained economic development. Each of these components builds upon the others. An improvement in one area will lead to improvements elsewhere.

I look forward to working with other legislators throughout the region, but I understand that we do not have all the answers. Therefore, this committee will be committed to actively listening to and working with the citizens of Southeast Ohio.

If you have ideas or suggestions about the Caucus on Appalachian Affairs, or any issue facing our state, please do not hesitate to contact my office.


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