Last week, I attended several swearing in ceremonies for newly elected and reelected public servants. These are always heartwarming and exciting gatherings of families and friends as they look to begin or continue their service to their community. As I climbed the stairs of the Ross County Court House to their courtroom, I reflected to my wife, Lisa, that exactly one year ago, I was getting sworn in as a State Representative. While I remember with pride with my hand on a Bible promising to defend the Constitution like it was just yesterday, I also remember the months of work and effort spent rebuilding Ohio.
What a year 2011 was for me and my colleagues in the Ohio Legislature. Ohio was faced with a historic budget deficit and was losing jobs at a faster rate than other states. Serving on the Ohio House Finance Committee, I and my fellow committee members spent many weeks discussing and debating the budget and ultimately developed and passed a budget that balanced the $8 billion deficit, while preserving an income tax cut and abolishing the Death Tax. This was achieved primarily by finding ways to make government more efficient and accountable to the taxpayers.
Recognizing the challenges facing businesses trying to expand or locate in Ohio, the legislature passed a series of bills that has allowed Ohio to become more competitive in attracting and retaining jobs. The Common Sense Initiative, JobsOhio and performance audits of certain state agencies—along with many other bills—have focused on the twin goals of making sure every tax dollar is wisely and appropriately spent and getting Ohioans back to work. While 2011 was a good start to building a more prosperous Ohio, I and my fellow House members are committed to growing and bringing companies back to Ohio to create more jobs for citizens in the state.
I had the honor and pleasure of having two bills that I introduced passed by both the Ohio House and Senate; these were later signed into law by the Governor John Kasich. House Bill 128 with Representative John Carey allowed Emergency Medical Services to more effectively staff their ambulances so the injured victim can receive medical treatment as quickly as possible. House Bill 225, which I joint sponsored with Representative Al Landis, eliminates outdated mandates on local governments, while giving them the flexibility to more efficiently serve the public. This bill over time will save local governments and taxpayers millions of dollars.
While debating, writing and voting on legislation in the Statehouse is very important, the most rewarding part of my job representing the 85th House District is serving the citizens of Ross, Pickaway and Fayette counties by addressing their concerns. Please do not hesitate to contact my office with your thoughts and concerns.