Most conversations about the economy simply turn into a bunch of jumbled numbers. They center on the unemployment rate, the debt and the number of jobs created or lost. While these things are important, they do little to portray what families are going through or how citizens’ lives are being affected. Regardless of what politicians say, the economy is only as good as your last paycheck.

I am approaching the conclusion of my first year serving the 94th House District. During that time, I have had the opportunity to meet with folks throughout the district and have heard what they are going through. These conversations have helped me during my time in Columbus to truly understand what impact certain policies will have on individuals and families, especially in Southeast Ohio.

Much like the saying, “all politics are local,” it could also be said that all economics are local. The only issues that matter to a family are the ones that are brought up at the supper table. The issue I most often hear from people in the district is jobs. The best way to restore and sustain our state’s economy is to get people back to work in jobs that will allow them to support their families.

The government has a role in this process, but I have always believed that the best thing government can do is to usually just get out of the way and not to stifle the innovation of free-thinking citizens who have built our state and country. By the time I joined the legislature, House Republicans had already gotten off to a great start in scaling back government and giving businesses more freedom to create jobs and expand production. This effort has remained steady over the past several months.

Although the nation’s jobs reports recently have been dreary, Ohio in May created 28 percent of all jobs in the United States. From April to May, Ohio ranked second in the country and first in the Midwest in job creation. From day one of this legislative session—starting in January 2011—the mission of the legislature has been restoring the state’s competitive atmosphere for creating jobs.

Obviously, there are many different factors that affect the economy. Like we are seeing right now, a severe lack of rain can have a major negative impact on crops. This is something that often gets overlooked amongst economists, but it is a tough reality for the farmers who depend on crop yields for income, as well as for anyone who buys groceries.

Earlier this year, energy exploration company Halliburton announced that it is building a factory in Zanesville because it believes in Ohio’s potential for oil and natural gas drilling. This project is expected to bring about 300 jobs to the region. Safe energy exploration will provide great opportunities for our state and will do a lot to help the local economy.

For many families, the summer is the busiest time of the year, but I encourage you to contact my office at any time with your ideas and concerns.


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