The eastern region of Ohio has received a lot of attention over the past several months for its shale, which has the potential to produce oil and natural gas and create thousands of jobs in our state. We will continue working on this development to get Ohioans back to work and help our nation move towards energy independence.

But while focusing on energy exploration and its great economic impact is critical for the future of Ohio, it is also important to pay tribute to other industries that once again see Ohio as a great place to do business. The people of Ohio, and especially those in Muskingum and Licking counties, experienced great news last week with the announcement that the Ohio-based basket company, Longaberger, is bringing back all of its production to the United States, specifically to our region.

Over the next several years, Longaberger will be transitioning its entire operation back to Ohio, which is expected to create at least 500 jobs. This is obviously great news for people looking for work, as well as an indication that our state’s economy is improving.

It was especially encouraging to see what CEO and President Tami Longaberger said about what it means to return to Ohio. “Our company was founded in America’s heartland,” she said. “We stand for American values. We want to create more American jobs. We want to help rebuild our country.”

Based on these statements, it is clear that the Longaberger Company wants to play a big part in revitalizing not only Ohio’s economy, but also the nation’s. I believe there are a lot of businesses who share this feeling, but it is absolutely critical to understand what leads to job creation and business growth.

Regardless of how much companies might want to expand their workforce, it will not do so unless the market conditions are suitable for creating jobs. This includes having competitive tax rates and a fair regulatory climate. It is amazing what the private sector can do when given the opportunity.

Since joining the legislature last July, I have been impressed by my colleagues’ commitment to dialing back the government’s role in the private sector, which in recent years had discouraged private sector growth.

We are experiencing positive results. Ohio has been a national leader in job creation—number one in the Midwest over the past year. Entrepreneurs from all over the country—and even the world—are again looking at Ohio as a place to start or grow their businesses.

I want to congratulate the Longaberger Company for showing their confidence in Ohio, and I have no doubt that this action will inspire more businesses to do the same.


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