In my position as state representative, there are many challenging issues that must be addressed during each two-year General Assembly session. But regardless of the hard work it takes, I consider it a true honor to represent the 50th House District, crafting legislation and serving as a link between you and state government.

I was sworn in to my second term on January 7th and have been busy ever since. Although we are just getting started with a new legislative session, there are a wide variety of issues that members of the Ohio House of Representatives are already working very hard on. First and foremost are ideas for the massive state operating budget that the House will soon receive from the governor.

Hard decisions were made during the last budgeting period, which ultimately led us to balance the state budget, removing a gap of $8 billion without raising taxes on Ohioans. This and many other pieces of legislation from the previous General Assembly were geared toward improving Ohio’s struggling economy and putting us on the right fiscal course. Now, with a state unemployment rate at 6.7 percent—well below the national average—we must continue to build on what we already started.

More can be done to get Ohioans working again, and that’s why economic issues will remain my top priority during this session. In a state that relies heavily on its small businesses and manufacturing industry, it is important that we have business-friendly policies that will create more investment and get more Ohioans working. Ensuring that our workers are properly trained will be a huge part of this.

Ohio businesses count on a tax code that works for them, so we will continue taking a closer look at what we currently have on the books, with the possibility of broad overall tax reform. In the end, reform will depend upon the benefits it provides to our businesses. We must ensure that we do no harm to our growing industries.

With the federal health care plan coming to fruition, the Ohio House will have an important say in what we do with our state’s healthcare exchange and other choices that will come as a result of its implementation. What’s important in this respect is that we do not harm our residents and small businesses with rising healthcare and insurance costs because of federal mandates.

Meanwhile, education will continue to play an important role as our state moves forward. Providing the resources for Ohio students to succeed will not only help them join the workforce and receive their degrees, but they will be citizens that contribute to our society and the future of our state. Young people will always be important.

I’m pleased that I was recently appointed to the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, Economic Development and Regulatory Reform Committee, and Public Utilities Committee.

I’m looking forward to serving you for the 130th General Assembly. As I look in-depth at the issues of the day, I will be sure to keep you informed of what is taking place at the Statehouse.

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