Earlier this month, I had the privilege of delivering the commencement address to this year’s graduating class at the Ohio State Highway Patrol. It was the 159th class of troopers to graduate from the academy, and it was a tremendous honor for me to thank them for their dedication to the state of Ohio and to wish them well in their upcoming service.

As a state representative and now as Speaker of the House, I have had the opportunity to interact with the State Highway Patrol, including some ride-alongs and other meetings where I got to see first-hand some of the work that goes into the job. Those experiences have given me a clearer sense of just how important their responsibilities are. Not only do the officers keep our roadways safe and secure, but they also have been instrumental in the effort to seize dangerous drugs and in curtailing our state’s human trafficking problem.

This year’s graduates are becoming part of an institution with nearly a century of history and tradition that has been instrumental in keeping Ohioans safe. They have sworn an oath to serve and protect the 11.5 million men, women and children of our state, a responsibility that I greatly respect and admire.

Our state faces plenty of challenges, and we need strong public servants who are willing to dedicate themselves to keeping our families safe. From meeting with the graduates that day, I am confident that with the men and women entering the academy under the new title of Ohio State Highway Patrol officers, our state will be well equipped to handle anything thrown our way.

Especially as we embark on a holiday weekend when so many of our friends and loved ones will be traveling, the work of our law enforcement officers who devote their time to keeping our roadways safe is even more important. I ask that you join me in extending congratulations, gratitude and prayers to the newest members of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

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