The Ohio House Majority Caucus recently unveiled its policy platform for the 132nd General Assembly, aptly known as the “Buckeye Pathway.” The Buckeye Pathway is a member-driven initiative that lays out the major themes and priorities on which the Republican caucus will focus over this legislative term. It serves as a guiding plan as my fellow members and I introduce legislation to benefit all Ohioans.

The three overarching goals outlined in the Buckeye Pathway are to improve Ohio’s economic environment, enhance opportunities for all Ohioans, and strengthen families and communities. These goals are inextricably connected; by improving the economy, more avenues toward success become available, which then helps to foster stronger individuals and families.

A big component to improving our economic atmosphere is to promote tax certainty. By reducing tax burdens on individuals and businesses, we put more money back into the hands of the public, where it can be spent again on local goods and services. There is an inherent value in the stability and predictability of tax policies, giving families and businesses the ability to plan for the future, make responsible investments, and succeed in our state. Furthermore, by touting a desirable and fair tax system, Ohio can become a more attractive place for out-of-state businesses to put down roots.

For greater opportunity, House Republicans are making it a priority to establish a strong educational foundation. We must set up our children for not only success, but to be able to pursue their personal goals—after all, they are the future of our state. Parents should be able to choose the type of school that best suits their children, whether public, private, community, or homeschool, and children should be guaranteed an environment in which they learn essential and basic knowledge and skills. To that end, we are encouraging alternative higher education options and better communication between the workforce and these institutions, ensuring that our children can transition easily into adulthood and the labor force.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the Buckeye Pathway discusses different approaches to making our families and communities stronger. A healthy economy and increased options for a quality education and a fulfilling career will certainly contribute to this goal, but that alone is not enough. Among a wealth of policy improvements, including support for our local governments and reforms to our criminal code, the most pressing issue is the heroin and opioid epidemic that threatens the lifelines connecting all of our families and neighborhoods. Through the HOPES Agenda (Heroin, Opioids, Prevention, Education and Safety) we strive to address this crisis by focusing on prevention and treatment.

This is just a brief snapshot of the Buckeye Pathway, a comprehensive document that summarizes a variety of policy areas and issues on which the majority caucus will focus through the rest of 2017 and 2018. Through this agenda, my colleagues and I strive towards the same objective: championing legislation that will make Ohio a better place to live, work, and raise a family.

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