State Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) today announced his election to represent Ohio on the binational, nonpartisan Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Legislative Caucus (GLLC), a group that provides a forum for the regional exchange of ideas and information on key issues that impact the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. At its annual meeting on September 22nd, the GLLC unanimously adopted a resolution introduced by Reps. Smith and John Rogers (D-Mentor-on-the-Lake) introduced in the Ohio Legislature to support federal funding for the United States Army Corps of Engineers in its efforts to stop Asian carp from invading the Great Lakes. The legislation has only received one committee hearing in the Ohio House.
“I am honored to have been chosen to represent Ohio in this group of legislators working on important environmental issues that affect tens of thousands of Ohioans,” said Smith. “Our Great Lakes are incredibly critical to our state’s economic activity and to the health of our communities. The policy work and advocacy done by the Caucus will affect our children and generations to come.”
Representative Smith and GLLC leaders from other states will direct the Caucus’s activities over the next two years. The policy agenda adopted by the Caucus in Erie will focus the organization’s work in 2019-2022 on water consumption, aquatic invasive species, toxic substances, nutrient pollution and coastal communities. Some of the specific objectives include assuring the availability of safe, clean, affordable drinking water; encouraging infrastructure improvements to reduce nutrient runoff, including the installation of green infrastructure; and supporting the sustainable economic development of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence coastal communities, including the restoration and preservation of habitat.
In recent years, the Caucus has advocated for federal funding of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, an improved Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement and an expedited timeline for a federal study recommending how to keep Asian carp from entering the lakes via the Chicago Area Waterway System. GLLC members were also at the forefront of a region-wide push to ban plastic microbeads in personal care products at the state and provincial level.
Smith has been a member of the GLLC since 2015.