JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ohio — Term limits marked the end of the road for Ohio State Representative Jack Cera, who served in the House for 23 years.
And now Republican Ron Ferguson officially steps in with big plans for the 96th district, which includes Jefferson, Monroe and part of Belmont counties.
Ferguson was sworn into office in Columbus this week by his mother, Toronto County Court Judge Lisa Ferguson.
He said one of his top priorities is making sure government stays within its bounds.
And that led us right to the response to the pandemic.
“I'm pretty optimistic that people are going to be able to come out on the other side of this a lot better if government doesn't cripple small businesses and cost people their jobs,” Ferguson said.
What are his plans to assist in that?
“No. 1, that's where I'm going to need to hear directly from small business owners, and I encourage people to reach out to me,” he said.
Jefferson County Commissioner Dr. Thomas Graham said he's looking forward to working with Ferguson, and that pandemic relief is on his 'wish list.'
He's also interested in funding for criminal justice issues, law enforcement, and social service areas.
“Any of that kind of money would be very helpful, that would free up general fund money for us to be able to do more things in the county,” Graham said.
Belmont County Commissioner JP Dutton said his area needs support related to where injection wells are operating.
“Feeling that state law needs to be changed so these types of facilities aren't cited in what we believe are tight windows, tight spaces. We believe they need to be a little more remote,” Dutton said.
He also is looking forward to a partnership with Ferguson in pursuing the PTT Global Chemical Ethane Cracker Plant.
A lot of times, we see these big operations open up and then all of a sudden, all of the out-of-town license plates come in. How will Ferguson ensure these jobs are for local folks?
“I'm glad to have out-of-town license plates here in the sense that I want to see our area grow, I want to make sure that we get the people here locally that need jobs, we get that unemployment rate as close to zero percent as we can, but I'm confident that we have more jobs than people here and that's a good thing,” Ferguson said.
As for the opioid epidemic?
“We need to make sure that we are treating addiction differently than we are actual crimes, and so there has to be a recovery step processes, there has to be alternative sentencing,” Ferguson said.
Ferguson said he wants to hear from you. You can call him at 614-466-3735, or email him at: Rep96@ohiohouse.gov