Legislative luncheon focuses on local priorities

| March 16, 2015

COSHOCTON – The seventh annual legislative luncheon, held at the Johnson Humrickhouse Museum on Friday, March 13, featured several elected officials and representatives speaking on behalf of others, including Tim Ross, the Eastern Ohio Regional Liaison office of Ohio Governor John R. Kasich.

The  event is hosted and coordinated by the Coshocton County Port Authority, with Dorothy Skowrunski, executive director, and Renee Hardesty, administrative assistant, receiving a round of applause for their efforts to bring together many of the elected officials that represent Coshocton County.

A set of legislative priorities from the Port Authority, Coshocton County Commissioners and the City of Coshocton were highlighted by Skowrunski.

Rep. Gibbs talked about the waters of the U.S. bill, which would impact farmers and homeowners. The bill is from the EPA. Gibbs also talked about the federal budget and that only 30 percent of the budget is considered discretionary funding – meaning that any cuts to the budget would have to come from that 30 percent, which is federal agencies and the Department of Defense.

The Honorable Jay Hottinger, State Senator, House District 31, spoke on the $77 billion biannual state budget. Hottinger said that the workforce in Ohio is the “single largest issue” that is keeping us (Ohio) from taking the next leap. “We need a workforce that can meet the needs now and in the future – and a drug free workforce.” Hottinger talked about Senate Bill 11, which he introduced. It is expected that jobs in science, technology, engineering and math fields will increase twice as fast as other careers and pay 26 percent more.

Rep. Bill Hayes, State Representative, House District 72, said that Ohio needs to do more about educating our youth about drugs, enforcing drug laws and reducing the supply. Hayes had spent time earlier in the day at the OSU Extension office in Coshocton County and said, “The OSU Extension dollars are the best bucks that we spend in Ohio.”

Joy Padgett, representing the Governor’s Office of Appalachia, talked about the grant process and said that “the world is run by the people that show up.” She also said that grants “take a lot of work” and that the new buzzword is “shared services.” This is especially true in the area of water and sewer services.

Jeanne Wilson, the Senior Appalachian Regional Representative for the office of U. S. Senator Sherrod Brown, said, “Senator Brown supports a uniform corporate tax rate – as long as the playing field is level. The Senator is also a big proponent of broadband expansion – keying in on the middle mile to the home. Regarding drug abuse, Wilson said, “We need a multi-faceted approach.”

Jason Knox, the Southeast Ohio District Representative for the Office of U. S. Senator Rob Portman, said, “Senator Portman was a co-sponsor of the DATA Act, which will shed more light on dollars spent by federal agencies – and will watch for abuse and fraud. He also said that, “We need to stop sex trafficking.” Senator Portman is focusing on the Lake Erie region, with attention on preventing algae blooms from getting into the water supply.”

Tim Ross, representing Governor Kasich’s office, said, “Ohio’s economy is moving. Small businesses are a priority for the Governor. We’re creating jobs at a two to one ratio in small business versus manufacturing. And we are focusing on jobs that we are going to need.” Ross talked about the oil and gas severance tax which is a part of the Governor’s budget.

Dan Risko, regional representative for the Office of Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, talked about a new website, www.ohiocheckbook.com, which he suggested everyone visit. “This website will provide transparency for where we spend your money.” There are many groups supporting the new website.

Ed Looman, representing the APEG region for Jobs Ohio, said, “Our biggest success in this region for 2014 is certainly the announced Kraft expansion.”

Dane Shryock, speaking on behalf of the Coshocton County Commissioners, said in closing, “I would like to echo the comments made earlier about the tremendous effort put into this event, to pull all of these officials together at the same time, and recognize Dorothy (Skowrunski) and her assistant, Renee (Hardesty) with a round of applause.”

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I live with my beautiful wife Nancy on a small farm just outside Coshocton. We have been married for thirty two years and have two grown children, Jessica and Jacob. Jessica is married to Aaron Mencer and they are employed with Coshocton City Schools. Jacob is a sophomore at Kent State University. I graduated from River View High School, have a Bachelor’s Degree from North Carolina Wesleyan University and am actively involved with the Roscoe United Methodist Church, serve on several local committees and am a member of the Coshocton Kiwanis Club, having served as Past-President. I love reading, especially military thrillers, the Civil War and history in general. My goal is to write a novel. My wife and I are also AdvoCare distributors and encourage anyone wanting to lose weight, gain energy and better health to explore AdvoCare at our website; www.fortunes4advocare.com. I love the media field, innovative technology and have worked in newspapers for over 30 years – in fact, my first job was delivering newspapers. The Beacon is a dream made possible by the support of this community and a great team. I hope to continue serving Coshocton County for many years.

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