Since returning to the legislature, I am often asked how it has changed. While several things have changed, what hasn't are the number of issues that legislators must deal with and the complexity of those issues. With term limits, legislators must learn quickly about the issues facing the state and also must learn how to deal with the varied special interests, lobbyists, bureaucrats and fellow legislators. As a young legislator, State Senator Lou Gentile has quickly become a very effective state legislator who has gained the respect of members on both sides of the aisle and those who work in state government. I have also come to learn how passionate Senator Gentile is about representing his district and fighting for our people.
I have worked closely with Senator Gentile on issues that directly impact the lives of the people of Eastern and Southeastern Ohio. We have both been working to do whatever we can to help the workers who have lost their jobs at RG Steel by making sure that benefits are available to them and that state government is doing all that it can to try to help the mills to stay open. Senator Gentile and I have worked closely with the Ohio EPA Director to make sure the state does everything possible to help the Yorkville plant and encourage JobsOhio to work with others interested in operating other properties formerly owned by RG Steel. Senator Gentile and I have also been involved in the effort to help Ormet and save the 1,000 jobs at that plant. We recently took part in meetings with Ormet, JobsOhio, the PUCO and AEP. These meetings have helped to bring all the parties back to the table to work on saving the 1,000 jobs at Ormet.
In addition, Senator Gentile and I have worked to help with the development of our natural resources and bring jobs to our area. We have worked to make sure our area and workers benefit from the Shale gas boom. Senator Gentile's amendment to the energy bill that requires the state to track the number of Ohioans who are hired by the gas industry is an important tool to encourage the hiring of our local workers. Senator Gentile is a leader in the effort to protect coal mining jobs and the health and safety of our miners. Senator Gentile has worked tirelessly with local and state development officials to bring new businesses to our part of the state.
Senator Gentile has become a knowledgeable, effective and well respected legislator who works hard to serve our area. I have worked with many government officials at the state and federal level over the years and I count Senator Gentile as one of the best and brightest. The people of the 30th Senate District deserve a hard working, dedicated Senator like Lou Gentile, not a "Replacement" candidate who is beholden to big money politicians in Columbus.