With many people who are unemployed through no fault of their own, finding ways to spur job growth in Ohio and in our region continues to be my focus. A constituent recently called my office and inquired about what I am doing to increase job opportunities for my district. This is a highly pertinent question, and I decided to devote this column to answering it.
Our area’s economy has always been based on the use of local natural resources including the Ohio River, timber, coal, agriculture and natural gas. In the last few months, I have held two summits with legislators to promote Ohio coal and the Ohio River. This has generated inquiries, opening up possible markets that will lead to more jobs in the future. In turn, these developments encourage the state to implement policies supporting job creation in these potential growth sectors.
Along the same lines, I have supported legislation that will help Ohio utilize its natural gas and oil reserves, which is projected to bring thousands of employment opportunities and major investment to our borders. Furthermore, I act as a liaison between the timber industry and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to promote responsible stewardship of the timber in our area, while at the same time creating jobs. I also work with the Ohio Farm Bureau and the Ohio State University to promote the growth of agricultural jobs in our region. This is a very important endeavor that presents a lot opportunity for Southern Ohio.
In other areas, I work with individual businesses, from an Amish bakery to a large manufacturing facility, to help maintain and grow businesses. Additionally, I co-sponsored legislation which addresses the need for environmental regulation reform in Ohio. One business that I know of recently laid people off because of environmental requirements that are costly and have minimal impact on the environment. The Lt. Governor is leading the effort for responsible regulations without needless compliance costs.
There have even been job creation developments this very week. The Common Sense Initiative Office has announced help for small businesses by lowering Bureau of Workers’ Compensation rates, which ultimately means more jobs. Later in the week, I am meeting with Fluor-Daniel to market our region through their economic development plan. I support the loan guarantee of the uranium enrichment plant in Piketon, which could lead to thousands of jobs, as well as development of nuclear power on the site.
Finally, I have personally contacted businesses and asked them to look at our area. Each county now has an industrial park, leading to marketing opportunities and the chance to construct buildings in the future. This has already led to many jobs being created. Through all of these initiatives, there is always more to do. Hopefully, JobsOhio will only build and expand on these opportunities.
Just like the constituent who contacted my office, I also get frustrated with the troubled economy, but I will keep my focus on getting our citizens back to work and giving my area and the State of Ohio the best chance to be prosperous.