Column by Rick Perales – Ohio Representative District 73
Since being sworn in as state representative on January 7th, I have been getting acclimated to the Columbus area, getting to know other members of the Ohio House of Representatives, and meeting with constituents. I’m excited to be taking on this new role, and I’m very grateful to be serving you at the Statehouse.

There are many issues that I would like to see the Ohio House address during the 130th General Assembly. Some are considered on a regular basis, such as budgeting and taxes. Others arise periodically. For instance, the topic of guns has come to the forefront after some of the recent shootings across the nation. I’m confident that we can have smart policy while ensuring Ohio citizens the protection of their 2nd Amendment rights.

Of course, one of the most prevalent issues we continue to face is a struggling economy. Regardless of the fact our state unemployment rate has fallen to 6.7 percent, which is well below the national average, we still have far too many people out of work. We must do more.

Our particular region of the state benefits heavily from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. It’s very important that we maximize the opportunities that come along with this, so I plan to work with Department of Defense and federal officials, as well as local authorities to ensure that Wright-Patt not only strengthens our nation’s military, but that our citizens will be more prosperous as result.

If Ohio is to make economic improvement, it is important that we find new ways of strengthening important sectors of our economy, including small businesses and the manufacturing industry. I want to make sure that our state’s job creators are not being hindered by needless regulations and healthcare mandates, as well as a tax code that doesn’t work for them.

During this two-year legislative session, my hope is that we can make important reforms to Ohio’s tax code. There will need to be a lot of discussion on what this consists of, but the final measure must be that we are not impeding the growth of our small businesses—we want them to grow and create jobs.

With the federal healthcare law going into effect, I recognize the uncertainty this places on businesses and employees, alike. As Ohio implements its healthcare exchange and makes other important decisions regarding care and insurance, it’s my hope we can do so in such a way that won’t raise costs and burden our economic comeback.

One of my final focal points for this General Assembly is to make sure that students in Ohio are getting the education they deserve. This means using the resources we have and making the smart decisions that will allow these students, at every age, to be successful. In the long run, this will help them earn their degrees, join the workforce, and be contributing members of society.

As we make progress at the Statehouse, I will do my best to keep the constituents of the 73rd House District informed on what is happening. Your viewpoints and ideas will help me to be a better state representative, so please feel free to reach out to me with your questions, comments, or concerns regarding the issues being considered in Columbus. Thank your for the opportunity to serve.