To the Citizens of Ohio’s 27th Senate District
To the Citizens of Ohio’s 27th Senate District:
As 2018 has drawn to an end and the calendar turns to a new year filled with optimism, hope and opportunity, I am filled with gratitude for the chance you gave to me to serve you in the State Senate for the past eight years. As my time in the Senate closes and I prepare to serve Ohio as our 51st Secretary of State, I can’t help but take pride in what we’ve accomplished together for this district and the entire state.
When you first elected me to the Senate, Ohio faced a seemingly insurmountable budget shortfall and the state’s economy had hemorrhaged nearly 350,000 jobs. Our rainy day fund had a balance of just 89 cents, and Ohio’s high income taxes were impeding our progress. Many had lost faith in Ohio and some were saying our best days were behind us. I refused to accept that.
We got to work from day one, making the tough choices necessary to balance the budget, cut taxes and restore the state’s savings account. Only then could Ohio’s businesses prosper -- and when businesses prosper Ohio families thrive. Our reforms provided the predictability necessary to spur new investment and moved government out of the way of job creators. We invested in education, infrastructure, health and public safety to make sure Ohio provides the quality public services which people rely on each and every day. Today, as I leave the Senate, Ohio is up 568,400 jobs since 2010. That’s not just a statistic that's 568,400 families with more hope & dignity and a belief in a better tomorrow -- right here in the Buckeye State!
I also made it my mission to make sure that Ohio’s elections continue our strong tradition of serving as a model for security, access and efficiency in our great nation. Working across party lines, I joined with both Democratic colleagues and fellow Republicans to pass bills providing electronic poll books and a new generation of secure voting equipment for every county in our state. Working together, we’ve modernized voter registration by creating Ohio’s online registration process making it even more convenient to be a voter in Ohio, all while maintaining the vital integrity of our voting system!
We made history by bringing both parties together amending the Ohio constitution twice to create a more balanced and bipartisan system for drawing both state legislative and U.S. congressional districts. Our efforts received national recognition and I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished to improve elections in Ohio. Rest assured, I will lead the way forward to further this progress in the years to come.
Early last month, I was honored to have the opportunity to address the incoming class of freshmen state legislators. I spoke to them about the challenges, opportunities, joys and frustrations they will face as new members of this great institution of self-government. My message to them was clear, “Republicans, remember that Democrats are not your enemies. Democrats, understand that Republicans are not your enemies. Our enemies are the problems we must solve; apathy, addiction, hunger, racism, poverty. Whatever the big problem is to be solved, that is our enemy. We together are a team that must work to address those problems.”
In a larger sense, I believe that this is the work which lies ahead -- to bring civility, comity and respect to our public life. We must make self-government work by restoring the idea that compromise is not a failure, but is the essential tool statesmen and stateswomen have used for more than two centuries to address the challenges facing our great republic. I look forward to continuing this unfinished work when I begin my new role as your Ohio Secretary of State.
During my eight years in the Senate, my family has grown as well. My wife, Lauren, and I are the proud parents of three strong-willed, independent, amazing girls. They may not understand yet, but one day they will know that the days away from home and the hard work that their daddy does is all about making our state better for them and many thousands of young Ohioans like them. Lauren and I were blessed to grow up in northeast Ohio. Following my time in the Army and as a student at Ohio State, we chose to return here to start our family. For over a century, this community has been such a blessing to my family and for that I owe it a great debt of gratitude. I hope that in some small way, my service in the Senate over the past eight years has been a payment on that debt. Just as we were ten years ago when we moved back here, Lauren and I are proud to call Summit County home!
Thank you for your support, friendship and trust over these eight years. As we face the challenges and opportunities which lie ahead, I have no doubt that by working together we will create a brighter future for all Ohioans. Thanks for once again putting your trust in me to serve. Earning the confidence of my follow Ohioans for this next call of duty is a sincere honor and a weighty responsibility. Now, I look forward to working hard for you as your Secretary of State.
Yours in service,