Ohio senator speaks at Chamber of Commerce luncheonPublished 12:00am Sunday, February 24, 2013
Ohio Senator Bob Peterson joined with business leaders and Lawrence County politicians during a Chamber of Commerce luncheon Friday at the Ohio University Southern Proctorville Center.
Peterson discussed a variety of topics involving Lawrence County citizens, but focused primarily on state budget debates in Columbus.
“The last budget I dealt with as an elected official at the state level was all-out balancing the budget and solving the budget deficit, and we did that,” Peterson said. “We went from $.87 in our rainy day fund to a proposed budget surplus of $1.9 billion. We have jobs beginning to grow in the state, but we need to continue to improve upon those jobs.”
Peterson said one of the problems in Lawrence County, and all the counties in Ohio, is people being underemployed. He said it is not good for Ohioans to be forced to take jobs below their education and qualifications and it is important to not only create jobs, but quality jobs.
Bill Pratt, Lawrence County Commissioner, said he enjoyed listening to Peterson speak and is cautiously optimistic that the budget ideas being introduced in Columbus will benefit Lawrence County.
“The sales tax portion of the governors’ budget proposal is important to Lawrence County,” Pratt said. “We would end up getting a plus of about $800,000 if it goes through the way Gov. Kasich has proposed.”
While the budget and finances were the primary focus of the luncheon, Peterson also opened the floor up to questions from any who wished to speak.
Krista Blankenship, co-owner of Patriot Emergency Medical Services, brought up her concerns about a merging of medical services in the state that play a role on medical care.
“He seemed very friendly and interested,” Blankenship said. “I think he may not see the effect of things on companies so he takes the time to come out and speak with us. I think he is doing a good job speaking and is trying to improve the State of Ohio and Lawrence County.”
Peterson toured The Point industrial park, The St. Mary’s Medical Center Ironton Campus and other businesses during his visit to Lawrence County.