White takes over leadership of state senate

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 9, 2003

Ohio's newly elected Senate President Doug White compared preparing the state's budget to trying to save starfish that are washed up on a beach.

"We cannot solve all of the problems and we cannot save all of the starfish," he said. "But we can start by saving them one at a time."

White, a Republican, was unanimously elected and sworn in Monday in Columbus. He worked in the House of Representatives for about five and a half years and has represented Clermont, Brown, Adams, Clinton, Highland, Fayette and Pike counties in the 14th district in the Senate for the past six and a half years.

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The 14th District was restructured last year and now includes only Adams, Brown, Clermont, Scioto and the western part of Lawrence County.

In addition to representing these counties, White will occupy the president position for the next two years.

He said his immediate focus will be passing a budget that will help carry

the entire state through the most recent economic downturn.

"We have a very serious financial situation in the state government, like all states across the country," he said. "The goal is to get my feet on the ground quickly and lead these 33 people through the budget process."

He said he knows the budget will not be perfect, but hopes it will give people across the state and in the district hope and confidence that things will turn around.

White cited history as a good indication that things will get better as the country and state has experienced a period of recovery after each downturn, he said.

He said he is excited about the challenge of working for all of Ohio, as well as representing Scioto and western Lawrence County that was added to his district.

"My position as president takes me beyond my district as I now have to lead a body responsible for entire state," he said. "Before, I spent 99 percent of my time in the district. Now I will not that much time to spend."

He said he is honored to represent the people of his district, but regrets that he will not be able to get to know everyone as well as would like.

However, he said that his constituents can still count on him to serve them. Born and raised in Adams County as a farmer, White said he loves getting to know his people and still wants to encourage everyone to contact him with their questions and concern.

"I will miss building the personal relationships the most," he said.

"As president, my job is to make sure the legislative process works. Great ideas come from the shop floor and inspiration for those come from our citizens to be molded into policy."

Looking towards the future, he said the Senate will soon begin examining issues including educational funding and accountability, road systems, health care, senior citizens and more.

"I want the people to have faith that the Ohio capital will not burn down and the lights will not go out," he said. "Your senators will be working tirelessly on the hard issues and when things get better, working on the easier issues."