Smallest amount of faith is enough to move mountains

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 14, 2005

If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can move mountains.

I learned this old adage in Sunday school and can't help but recall it as I begin the new year and the second session of my 4-year term as your state senator.

With the opening of the 126th General Assembly last week, a lot has been discussed about what the next two years hold and what the legislature will be able to accomplish.

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Between working to improve Ohio's schools and the way the state funds them, to passing a balanced budget, to reforming an outdated tax code - the legislature has its hands full.

I see many opportunities for Ohio to move forward but it will undoubtedly take a lot of hard work and determination.

However, I believe that with the talents of all members of the General Assembly who bring forward the ideas of those they represent, we can accomplish a lot for the state of Ohio.

One of the biggest tasks ahead for this year is the upcoming budget cycle.

We will have to balance a budget with limited resources, while also prioritizing the programs for state funds. Senate President Bill Harris (R-Ashland) has given me the honor of chairing the Senate Finance and Financial Institutions Committee.

To my knowledge, I am the first legislator to have served as finance chairman in both the House and Senate.

In fact, three members of the Senate Finance Committee this year were on the House Finance Committee that I chaired four years ago.

I anticipate my chairmanship will be slightly different in the Senate than it was in the House.

One of the biggest differences is the size of the committee.

The Senate committee will have 13 members, but when I chaired the House there were 32.

Of those 32, 18 had never served on finance committee before and a large number were newly elected, or "freshmen" legislators who had never experience a budget cycle.

Even though there are three new senators serving on the committee this year, they had all previously served in the House of Representatives and are familiar with the budget cycle process.

This experience will be invaluable as we work to balance the budget, which will by no means be an easy task.

However, I am confident in the abilities of my fellow committee members and I know we are anxious to get started.

For the first time, I will have the opportunity to serve as a member of the Senate Education Committee, which will be chaired by Sen. Joy Padgett (R-Coshocton).

Like the 17th Senate District, Sen. Padgett's district covers large portions of Appalachia, so she understands the dynamic Appalachian schools hold.

Sen. Padgett and I will work to make our schools work in the best way possible for the students.

For the next two years, I will also serve on the Environment and Natural Resources and the Agriculture Committees.

Sen. Tom Niehaus (R-New Richmond), who will chair the Environment Committee, represents the other half of Lawrence County and the southwestern part of the state along the Ohio River.

Sen. Larry Mumper (R-Marion) will chair the Agriculture Committee, and he is from a large agricultural district in North Central Ohio.

Looking ahead, I think both of these committees will spend the next two years building and expanding on the work accomplished in the last General Assembly.

As I work through the final two years of my first term, I am anxious to achieve a lot as I fulfill my duties.

One of the most beneficial ways to do so is by hearing from you.

I welcome your views on state issues, and if you have any questions, thoughts or concerns, or if you need assistance working with a state government agency, please write to me at Senator John A. Carey, Ohio Senate, Statehouse, Columbus, Ohio 43215, or call my office at (614) 466-8156.

Senator John Carey represents the eastern part of Lawrence County in the Ohio Senate.