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Offering front-row seat to U.S. Congress

When I announced early last year that I would not be seeking a third term in the United States Senate, I promised all Ohioans that I would be winding up and not down, just like I did as mayor and governor.

And I have kept my word.

I have spent the last year focused on developing proposals that will create jobs, like the passage of a robust new highway bill which would be a real jobs bill at a time when construction unemployment is twice the national average.

A transportation reauthorization bill would put people to work and create lasting infrastructure projects around the country, including funding shovel-ready projects in Ohio like the Brent Spence Bridge, I-75 and the Innerbelt Bridge.

I have brought national attention to an issue I have been pushing since 2006: our astronomical and growing national debt.

My colleagues and President Obama have finally embrace the idea of a bipartisan commission to examine our tax and entitlement systems and present long-term solutions to place the United States on a fiscally sustainable course, and we are moving forward towards putting that commission into place.

And, I have listened to your pleas for help and remained at the forefront of the debate on climate change and strategies for protecting our environment without harming our economy.

My voice in the climate change debate has helped save hundreds of thousands of Ohio jobs and protected Ohio seniors and working families from sky-rocketing natural gas, electricity and gasoline costs.

My 2009 Annual Report will be coming out in the next few weeks, and it will give you an opportunity to read more about my efforts on your behalf, our wins and the legislative highlights of the past year. However, I know most of you don’t want to wait all year to find out what I am up to in Washington, and you can turn to the Internet for real-time information on a daily basis.

In today’s 24-hour news environment, providing my constituents with timely information is a top priority. That is why I am seeking out new and innovative ways to share what I am doing directly with you back home in Ohio.

In addition to my Senate Web site, http://voinovich.senate.gov, I have launched an official congressional YouTube channel. Located at http://www.youtube.com/senvoinovich, my channel showcases recent video from Senate floor speeches, press conferences and television appearances in real time. You no longer need to wait for the local news to hear my thoughts – you can simply visit my YouTube page anytime to see my work on your behalf.

Here are a few of the site’s current highlights:

State of the Union Address: After President Obama’s State of the Union Address, I walked directly from the House chamber to immediately record my thoughts on the president’s speech. In addition to being sent to television stations across the state, the video was posted on my YouTube page.

Fiscal Responsibility: As I mentioned earlier, since 2006 I have introduced legislation aimed at comprehensive reform of our nation’s tax and entitlement systems. After numerous floor speeches, press conferences and television interviews on the topic, the idea is finally getting the attention it deserves.

You can view videos related to our legislation to establish a national task force to examine our nation’s fiscal course on my YouTube page. Highlights include my most recent fiscal speech on Jan. 25, an interview with Fox Business Network, and my renowned “Pac-Man” speech – which was highlighted on Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show as the “Moment of Zen.”

Jobs and Infrastructure: As the ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee’s Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure, I am fighting to strengthen our transportation infrastructure in order to create thousands of well-paying jobs and boost our economy.

On my YouTube page you can watch video from a recent press conference where I called on President Obama and Congress to pass a robust new highway bill this year.

You can also view video from a recent EPW Committee hearing where I spoke directly to my colleagues on this vital jobs issue.

Committee Work: Finally, you can find several videos from committee hearings, including my debates with EPW Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer over her attempt to rush climate legislation through the Senate without a comprehensive analysis, and the significant costs that legislation would impose on the economy.

I know many of these hearings are not televised, so my page gives you a behind-the-scenes look at the legislative process. In addition to the EPW Committee, I sit on the Senate Committee on Appropriations and the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

I hope you will take the time to visit my YouTube channel and stay up-to-date on how the choices we make in Washington will impact your life.

On the channel you can comment and share videos of your own. You can also subscribe to the channel, and have my latest videos placed directly on your YouTube home page.

You have put great trust in me and I am thankful for the privilege to serve Ohio.

As I serve out my final year in the U.S. Senate, I look forward to keeping you updated on what I am doing in Washington, as well as hearing your ideas on how together we can make Ohio, the nation and the world a better place to live.

George Voinovich serves Ohio in the U.S. Senate.