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Annual trip should be high priority

Anyone who doubts the effectiveness of the Chamber of Commerce’s annual Legislative Day trip to Columbus should talk with some of the individuals with whom local leaders meet.

Officials with the Ohio Development Services Agency, the Ohio Department of Transportation and others — as well as elected officials from our county and beyond — are quick to tell you how important and how rare an effort like this is in the state.

Lawrence is one of the only counties to do this.

Although no one will come right out and say it, it is clear that this networking has helped the county receive funding over the years as this visit puts names to faces and helps state leaders understand our region’s needs and challenges. In many cases, these are the same individuals who essentially hold the purse strings for state funding.

Last week’s visit was once again a tremendous success and likely helped pave the way for more positive announcements about the county’s future.

One disappointing aspect is that more city and county leaders do not take advantage of this trip. Every mayor, council person, commissioner and other elected official, as well as more business owners and community leaders, should be a part of this.

That isn’t the case and must change.

One bus was filled. Let’s challenge ourselves to pack two or three next year.

It is easy to sit back and wait for positive changes to happen. It takes real courage and leadership to rise to the challenge and make changes happen.