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STEVE STIVERS

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Opinion Pieces

15th District Update

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Washington, May 9, 2016 | comments
District work periods are the time when I have the freedom to travel the 15th Congressional District to hear directly from my constituents on the issues that matter most to them. I believe this time is a good way for me to effectively understand and represent the interests of people I have been elected to serve. Here’s a brief update of what I have been doing lately around the 15th Congressional District.
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District work periods are the time when I have the freedom to travel the 15th Congressional District to hear directly from my constituents on the issues that matter most to them. I believe this time is a good way for me to effectively understand and represent the interests of people I have been elected to serve. Here’s a brief update of what I have been doing lately around the 15th Congressional District.          

Recently, I joined business owners and local officials from Pickaway County at the Berger Health System to talk about what was on their minds. In addition to health care, we covered a wide range of topics from energy costs to taxes to trade, as well as about the impact of burdensome federal regulations and ensuring we have skilled workers to fill available jobs. We have no shortage of strong business leaders and entrepreneurs in our region but there is no doubt that government regulations are getting in the way of their growth and ability to create jobs. Based on this valuable feedback, I left the meeting even more convinced that we need to continue our work in Congress to bring common sense back to our regulatory environment and tax code.

While in Madison County, I hosted a workforce development roundtable with area leaders and employers at the Tolles Career and Technical Center. We discussed the need to align our education system and workforce training programs so that workers, be they just graduating high school, trying to move up in their existing jobs, or switching careers later in life, have the skills employers need to fill existing positions and the jobs of the future.       

In an effort to connect job seekers in the 15th Congressional District with employers, I held my annual job fair in April.  Approximately 85 businesses with nearly 6,000 available jobs participated. Hundreds of job seekers came through the fair and we have started to hear from employers who found their newest employees through this event. I hope to hear of many more successful connections in the weeks ahead.

Agriculture issues took center stage when I joined the Ohio Farm Bureau and farmers and agribusiness leaders from Fairfield and surrounding counties at the Miller Farm in Pleasantville. We covered a lot of ground, but much of our discussion centered on various federal regulations that are causing our food producers to spend more time with forms, files and spreadsheets rather than crops, land and livestock. Agriculture is our state’s number one industry and we need a reasonable regulatory environment to keep it that way.

Though our state is a major contributor to our nation’s food supply there are communities in both urban and rural areas of Ohio where residents have limited access to healthy foods. For example, since September of 2013 when its only grocery store closed, constituents in Vinton County have had to travel 30 minutes to access fresh foods. That’s why I was pleased to join with the Finance Fund and others at the launch of the Healthy Food for Ohio program, which provides capital through grants and loans to increase the number of supermarkets and other healthy food retailers that operate in underserved communities. This program has the potential to make a big difference and I was pleased to be a part of it.

Before their semesters ended, I visited with students at The Ohio State University, Ohio Christian University and Ohio University. At Ohio State, I learned about Scarlet and Gray Financial, an innovative peer financial education and coaching program that helps students plan and meet their financial goals so they get started off on the right footing.  

Finally, I had the opportunity to host office hours in Hocking County, inviting residents to come talk to me about any issue on their minds, or to get help with a federal agency or program.  I am grateful to all who took the time to come out and share their concerns and ideas with me. These one-on-one sessions are extremely valuable and help me to stay in touch with what matters most to you. I plan to do more of them, but in the meantime, if you have concerns, ideas or need help with a federal agency, please call my office in Washington, D.C. at (202) 225-2015, Hilliard at (614) 771-4968, Lancaster at (740) 654-2654, or Wilmington at (937) 283-7049.


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