State senators get committee slots

When it came to getting appointed to Senate committees, the three Mahoning Valley state senators received almost everything they requested.

Committee assignments for the 33 state senators,   21 Republicans and 12 Democrats   were announced Monday. Senate President Bill Harris, a Republican, made the committee selections with recommendations for Democratic appointments from that party’s Senate leadership.

State Sens. John Boccieri, Jason Wilson and Capri Cafaro, all Democrats and new Senate members, wanted to serve on the energy and public utilities committee, which seats only three Democrats.

For Boccieri of New Middletown and Wilson of Columbiana, it was their No. 1 committee choice, and was No. 2 for Cafaro of Liberty. Wilson, D-30th, whose district includes Columbiana County, got the appointment.

“I want to provide leadership and offer new ways to develop energy so this is a great fit,” Wilson said.

The committee is important because of the impact it has on advancing energy technology, such as building alternative fuel plants including those that burn clean coal, Wilson said.

Wilson was also named the ranking Democrat on the agriculture committee. Wilson’s father, Charlie, who left the state Senate on Jan. 1 to be a U.S. House member, had previously served as that committee’s ranking Democrat.

The younger Wilson said being the top Democrat on agriculture fits nicely with his energy assignment. The agriculture committee will oversee the development of ethanol fuel, he said.

Wilson had wanted to serve on the education committee, but instead was given a spot on the highway and transportation committee. Wilson said he is pleased to serve on highway and transportation and is hopeful it can help expand and improvement roads and highways in his district.

Wilson will be joined on the highway and transportation committee by Cafaro, D-32nd. Cafaro, whose district includes Trumbull County, was selected as the committee’s ranking Democrat.

“This gives this area a seat at the table with regard to transportation issues,” she said.

The appointment could help the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport in Vienna, the Ashtabula deep water port, as well as state Route 11 and the Ohio Turnpike, she said.

Cafaro was named as a member to her No. 1 committee choice: health, human services and aging.

“I am excited to have the opportunity to build upon my experience in the field of health and aging issues,” she said. “I will continue my advocacy on behalf of older adults and access to health care.”

Instead of energy, Cafaro’s third committee is state and local government and veterans affairs.

Boccieri, whose district includes Mahoning County, is the ranking Democrat on that committee.

“It’s a key committee that will play an important role with issues regarding urban renewal and the like,” he said.

Boccieri, D-33rd, had also requested seats on the agriculture, and the insurance, commerce and labor committees. Energy was the only committee appointment he unsuccessfully sought.

Excluding Senate Minority Leader Teresa Fedor of Toledo, the other Democrats in the Senate received between three and six committee assignments. There are 14 standing Senate committees.

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