By Marc Kovac
Mahoning Valley lawmakers have snagged top spots on economic development and policy panels in the Ohio House.
State Rep. Bob Hagan, a Democrat from Youngstown, will serve as ranking minority member of the chamber’s Commerce, Labor and Technology Committee. Rep. Ronald Gerberry, a Democrat from Austintown, will serve as ranking member of Policy and Legislative Oversight. And Rep. Tom Letson, a Democrat from Warren, will serve as ranking member of Ways and Means.
The posts and other committee assignments were announced by Republican House Speaker Bill Batchelder Tuesday, a few days after the GOP members held their pre-session retreat to discuss priority issues.
The House will have 17 standing committees and six subcommittees, with much focus during the next few months on the new biennial budget.
In addition to commerce, labor and technology, Hagan will serve on the Transportation, Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee, and the Health and Aging Committee.
The latter is headed by Rep. Lynn Wachtmann, a Republican from Napoleon who is often at polar opposite to Hagan on positions, which has led to heated exchanges between the two in past hearings.
Gerberry also has a seat on the House’s State and Local Government Committee, while Letson’s assignments include judiciary and manufacturing and work force development.
Rep. Sean O’Brien, a Democrat from Brookfield, will serve on the Agriculture and Natural Resources, and Insurance Committees, the latter headed by Millersburg Republican Dave Hall, who’s been mentioned among possible successors to the speaker’s seat after Batchelder’s exit.
Newcomer Nick Barborak, a Democrat from Lisbon who unseated the Republican incumbent in Columbiana County, was named to the Agriculture and Natural Resources; Commerce, Labor and Technology; and Military and Veterans Affairs committees.