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State Rep. O’Brien earns promotion to Ohio Senate

Thursday, October 20, 2016

If you believe that hard work deserves to be rewarded, then area state Rep. Sean O’Brien is worthy of promotion to the Ohio Senate.

O’Brien, a Democrat from Bazetta, currently represents the 63rd Ohio House District, which encompasses the southern half of Trumbull County. He is seeking election Nov. 8 to the 32nd Ohio Senate District seat being vacated by Democrat Capri Cafaro.

The district, which is made up of Trumbull and Ashtabula counties and a portion of Geauga County, has been well represented by Cafaro. The Liberty Township resident has received high praise from Democrats and Republicans alike in Columbus for her dedication to constituency service and for her interest in the minutiae of legislation – a rare trait.

O’Brien’s six-year tenure in the House shows a similar work ethic that has stood him in good stead, considering that he is a member of the minority.

The reality is that Democratic legislators must find Republicans who are willing to work with them to push through legislation important to their districts.

One of O’Brien’s most significant accomplishments is the $12.4 million that he, along with state Rep. Mike O’Brien of Warren and others, secured for waterlines in Trumbull County.

It is noteworthy that Craig Butler, director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, reached out to the lawmaker after monitoring of the water in West Farmington found traces of arsenic.

To alleviate the problem and bring water to other communities, a waterline is being built from Newton Falls, through Southington, to West Farmington.

But what makes the project even more worthwhile is that $6.2 million of the $12.4 million is a state grant, while the remaining $6.2 million is a loan at 0 percent interest.

It is the largest such grant in the state.

Sean O’Brien also has worked closely with Mahoning Valley officials to ensure that the mission of the extremely important Youngstown Air Reserve Station keeps expanding. The aim is to make it difficult for the Pentagon to shut down the base that is home to the 910th Airlift Wing, the only fixed-wing aerial spray unit in the Air Force, and Marine and Navy reserve units.

O’Brien is working with other area legislators and local officials to secure state funding to establish an embarkation/debarkation hub at the base, which is located adjacent to the Youngstown- Warren Regional Airport.

An existing building designed as a cargo center will be transformed into the troop hub. The structure is being given to the Air Force Reserve.

Another issue of significance is the recession of a consent decree that had placed many owners of homes with septic system in financial jeopardy.

Thus, private developers who install sewer lines cannot force homeowners to tie into them.

REPUBLICAN CHALLENGER

In the election, O’Brien, a lawyer by profession, is facing Republican Robert Allen of Chardon, a security officer at Kent State University’s Geauga campus.

Allen is a political novice who had been asked by the state Republican Party to run. However, he admits that he isn’t receiving any financial support from the GOP.

On several issues of importance to the 32nd District, such as the cuts in state funding for local governments, the self-described moderate Republican is on the same page as the Democratic candidate.

In his interview with The Vindicator’s Editorial Board, Allen came across as sincere and well-intentioned. But he conceded that it is difficult for a Republican to win an election in the heavily Democratic district.

O’Brien has shown the ability to work with the GOP majority in the General Assembly and has had a working relationship with the administration of Republican Gov. John R. Kasich.

It is worth noting that Sen. Cafaro also has maintained ties with the governor’s office, which has benefited the Mahoning Valley.

The Vindicator believes O’Brien will continue on the path established by Cafaro and, therefore, endorses his election on Nov. 8.