|Education||St. Dominic's Elementary School, Youngstown Boardman Glenwood Middle School and Boardman High School B.S in Communications, Ohio University, Athens J.D., Capital University, Columbus|
|Employer||State of Ohio - State Senator of the 33rd District (December 2008)
Schiavoni, Schiavoni, Bush & Muldowney Co., L.P.A. - Attorney (June 2005)
|Family||I'm engaged to Margaret Potts. Margaret attended Cardinal Mooney High School and Youngstown State University. She currently works at the Cleveland Clinic and at The Surgery Center at Southwoods as a nurse anesthetist.|
|Family in office?||No|
|Time in area||I have lived in the Mahoning Valley for the majority of my life. I was born in Columbus, OH, moved to Lansing, MI, and finally moved to the South Side of Youngstown when I was 4-years-old. My parents and I lived in Youngstown until I was in fourth grade and then we moved to Boardman. I went away for college and law school and have been back in the area ever since. I currently live in Canfield with my fiance.|
|Reasons for running||I'm running for office, because during the past two years I have grown as a young state leader and want to resume my work in the 33rd District come November. I've had the opportunity to travel around my district and truly understand the issues facing my constituents. It is my hope to continue working with the residents in every community that I serve and create legislation that helps them in their everyday lives.|
|Priorities||Job creation and job security are definitely at the top. We've seen some great movement in the Valley and around the state with new job creation and I'm anxious to be part of attracting more jobs to Ohio. In order to produce new employment opportunities I will be keyed in to working with potential developers and people working on projects in the district. I feel that talking to interested parties and helping them through the initial process of development is one of my strengths. Whether it's setting up meetings with the Ohio Department of Development or merely writing support letters for grants, as a legislator you need to make yourself available to the people willing to put time and effort into your district.
I'm also hoping that, if elected, in the next four years I will be able to produce and pass more meaningful legislation. Our state isn't perfect and constituents bring that to my attention every day. I've worked with area judges, clergymen, retired workers, attorneys, law enforcement officials and everyday citizens to draft legislation. Right now, even though we are not in session, I've been working with a family who lost a loved one due to a driver that was texting on the road. Most of the texting ban bills haven't progressed and after the election I plan to look into more effective and practical legislation. I've also had meetings with local law enforcement officials in regards to a recent increase of gold theft. They feel there is possible legislation that could help them identify theft suspects and give victims a better opportunity to have their stolen items returned before being resold.
|Qualifications||Although, I have yet to serve a full term as a State Senator, I come to the table with nearly two years of experience and numerous accomplishments under my belt. During my time in office, I've successfully passed Senate Bill 124, which makes it easier to transfer property upon death. S.B. 124 was one of six Senate bills signed by Governor Strickland in 2009. S.B. 124 is just one example of legislation that I have worked on and introduced during my year in the Senate. Other bills include the following: S.B. 251, which simplifies Ohio Revised Code sections concerning probate laws and S.B. 267, which was amended into House Bill 338 and allows early judicial release for misdemeanor, nonviolent offenders if the judge decides to reduce the sentence. I have also introduced three resolutions: one to urge the Turkish government to recognize the religious freedoms and liberties of the Ecumenical Patriarchate; one to encourage the use of federal economic recovery funds to promote goods and services made or performed by American citizens and companies; and lastly, one urging the Federal Government to treat all retired Delphi employees fairly in terms of their benefits. The resolution for Delphi retirees (S.C.R. 23) was voted out of the Senate earlier this year. My most recent piece of legislation is Senate Concurrent Resolution 31, which urges Ohio's safety responders to receive at least four hours of training to help them better recognize and understand the behaviors of Autism and other developmental disabilities.
I sit on four committees in the Senate including the following: Insurance, Commerce and Labor (Ranking member); Energy and Public Utilities; Judiciary - Civil Justice; and Judiciary - Criminal Justice. Sitting on four committees has allowed me to improve my listening skills and my ability to ask pertinent questions regarding the language and content of bills.
Practicing law for the past five years at Schiavoni, Schiavoni, Bush and Muldowney, L.P.A. in Austintown, OH has helped me tremendously while serving as a State Senator. Legislation can be extremely detailed and lengthy, but my experience with studying case law and the Ohio revised code has enabled me to clearly understand and draft legislation. I have been practicing Workers' Compensation Law for the past five years and the knowledge I've gained as an attorney has given me the opportunity to be appointed to the Bureau of Workers' Compensation Council and the Workers' Compensation Task Force. I'm also a commissioner for the E-Tech Ohio Commission.
|Positions on the issues||Balancing the Budget: The last budget cycle was extremely difficult, but the Ohio Legislature managed to balance the budget without raising taxes. The upcoming budget cycle may prove to be even more challenging and even though the Ohio Budget Planning and Management Commission has been meeting throughout the summer months, its findings may not be relevant after November 2, 2010. Depending on election results, we may have a new governor and different members of the House and Senate, thus leading to new ideas on how to tackle Ohio's deficits. I will fight hard to keep the appropriate funding for our most needed services. No one wants to make cuts, but we have to manage our state's finances to the best of our ability.
Job Creation: No one can deny that jobs are still scarce in the Mahoning Valley; however, we've been quite fortunate with job expansion in the past year. Not every region in the state has success stories to report like V&M Star, GM, Northern States Metals, Exal Corp., Turning Technologies, Simon Roofing, or continued construction jobs at places like Youngstown State University. We are moving in the right direction and I think that supporting tax credits, renewing the Third Frontier program and supporting appropriations for workforce development, co-ops and internships in Ohio are steps the legislature has taken to ensure jobs continue to be created.
Library Levy: I have been a huge proponent of the Youngstown and Mahoning County Libraries since starting my service in 2008. Being a State Senator has opened my eyes even more to the importance of library services in our communities and to local residents. My office in Columbus receives many calls concerning the need for libraries in the 33rd District from people who don't have computers, don't have the internet, to those who just love taking their kids to discover new books. I'm supporting the library levy, because our public libraries educate our youth, service our disadvantage and provide strong community foundations.
Education: Students in the Mahoning Valley are extremely fortunate in the way that they have many choices when it comes to higher education. We have top notch trade schools, career schools, community colleges and a university that is truly growing into one of Ohio's great institutions. We are doing all the right things to offer affordable education to Valley residents and all Ohioans. More than 65,000 Ohioans are enrolled in our public colleges and universities now than in 2006 and Ohio was the only state in the nation to freeze tuition at public colleges and universities for two years. Our greater education issues remain in the public elementary and secondary schools. We need to figure out a way to ensure that all of our public schools are meeting the same standards so that each child has an equal opportunity for a successful future. I feel that those changes are finally being addressed as we are attempting to fix the funding formula and abolishing the Ohio Graduation Test. Concerning Youngstown City Schools, I would hope the Academic Distress Commission's findings will significantly impact the students and their ability to learn. I'm excited to work with new superintendent, Dr. Connie Hathorn, and believe that with a greater emphasis on early childhood education in the city, students will have a better chance at being successful teens and adults.
Land Bank: Legislation allowing counties with a population of 60,000 or more to create a County Land Reutilization Corporation was approved this past spring and proponents of the bill from Mahoning County were very instrumental in the passage of the legislation. I would hope that our officials on the county level will work hard to implement a land bank to further assist the fight against the foreclosure crisis and to help get vacant, abandoned properties back to productive use. Cuyahoga County has had steady success with its land bank and I believe Mahoning County would only benefit from such an entity. Revitalizing our neighborhoods is of utmost importance to curb crime, increase property values, and give citizens a sense of pride in the areas where they live.