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A look at the new state legislature
Buckeye Farm News
Several key Ohio House and Senate committees for agriculture have new chairmen and many have been strong supporters of agriculture.
In the House, the committees that are of particular interest to agriculture are the Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee and the Agriculture & Development Subcommittee of Finance, said Beth Vanderkooi, Ohio Farm Bureau’s director of state policy. The chairman of the Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee is John Domenick and the co-chairman is Allan Sayre. The ranking Republican is Jeff Wagner, a farmer. Stephen Slesnick is the chairman of the Agriculture & Development Subcommittee of Finance.
“The entire House of Representatives had control shift to the Democrats. This gives us an opportunity to work with people we haven’t worked with as much in the past,” Vanderkooi said. “At Farm Bureau because we work with a variety of issues, we work very well with both parties. We work closely with both urban and rural issues.”
On the Senate side, the committees are run by Republicans. Kirk Schuring is the chair of the Agriculture Committee while Bob Gibbs, a former Ohio Farm Bureau president, is the co-chair. Jason Wilson is the minority leader on the committee and is a “phenomenal supporter of Farm Bureau,” Vanderkooi said. The Education Committee is another key committee of interest to agriculture with Gary Cates the chairman and Schuring the vice-chairman. The Finance and Financial Institutions Committee also has strong Farm Bureau supporters with John Carey as chairman and Mark Wagoner as the vice-chairman.
“The great thing about Farm Bureau is that we have a strong relationship throughout the General Assembly. We are in a good position,” Vanderkooi said.