Rep. Tracy Maxwell Heard talks about state government, civic engagement and Ohio agriculture with Jack Fisher, OFBF.

Our conversation with Rep. Heard

Buckeye Farm News

Here’s a glimpse at what she had to say.

Getting involved:

“People usually become politically active because something happens that’s relevant to their jobs or to their families. That’s how they start advocating for an issue…The saddest thing is to sit in a committee room and it’s just myself and my colleagues, a few legislative service staff people, maybe a few aides and couple lobbyists. There should never be a time when I know every single person in a committee hearing room, but that happens because we’ve really gotten away from civic engagement. And I think that’s hurt us universally in terms of some of the madness you see in politics right now.”

Public service:

“‘Career politician’ has become a bad word, which I do resent. Because everyone else has the opportunity to hone their skills, build relationships, become better and better at what they do in any other industry except for politics. And for some reason if you want to dedicate your life to public service that has now become a bad thing.”

A foundation for tax policy:

“You don’t want to create a policy that is burdensome for the citizenry. That’s counterproductive, because if people don’t have money to spend, that’s going to impact our economy. It’s a cycle. People have to be spending money, people have to be making products.”

Keys to growing the economy:

“How do we attract businesses and how do we support people who have been displaced in terms of employment. That’s the work force development piece. The education piece comes in in terms of looking forward to what industries are going to look like, what changes are happening, what’s new on the horizon.”

Legislative redistricting:

“It’s about representative government. And when the outcome of the election is a forgone conclusion, because of how the lines are drawn, that’s not representative government.  In redistricting, the way we have historically been doing it — gerrymandering, basically — you’re creating ideal environments for a specific party to win.”

A friend of agriculture:

“Agriculture is still the No. 1 industry in Ohio and is about to take on a whole new role in terms of energy production here. And not just here, but really setting the stage for what the opportunities are nationwide as well. So that’s really what I was interested in getting an education around and what the Farm Bureau did for me. ”

Photo credit: Callie Wells

Lynn Snyder 

Lynn Snyder is senior director of communications for Ohio Farm Bureau.

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