COLUMBUS — Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof issued the following statement on Wednesday afternoon:
It Has Been an Honor to Serve You
For the past decade, I had the honor of serving the people of Ohio’s 22nd District in the State Senate. This included four years as Senate President—the leader of the 33-member chamber.
With term limits, however, my time in the Senate has now come to an end. I would like to take this moment to say “thank you” for giving me the opportunity to work for you.
Many of you voted for me, and many others did not. But whether you voted for me or against me, for ten years I was your voice in Columbus. I took that responsibility very seriously. I worked hard to be a faithful steward to ALL people of the 22nd District, to work with my colleagues across the aisle when possible, and to not let partisan bickering get in the way of the Senate doing its work.
Make no mistake, I followed a conservative agenda. During my tenure as Senate President, the Ohio Senate consistently ranked among the most conservative legislative chambers in the country. We passed laws to protect unborn life, to cut taxes, to expand school choice, and to protect the citizens’ Second Amendment right to self-defense.
But we also worked across the aisle often.
In fact, more than 90% of the legislation that we passed was bipartisan. We came together to reform Ohio’s criminal justice system, to strengthen laws against human trafficking, to provide PTSD coverage for first responders, and to fight the opioid epidemic. The Senate’s Democratic leader and I even negotiated a new bipartisan process for drawing Congressional districts, which was eventually adopted by Ohio’s voters by a 3-to-1 margin.
At a time when our national politics seem more divisive and partisan than ever before, I was proud that the members of the Ohio Senate consistently worked together across party lines.
I worked hard to make the most of my time as Senate President. Our priority bills weren’t just window dressing. They dealt with complex, difficult issues that will be transformative for the State of Ohio. During my tenure as the Senate’s leader, we undertook multi-year efforts to improve Ohio’s economy, strengthen our business climate, protect our environment, and reform our criminal justice system.
These included cutting income taxes by hundreds of millions of dollars, and giving a 100% tax cut to the working poor by eliminating four of Ohio’s nine tax brackets. We passed multiple bills to protect Lake Erie and Ohio’s waterways. We enacted numerous bipartisan reforms to Ohio’s criminal sentencing laws and provided for increased access to drug treatment and rehabilitation.
We passed legislation to promote investment in underserved areas through the use of Opportunity Zones. I personally sponsored Ohio’s “two- for-one rule,” which for a period of four years requires Ohio to repeal two outdated regulations each time a new regulation is adopted.
Of course, my tenure as the Senate’s leader coincided with some of the most challenging times in modern history. The Covid-19 pandemic strained the entire nation, and Ohio was no exception. For policymakers this meant very difficult choices, as we tried to strike the correct balance between preserving public health, protecting the economy, and defending peoples’ freedoms.
While many state legislatures were in recess for 2020, the Ohio Senate was not.
In fact, we redoubled our efforts and held one of the longest legislative sessions in memory, working throughout the pandemic and holding voting sessions into late December. I hope that we struck the right balance. But whether you agree or disagree, please know that my Senate colleagues and I always tried to do what we thought was right.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve our community. I look forward to seeing what the New Year, and a new group of State Senate leaders, have in store for Ohio.
Larry Obhof represented Ohio’s 22nd Senate District (consisting of Medina, Ashland, and Richland Counties, as well as portions of Holmes County) from 2011-2020. He served as Ohio Senate President from 2017-2020.
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