YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Former Congressman Jim Renacci and Ohio’s Future Foundation (OHFF) were hosted by the Mahoning County Republican Party Tuesday evening. The GOP group held a social for OHFF in their meeting room in Youngstown.
Rick Barron, the Mahoning County Leader, announced that, ‘Tom (Weyand – OHFF’s Outreach Director) asked me to head up OHFF in Mahoning County, and we turned two blue seats red!’ Republicans gained a State Representative and a State Senator in an area which, prior to President Trump, was overwhelmingly Democratic.
Next spoke Executive Director Jeff Anthony. Republicans, he shared, were the party most likely to support their plans of making Ohio prosperous again by changing laws that inhibit business growth. ‘For thirty years politicians have been telling us what they will do. We want to tell them what they need to do,’ he exclaimed.
The program turned to John Fadol, their researcher, who took a ‘deep dive into policy’. He discussed House Bill 6, an energy bill to bailout the nuclear power plants, and House Bill 166, the state biennium budget.
“House Bill 6 began as a placeholder bill, an empty 63 pages,” stated Fadol. “However the bill has now been updated.” It has become a 118 page pricing scheme to subsidize the plants that were scheduled to be decommissioned in 2026.
“The goal of HB 6 is to extend the life of the nuclear plants. It is not about renewable power – just about nuclear power,” Fadol shared. Then the discussion turned to the policy.
The question was whether or not bailing out First Energy was ‘good policy’. Renacci noted that bailouts were not free market, and he is fully supportive of the free market system. However, he also shared that Ohio is failing businesses and diverse energy options are good policy.
The actual impact of HB 6 will be smaller electric bills for the average customer. Although the legislation is designed as a bailout and all customers will see an extra charge to fund it, there are other fee cuts to offset those increases that should result in most electric bills going down.
Mr. Fadol also discussed HB 166, the budget. During this discussion, the former Congressman expressed his surprise that a Republican Governor would introduce a plan to fund the state that was $1 billion over budget at the start. OHFF believes Ohio needs budgetary restraint, not more spending.
Jim Renacci then turned his thoughts to the local economy and President Trump. He quipped, “A New York Times reporter recently claimed Youngstown should blame Trump for the job losses at Lordstown. What does a New York reporter know about Ohio?” Politicians want to claim they saved 300 jobs in Lordstown. Renacci pointed out what they don’t mention are the thousands of jobs lost.
“Ohio gave me the opportunity to live the American dream,” Renacci shared. “Now it’s time to make sure Ohio is welcoming the next generation to live that same dream.”
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Beth Lear is a reporter at the Ohio Star. Follow Beth on Twitter. Email tips to email@example.com.