|Brown tells Perrysburg C of C that House job keeps him busy|
|Written by ALEX ASPACHER Sentinel Staff Writer|
|Monday, 26 August 2013 09:07|
PERRYSBURG - Life has been busy since Tim Brown worked his way to the Ohio Statehouse.
The state representative shared experiences from his first eight months in office with those at a Perrysburg Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Wednesday, touching on recent legislative efforts and issues in the state as he sees them.
"One of the most frequently asked questions I get is 'So what is it like?' and I usually respond to that with a question," he said.
"I ask, 'Have you ever tried to drink from a fire hose?' It's a lot, all at once."
Brown (R-Bowling Green) said his and other legislators' initial project this year was Ohio's $62 billion biennium budget, a challenging first task for those without experience holding state office.
"You introduce a lot of new people very quickly to one of the most important processes that our state engages in."
Brown said he's enjoyed learning the ropes so far. His first bill, which requires registration for services through a job-search website prior to applying for unemployment insurance benefits, was signed by Gov. John Kasich on Aug. 8 and takes effect Oct. 11.
Inexperience is becoming a problem in the state legislature due to term limits, Brown said. With four two-year terms the most a member of the Ohio House of Representatives, many must move on by the time they've formed relationships understand how to make things happen, he explained.
"There's not a lot of institutional knowledge in Columbus anymore," Brown said.
"There's not a lot of time to forge relationships among your peers and your own party, let alone on the other side of the aisle."
The paradox is that Brown said he and others can't push for a change without it seeming "self-serving."
"We value experience about every walk of life - experience of people you have working for you and with you. But we devalue experience when it comes to the people who go to Columbus to make our laws."
The result, Brown said, is a shift of power from the legislature to the governor, and more control to lobbyists and legislative staff members, who have more staying power in the capital. He said half of all legislators don't even complete their allowed eight years, with many eventually viewing lobbyists - those who can provide jobs after public service - as more important than constituents.
Brown spoke for about 30 minutes, also touching on education strategies that involve job training in addition to college preparation; the economy and funding cuts to local governments; and preserving the health of Lake Erie.
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