Earlier this week, 132 legislators were sworn in to the Ohio General Assembly. Of those 132, 30 (23 percent) of them did not serve in the 132nd General Assembly. This number does not include current elected officials who won election to a new chamber or those who were previously appointed. The Ohio House welcomed 27 new faces to their ranks with the partisan make-up of 13 Republicans and 15 Democrats. The Senate on the other hand, is welcoming one new Republican and one new Democrat.
The backgrounds of these 30 new members of the General Assembly is diverse. Their collective experiences will provide value to the legislative body as they deliberate legislation impacting all Ohioans.
Here are a few profiles of new members:
Rep. Beth Liston (D-Dublin) joins the Ohio General Assembly as one of two doctors (Sen. Stephen Huffman being the other). Rep. Liston is a pediatric internist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Her campaign website states that as a doctor and medical professor, she works tirelessly to teach students, community members, physicians, and legislators about the health impacts of policy. She knows we need experts working together at the Statehouse to keep Ohio’s families healthy.
Rep. Jon Cross (R-Kenton) most previously served as a chamber of commerce executive in Hardin County before his election to the Ohio House. He is no stranger to the mission of business community advocacy and the Ohio Chamber of Commerce from his time in that previous role.
Rep. Tracy Richardson (R-Marysville) is a graduate of West Point and deployed in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, earning a Bronze Star. She previously served for nine years on Marysville City Council. Richardson’s additional experience includes years as a corporate human resources professional for a Fortune 500 company and also as a Leadership Professor for ROTC at both Capital University and Ohio Wesleyan University. She is presently assigned in the U.S. Army Reserves as a Military Academy Liaison Officer for the U.S. Military Academy Admissions Department.
Sen. Tina Maharath (D-Whitehall) sent shockwaves through Ohio political circles when she defeated Rep. Anne Gonzales (R-Westerville) in the open seat contest for the Third Senate District. She was able to defeat Anne Gonzales by 706 votes while having upwards of $1 million dollars spent against her. Maharath becomes the first Laotian-American state senator elected in Ohio. She was most recently a financial analyst for JP Morgan and previously held various positions as a political activist in Central Ohio.
Sen. Michael Rulli (R-Salem) may have equally shocked a lot of folks when he picked up former Sen. Joe Schiavoni’s seat in the Mahoning Valley. He was formerly Leetonia School Board President and serves as the director of operations for the 100-year old Rulli Bros. Markets, a popular chain of grocery stores in the Mahoning Valley.
For a list of all the new members of the General Assembly, click here.