Southern Ohio’s Brian Baldridge has left the 90th District seat to accept a position within the governor’s cabinet as the Ohio director of agriculture.
Baldridge went into his seat January of 2019 and was just reelected this year. Prior to serving as an Ohio Representative, Baldridge served township and county governments.
“I loved the opportunities to serve— from the very local level of township to the next level as a county commissioner, and then, putting it all together, joining a legislative body— I really had time to gain an understanding of the laws I had to work under,” Baldridge said.
Over his time in local government, and serving the 90th, Baldridge worked on a lot of projects and legislation that he says he is proud of.
“Local government is an important job,” Baldridge claimed. “You know, you’re making these big decisions that you may not see results from that day, but you know that, hopefully, you’re putting that level of government in a good position for the future. On the legislative side, I’m proud to have carried some legislation that really made a difference. For one, I was able to make an impact on the adoption side of things for the state, especially for family members adopting.”
One issue he tackled in particular has had a lingering impact on childhood development that hits close to home for the Baldridge family.
“One issue that stands with me, that really hits close to home, is the dyslexia bill I was able to work on. It was passed by the 133 general assembly and signed by Governor DeWine and is law today,” Baldridge explained. “Basically, my daughter has dyslexia and it is something she struggled with early on, until we found out exactly what it was. Finding out what was causing the problem was actually the difficult part, but we now have early testing that will help identify those issues and the many different forms of it.”
As a dedicated public official, Baldridge says not much would have led to him giving up his seat, outside of the current appointment.
“I was entering leadership and willing to do that, but there was some change, and this position did open and create an opportunity to apply. So, we inserted ourselves into the cabinet picking process of the governor’s office,” Baldridge said. “Agriculture is near and dear to my heart. I’ve lived it. We have a seven-generational farm that is here today and I always said that this is the one opportunity that I would insert myself into if it ever arose.”
Baldridge’s farm, in Adams County, is a long-lasting multifaceted farm that has been responsible for production of tobacco, cattle, feed, and more. The Baldridges have also been active in 4-H and other agricultural programming.
“It’s important. It is the largest industry in Ohio,” Baldridge said, “It employs, basically, seven out of ten people, in different facets across the state of Ohio.”
There are a lot of important aspects of the job that Baldridge plans on addressing in the future to ensure the department continues a positive mark for farmers and industries across the state. One in particular is water quality.
“The top priority, obviously, which is a priority of the governor as well, is water quality. There’s been a lot of initiative put into place that has been working well. As director, I will continue that push and keep expanding across the state in different programs. We are so fortunate, in Ohio, to have an abundance of water. If you go to places like Utah, where they struggle with water access, they have problems, because water rights are sold to cities and they have a shortage,” Baldridge explained. “We have to make sure water quality is number one and that is something that is a collaboration between the agriculture community, municipalities, wastewater systems and more. This is a generational citizen initiative that we have to realize is one of our biggest impacts when it comes to quality of life in Ohio and it must be a major priority.”
Baldridge’s seat is currently open, and the state is considering an appointment to fill it. Baldridge is optimistic about the future of the district and is appreciative of the opportunities he has had to serve.
“To serve in the legislature in southern Ohio was truly a pleasure and honor,” Baldridge said. “I am looking forward to this new role as well, but it has been a tremendous opportunity to have been able to serve my people of southern Ohio.”
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