Technically, he’s probably not officially the Ohio State representative for the 90th District until he was sworn in with the rest of the 2019 Ohio legislature on Monday in Columbus.
But on Friday, former Adams County Commissioner Brian Baldridge, now the representative-elect for the Ohio House district including all of Adams and Scioto counties as well as part of Lawrence County, said he went out of his way to hold an informal swearing-in ceremony in each of the counties he will be representing in the state capital.
Locally, joined by several members of his family, Baldridge took the oath of office in the lobby of the Scioto County Courthouse. Scioto County Court of Common Pleas Judge Mark Kuhn did the honors.
On the night he won election to state office, Baldridge told the Portsmouth Daily Times one key to his success had been getting out and talking to as many people as he could. He claimed he had knocked on over 10,000 doors during the campaign and drove thousands of miles.
“One of the unique things we found was all the good people we met,” Baldridge said during the Scioto County swearing-in. “We were always uplifted and welcome here in Scioto County.”
Baldridge was asked following the ceremony what his first actions would be when he reached Columbus. He said the answer depends somewhat on what committee assignments he receives. Baldridge said he had asked for an agricultural committee as well as a local government finance committee, among potentially others.
Again, on election night, Baldridge said he plans to take his three-part campaign and make it a reality in Columbus. Education, economic development and dealing with the drug crisis are his main priorities. “We will be working hard,” he said.
He expounded a bit on the topic of education, stating what works in Cuyahoga County may not necessarily work in southern Ohio and vice versa. He said the state needs to take a look at local control when it comes to education and face the challenges of funding in education.
A Republican, Baldridge beat out a crowded field in in his party’s primary and eventually defeated Democratic challenger attorney Adrienne Buckler by a margin of 22,570 votes to 14,358. Although, he repeatedly said it was not a cornerstone of his campaign, Baldridge did not shy away from the fact he was the only candidate in the field to have previously held public office.
Baldridge has served not only as an Adams County Commissioner but also a Wayne Township Trustee. He argued there is a distinct advantage in having a representative with some direct political experience.
“There is a very steep learning curve when representatives arrive in Columbus,” Baldridge continued.
During the election, Baldridge said it is the job of the government to create an atmosphere that fosters economic development and then “get out of the way of the private sector.”
“I want to hold up that sign in Columbus that says, ‘Southern Ohio is open for business,’” Baldridge said during the Republican primary, He emphasized municipalities and governments in this area must work together, that officials need to take a regional approach to economic improvement.
On what was his campaign website, Baldridge, 49, said he has been married to wife Lori for 26 years. They make their home in Cherry Fork. They have two grown children.