COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — New lawmakers are getting ready to take their seats at the Ohio Statehouse next year.
Going into the new year, the Republicans flipped Democratic seats to add to their supermajority.
Senator-elect Michele Reynolds (R-Franklin County) will bring diversity to the Republican Senate caucus and Representative-elect Josh Williams (R-Montgomery County) will be the first Black Republican in the Ohio House in nearly five decades.
“We all have different experiences,” Williams said. “We each bring our life experiences to the legislature and now we’re able to see things through a different lens.”
“To be a Black or brown person in a conservative party, it doesn’t mean that because you’re diverse there’s no room for you,” Reynolds said.
The soon-to-be lawmakers have different priorities, but both said easing inflation is important. However, they each have a different approach.
“I’d like to see us cut more of the personal income tax so people can afford the groceries and all of the goods they need to keep their families moving forward and to be prosperous,” Reynolds said.
“We need to see how we can improve our workforce development policies to allow Ohioans that are motivated to gain marketable skills,” Williams said. “So, they can go into the workforce and apply for some of these jobs.”
Williams said he thinks leftover federal relief dollars should be allocated to small businesses.
On abortion — he took the position of some of his colleagues and said it is best to see how the court cases play out. He also would like to make some changes to gun legislation, specifically when it is in a vehicle.
“A firearm put together needs to be on a person,” Williams said. “Meaning on a holster, in a waistband, compared to sitting freely in the vehicle.”
Reynolds said gun safety is important, but 2nd Amendment rights should be protected.
She said issues like abortion access are not black and white and it is important to listen to constituents, but said she is “pro-life, pro-women and pro-family.”
On LGBTQ bills, as it pertains to minors, Reynolds said some choices should be made by adults
“I’m not a proponent or in favor of being able to transition at an early age,” Reynolds said. “Or making a life-altering decision when you’re young.”
These next few weeks NBC4’s Statehouse Reporter Natalie Fahmy will continue to bring you priorities and plans from incoming lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.