State Senator Visits OU Student Senate
Balderson, currently in his first term representing the 20th district, serves one of the largest districts in Ohio, covering Athens, Coshocton, Guernsey, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble and Washington counties. A Zanesville native, Balderson attended Muskingum College and served as a State Representative from 2009-2011.
The change from representative to Senator was quite a shock, Balderson said. “I went from having two counties to nine counties.” And although he wishes to serve his district as best he can, it can be a challenge. “I can’t be everywhere … [we’re] so spread out.”
However, despite the stretch, Balderson does pride himself on his communication with his constituents. “It’s … important for me to be visible and approachable … that’s what I pride myself on.”
Balderson currently serves on the committees of Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources; Health, Human Services and Aging; Highways and Transportation and as the Vice Chair of Energy and Public Utilities. But in addition to these committees, Balderson is currently working on legislation centering on his own hometown.
The legislation focuses on making exotic animals illegal to own as pets. Since the Oct. 2011 Zanesville incident in which exotic animal owner Terry Thompson killed himself and set his animals free, this legislation has been moving to take exotic animals from owners not meeting certain health and safety standards.
“There is a strong, strong passion for these animals,” said Balderson.
As this legislation moves along, Balderson continues to believe in the change his office can create. “We need to change the way we do things, we really do,” he said. And to enact this change, he insists that constituents contact his office directly.
“Call us, talk to me, turn the freaking Fox and CNN off,” he said. “I wake up every morning and say thank you God. I love what I do.”
Balderson’s presentation was followed by a presentation by Students for Ed Reform leaders Allie Dyer and Renee Hagerty. With over 50 college campus chapters, SFER focuses on closing the achievement gap and providing excellent education to all students regardless of ethnicity, economic level or geographic location.
The organization, while not connected to any special interest groups such as unions or government groups, believes in the capabilities of all students.
“All students can achieve on a high level,” said Dyer.
SFER, in addition to undergraduate advocacy programs, hosts lectures, discussions, school visits, films and speakers. For members, internship and career placement is also available.
Weekly meetings are held in Baker 233 at 8 p.m.