Home Opinion Opinion: Charlie Wilson’s service to be remembered in the midst of tragedy

Opinion: Charlie Wilson’s service to be remembered in the midst of tragedy

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Former Ohio Rep. Charlie Wilson died Sunday at a Florida hospital due to complications from a stroke that he suffered in February. For 14 years, Wilson served Eastern and Southeastern Ohio, representing its residents in both Columbus and Washington. His contributions to Ohio and the legacy of his career should be remembered and honored, but with the high news coverage of the Boston marathon bombings, Wilson’s death has received little discussion.

Wilson helped secure over $436 million in federal funding for the 6th district of Ohio, helping fund everything from improvements to roads and airports, housing development and sewer system construction to hospital renovations, equipment upgrades of police departments and programs at his alma mater of Ohio University. His distinguished record of public service is truly remarkable.

Before his career in politics, Wilson owned several small businesses throughout the Ohio Valley, as well as working as a member of the United Auto Workers (UAW) on the assembly line at the Ford Automotive auto plant in Loraine while attending OU. During his career, Wilson not only invested in and advocated for small businesses, but knew first hand the role that small family-run businesses play in creating jobs and sustaining economic growth. Devoted to helping these businesses flourish, Wilson also helped to fund many small business incubators, giving companies the resources and services necessary to accelerate their growth and success.

In 1996, Wilson began his public service career when elected to Ohio’s House of Representatives, where he served until he was elected as a member of the Ohio Senate in 2004. He served two terms in the Ohio Senate until 2006, when he won the vacant congressional seat of Governor-elect Ted Strickland as a write-in candidate. After serving two terms as a U.S. Senator, Wilson lost his bid for a third term to Republican Bill Johnson in 2010, but continued to support Eastern Ohio.

Wilson was a member of the House Committee on Science and Technology, and unlike many Democrats, supported finding ways to burn coal more cleanly rather than abandoning the energy source. He knew that many of the workers and families in Eastern Ohio relied on the coal industry, and believed that the miners and power plant employees could provide America with the power it needs while helping to decrease dependence on foreign oil.

As stated from a statement from his family, “Charlie will be remembered for his boundless energy, his honest approach and his dedication to improving the lives of our future generations.” Wilson proved to be a strong advocate for Eastern Ohio, but yet so few even knew of his passing. While coverage of breaking news has to be prioritized, and the tragedy in Boston was a priority, the death of a dedicated politician should not be overlooked.




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