On Monday afternoon, U.S. Rep. Michael Turner (R-Ohio) visited the Fayette County Commissioners at their regular meeting. Turner represents Ohio’s 10th Congressional District, which includes part of Fayette County, as well as Montgomery and Greene counties.
He said it was his first appointment on his first day back to work after Congress’ summer recess, and that the purpose of the meeting was to “meet the leadership of the community and see what’s going on.” To that end, Turner and the commissioners — Tony Anderson, Dan Dean, and Jack DeWeese — discussed a wide range of local issues.
One focus of the meeting was the 1,600-acre mega-site at the U.S. 35 and I-71 interchange where, according to Dean, a major employer is “looking to expand to the area.” Turner commended the commissioners on seeing “what the future opportunity was” when they began work on the mega-site, which, according to DeWeese, was 12 to 15 years ago.
“I always say people in government see the future because it’s their to-do list,” Turner added.
When it comes to the economy, Turner said Ohio tends to be impacted by national economic downturns early and to continue to feel the effects late, but, that the state is now “stable” and “the people are beginning to see that that economic stagnation we can put behind us.” In particular, he said that “small, medium-sized businesses are seeing a huge explosion in manufacturing.”
Turner also discussed construction at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton. Turner secured authorization for $182 million that will be spent on a new building that will be used to expand intelligence operations.
“As we see increased defense spending we’re gonna see increased growth at the base and outside the base,” he said.
Another issue Turner and the commissioners discussed was the opioid epidemic in Fayette County. Turner spoke of the Medicaid Reentry Act (H.R.4005), which he co-sponsored with Congressman Paul D. Tonko. The purpose of this legislation is to allow state Medicaid programs to receive federal funds for the care of incarcerated Medicaid-eligible individuals 30 days prior to their release. Turner hopes this funding will make it easier for individuals who are in jail for drug addiction-related offenses to receive substance abuse treatment before being released.
In addition, Turner and the commissioners discussed the Farm Bill, which has passed the House and is now in the Senate. Turner said one of the reasons the bill has been delayed in the Senate is because of SNAP work requirements, but said these requirements are similar to what Ohio already requires.
“The whole goal of a safety net is an ability to regain independence,” he said.
Turner also said he is working to close the gap that exists between foster care and adult housing programs. He said 37 percent of children who age out of foster care become homeless at some point between the ages of 18 and 22. His Fostering Stable Housing Opportunities Act will give these young people the ability to register with the housing authority at the age of 16 and to jump to the front of the line for government housing when they turn 18, he said. The bill does not, however, provide any funds for additional housing vouchers.