Local leaders, business owners, and constituents gathered earlier today at the Pritchard-Laughlin Civic Center for the annual Legislative Lunch hosted by the Cambridge Area Chamber of Commerce. The event served as a platform for attendees to engage directly with representatives at both the state and national levels.

The proceedings commenced with a warm welcome from Cambridge Mayor Tom Orr, followed by the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance led by Byesville Mayor Jay Jackson. Guernsey County Commissioner Jack Marlin then offered a prayer, setting a solemn tone for the discussions ahead.

Congressman Troy Balderson of the 12th Congressional District emphasized the significance of retaining oil, gas, and electric energy within the local area. He underscored his commitment to enhancing rural healthcare services and urged constituents to reach out to his office for assistance on a range of issues, from visa inquiries to federal matters.

State Senators Al Landis and Brian Chavez echoed Balderson’s sentiments, emphasizing the importance of legislative measures that promote business friendliness and workforce retention. They also announced the availability of additional funding through one-time grants, encouraging attendees to submit project proposals for consideration to ensure Southeastern Ohio receives its fair share.

State Representatives Adam Holmes and Don Jones advocated for workforce development initiatives, emphasizing alternative educational pathways beyond traditional college routes and improved healthcare accessibility.

The event also highlighted concerns surrounding healthcare and health insurance, particularly the challenges faced by small businesses in providing affordable coverage to employees. Attendees discussed issues such as coverage denials, soaring prescription prices, and high deductibles.

Additional topics addressed included the anticipated impact of the Intel plant’s arrival in Columbus on the local area, as well as ongoing concerns related to addiction, mental health, energy security, CO2 emissions, clean energy costs, and wages for workers with disabilities.

In closing, all legislators urged constituents to actively engage with their offices, emphasizing the importance of sharing personal stories to inform policymaking efforts and better serve the needs of Southeastern Ohio.