Toledo-area state senators map out priorities for 2023-24 legislature

Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 5:46 PM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Toledo’s two state senators hope they can use their new leadership positions within their parties to benefit the region during the new General Assembly.

Sen. Theresa Gavarone is now in the third year of her first full term in the Ohio Senate.

The Bowling Green Republican is among the highest-ranking members of her party in Columbus. Her colleagues elected her as the majority whip for the new General Assembly after what she viewed as a successful start to her term.

“I was able to get a lot of work done and really pass some good legislation,” Gavarone said.

Her new district combines much of the City of Toledo with Wood, Ottawa, Erie and Huron counties.

She touts her work in the previous General Assembly on bills dealing with hazing, religious freedom for student-athletes, and strict photo ID laws for voters.

“We certainly want to be the gold standard when it comes to election security,” Gavarone said.

Ohio Republican leaders are currently creating their game plans and budgets after growing their supermajorities in the legislature following the 2022 midterm elections. Democrats are navigating being outnumbered in Columbus but still think they can push some of their priorities that have bipartisan support.

Sen. Paula Hicks-Hudson, a Democrat from Toledo, is still in the early weeks of her first full term in the Senate. She previously served two terms in the House.

Hicks-Hudson replaced Sen. Teresa Fedor in the Senate at the end of 2022 after Fedor stepped down to pursue a position on the Ohio Board of Education. She’s serving as the assistant minority whip.

“You still have to be able to work across lines and try to and try to find that common ground for any legislation you’re trying to get done,” Hicks-Hudson said.

She said she wants her early legislative work to focus on helping urban farmers and low-income mothers. She also wants to secure additional protections for Lake Erie and connect with villages and townships throughout her district, which includes part of the city of Toledo and the rest of Lucas County.

She said she’s hopeful her ideas will get bipartisan support to clear the GOP-controlled chamber. Hicks-Hudson looks to leverage her leadership role to influence what resources are dedicated to their region and, “give the perspective of northwest Ohio and Lucas County to those in Columbus who don’t necessarily understand that we are part of the state of Ohio,” she said.

Watch their full interviews below.

State Sen. Theresa Gavarone, a Republican from Bowling Green, joins Action News Now to discuss her priorities heading into a new General Assembly.
Sen. Paula Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo) joins Action News Now to discuss her priorities in the Ohio Senate and the transition to the chamber from the House.

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