Tony Burkley, Representative of the 82nd Ohio House District, spoke at the Van Wert County Republican Luncheon at Willow Bend Country Club on Friday.  (Times Bulletin/Ed Gebert)
Tony Burkley, Representative of the 82nd Ohio House District, spoke at the Van Wert County Republican Luncheon at Willow Bend Country Club on Friday. (Times Bulletin/Ed Gebert)

VAN WERT — Time is closing in on Primary Election Day on May 6. The Van Wert County Republicans held a luncheon for the party faithful Friday at Willow Bend Country Club featuring Ohio Rep. Tony Burkley as speaker.

Burkley, a former Paulding County commissioner, has represented the 82nd House District since winning the seat in the 2012 election. He is facing a primary challenge from Brett Eley of Wapakoneta. Burkley was not the only candidate on hand since Ohio State Senate 1st District candidate Milo Schaffner also attended.

Burkley updated the crowd with the latest from the Statehouse, but admitted that most of his conversations lately have centered around the school calamity days bill that was finally approved by both the State House and State Senate this week. Burkley noted that he expects Gov. Kasich to sign the bill into law soon. He had introduced the bill in the House Education Committee, but got little support until Kasich announced his support for a calamity day bill. After that, the bill passed the committee and the House, but stalled in the State Senate for a couple of weeks while agreements were made between the two houses. Assuming Kasich signs the bill, school districts will get four additional calamity days this year, provided the district has held classes on four other scheduled days off, such as holidays or during vacations.

“There were some tense moments trying to get this through, but eventually we got it through and it’s a reality today.” Burkley shared.
During the speech, Burkley also pointed out that the improvements in the state’s economic situation.



“George Mason University came out with their study and ranking of all the state’s and their fiscal condition. When Gov. Kasich took office, Ohio was really in dire straits. The latest George Mason University study revealed that Ohio now is ranked seventh in overall fiscal condition. I think we were 46th in fiscal condition three years ago, and to make that jump to seventh is really quite tremendous,” Burkley noted.

He attributed the improvement to various factors including a $2.7 billion tax cut in this last budget, a rainy day fund with more than $1.5 billion in the state’s rainy day fund — a fund that had only 89 cents in it when Kasich took office.

Burkley also had kind words for Kasich, saying that the governor is focus on jobs.

“That’s been his whole emphasis. If it relates to jobs, you’ve usually got his ear,” he explained. “He has a mindset that if someone has a job, he will be contributing to society and not being a burden on society.”

The state has been gaining 213 jobs a day under Kasich, according to Burkley, compared to former Gov. Ted Strickland who lost 241 jobs a day during his tenure.