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Two State Lawmakers Say Goodbye to the General Assembly

photo of Barbara Sears and Tim Brown

Two lawmakers who had a major impact on the General Assembly in different ways are moving on to different positions outside of the Legislature. 

Republican Representative Barbara Sears of Sylvania is joining Gov. John Kasich’s administration as part of his Office of Health Transformation. Sears will be the assistant director to spearhead priority projects and help with the government affairs team.

Sears had served for eight years and couldn’t run for re-election because of term limits. Republican Representative Ron Amstutz of Wooster said his colleague was always dependable.

“And you have demonstrated three things in unwaverable fashion: hardwork, conservatism and loyalty,” Amstutz said.

A controversial stand
Sears was caught in controversy when she openly supported expanding Medicaid eligibility through the federal Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. While Kasich also wanted the expansion, many other Republicans fought it. The expansion ended up getting approved by a panel of lawmakers, bypassing a full House or Senate vote.

Sears called on her remaining lawmakers to always fight for what they believe in.

“And even if you are one voice out of many and you are the only voice. The voice that is most passionate, most knowledgeable and most determined, will often rise to the top,” Sears said.

A lawmaker with a focus on accountability
Also leaving the General Assembly is Republican Representative Tim Brown of Bowling Green. Brown was known for efforts on government efficiency and accountability.

But Brown also happened to be the first openly gay man to serve in the Ohio General Assembly from either party. Republican House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger of Clarksville said Brown was an open-minded and fair leader.

“Tim, you, as I have said before in the past, are a bridge that spans a tide and make no mistake I truly believe in all my heart you are that pebble that’s been dropped in the pond and has created a ripple and that ripple is for the good,” Rosenberger said.

In his farewell, Brown called on his fellow lawmakers to strive to protect the constitution while remembering that it’s a document that must adapt and change as humankind adapts and changes.

“While our founders could’ve never imagined their words would be used to equate women to men, or blacks to whites, or gay citizens to those who are straight, their words in our constitution ensure that America could become that place where all could be treated equal under the law. Wow, what an incredible America we share,” Brown said.

Brown will be president of the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments.

Filling the seats
Brown is being replaced by Theresa Gavorone. Derrick Merrin replaces Sears.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.