GALLIPOLIS — State Rep. Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) of the 93rd District, was recently rated as the “Most Effective,”” Hardest Working” and tied for “Best Listener” by his legislative colleagues at the Ohio Statehouse, according to the October edition of Columbus Monthly.
The magazine story says, “The 43-year-old Republican has won over lobbyists and fellow lawmakers alike with his intelligence, accessibility and work ethic.”
Further, fellow Republicans said Smith is “not flashy. He’s not self-absorbed. He appears to everybody who deals with him to be in the game to get things done that he believes need to get done.”
It had been nine years since the magazine published a similar piece ranking some of Ohio’s top legislators. Lobbyists, journalists and other legislators were some of those interviewed and surveyed about the Ohio General Assembly.
“I’m humbled by the fact that people view me in that light,” Smith said. “Honestly, I’m very blessed with a great team around me that do a lot to make me look good. There are so many people that are integral to what I do. If a part falls out of the engine, it just doesn’t run. So, I’m very excited and honored to be thought of that way.”
Smith said he feels the 93rd District, which is compromised Gallia, Jackson, Lawrence and a portion of Vinton counties, leans a bit more toward Republican politics, but has its Democratic influences as well.
“Ohio is kind of a 50/50 state when you talk about politics,” Smith said. “My district isn’t far from that. I’ve had exposure to both. By and large, people from this area are hard-working individuals. I’ve said it before, nobody gives us anything, so we have to work hard to get it — and I’m speaking generally of the area.”
Smith said he feels his experience as a financial consultant prepared him to be a good listener in learning to meet client needs.
“I think having a little bit of (a variety of demographics) throughout my district has made me see things a little bit differently,” Smith said. “Not just politically, but also in the dichotomies between the wealthy and the poor. I tell people I don’t have to drive to an area of my district to see the poor areas. I drive through it every day. It’s always kind of with me.”
Smith’s ability to see multiple walks of life has apparently won him the support of the public as he has twice held his seat as a state representative of the district. Smith said he feels fortunate and appreciative to also serve as chairman of the House Finance Committee being a “sophomore” representative.
Smith was part of the “Red Dot” campaign to bring new schools to the Gallia County area. He has served on the board for the Gallia County Chamber of Commerce, as well as the Community Improvement Corporation.
Smith said he would like to see stronger broadband and internet access brought to his district as soon “everything will be done through the internet.” He would further focus on combating the drug epidemic in the area, as well as bringing better educational and employment opportunities.
“Those things kind of all go hand in hand,” Smith said. “You need better internet access for educational opportunities. Better education means better jobs and better jobs means, hopefully, people won’t turn to drugs to cope with problems in their lives.”
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.