GALLIPOLIS — One of the year’s biggest collection of legislators and their representatives — all in one place — had a chance Friday to check out Bossard Library’s new Riverside Room.
Oh, and they also participated in the Gallia County Chamber of Commerce’s 20th version of its “Meet Your Elected Leaders” event.
In attendance were Jean Wilson, representative for U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown; Todd Shelton, representative for U.S. Sen. Rob Portman; and Kathleen Young, representative for Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
Elected leaders representing themselves included U.S. Congressman Bill Johnson, state Sen. Bob Peterson, state Rep. Ryan Smith, Gallia County Commission president Harold Montgomery, and Gallipolis City Commission president Tony Gallagher.
Josh Simmons, president of the Gallia County Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the elected officials and the audience, and provided closing remarks, while Meagan Barnes, vice president of the chamber, served as moderator.
“We very much appreciate the elected officials and their representatives taking time out of their busy schedules to serve as panelists for our event,” said Michelle Miller, executive director of the chamber. “This year, we had several community members ask their representatives questions about topics important to them. This is the reason the Chamber organizes this event every year and we hope to see that type of interaction between the public and the elected officials grow in the future.”
In years past, the event has been staged at other locations, most recently Holzer Health System. This year, the event moved to the library’s more than one-year-old Riverside Room.
“Legislative Day is a perfect example of the type of event we envisioned hosting when planning the design and functionality of the Riverside Room of the Library,” said Debbie Saunders, Bossard Library’s director. “As I expressed to the crowd attending this annual event, it is truly an honor to have the opportunity to be the host venue for this panel discussion.
“One of the Library’s core missions is the dissemination of information, Legislative Day is a natural platform for information exchange among elected officials and their constituents.”
Each panelist talked about numerous issues that affect their respective Gallia County constituency, whether it was Johnson talking about current bills moving through Congress to Montgomery assuring residents’ worries about the ongoing Green Township sewer project. Each elected official was given five minutes to speak, and most adhered to it for the most part.
B.J. Smith, director of external affairs for AT&T, provided a brief company history, noting that has helped the chamber sponsor “Meet Your Elected Leaders” for each of the last 20 years.
Four students from River Valley High School also attended and had an opportunity to interact with legislators during a question-and-answer session toward the end of the program.
“As always, we very much appreciate AT&T’s continued support as our primary sponsor and we are grateful to Bossard Memorial Library for giving us the opportunity to hold it this year in their new Riverside Room,” Miller said. “It was a beautiful venue and perfect for our event. I encourage the public to watch for information about next year’s “Meet Your Elected Leaders” and consider attending.”
Reach Michael Johnson at 740-446-2342, ext. 2102, or on Twitter @OhioEditorMike.