Each week, Ohio Statehouse News profiles one of our state legislators. Representative D.J.Swearingen (R-Huron) is our featured legislator this week.
Rep. Swearingen is serving his first term as state representative. He represents the 89th House District, which encompasses both Erie and Ottawa counties.
Swearingen received his Bachelor’s degree in from Bowling Green State and his Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Dayton School of Law, cum laude.
Why did you become involved in government? I became involved because I genuinely wanted to work towards common sense solutions to everyday problems that are in the best interests of Ohioans. I hope that when I leave office, whenever that time comes, I can look back and say that I accomplished this.
What are your legislative policy priorities or goals for the upcoming session? I want everyone in my district to have the opportunity to be able to pursue their life’s ambition and earn a wage that supports their family. This includes prioritizing workforce development initiatives in making sure that our workers have the skills that they need to be successful, working to make sure that our younger generation of Ohioans are job ready when they come out of school, their apprenticeship, or earn their credential, continuing to work towards ending the opioid crisis, and improving the water quality of Lake Erie, among other goals.
What surprises/unexpected challenges did you encounter when you started?Representing around 115,000 with one other person in the office has presented quite the challenge when it comes to fielding all of the constituent questions and requests that come to the office.
How do you stay in touch with your district? I try to be at community events as much as my schedule will allow. I read all of the area newspapers and follow developments on social media. I will send correspondence from the office frequently, but nothing comes close to actually showing up at a community event and being physically present.
What is the most interesting/unusual request from a constituent? We get a lot of requests and all of them are important because they come from constituents. I honestly have not received an unusual request yet. I am sure there will be one eventually.
What are some of the attractions or hotspots in your district? There are absolutely too many to list. We are the tourism capitol of the State, in my opinion, and we have a lot of industry and agriculture in addition to that. We have Lake Erie, beaches, the islands, many great marinas, Cedar Point, Kalahari, the Great Wolf Lodge, the birthplace of Thomas Edison in Milan, a rejuvenated downtown Sandusky, as well as many great places to go bird watching. I am sure that I even left some off the list and for that I apologize in advance. We truly have the best district in the State.
Ohio is so diverse, what are the primary challenges you’re facing? The primary challenge that we are facing is retaining our young people and providing them opportunities where they can get a good job with good pay – essentially making sure that there are sustainable opportunities here in our area that will make them lifelong and fulfilled residents in the district. There are obviously others like the ones mentioned above – opioids, addressing mental health concerns, and continuing to clean up Lake Erie.
What have you done to help your district? I have been involved on several different workforce and economic development initiatives, assisted in constituent matters that cover a wide variety of topics primarily helping constituents navigate the many facets of government, and introduced and supported legislation pertinent to my district.
How has your district benefitted from the budget? Primarily from the funding for cleaning up Lake Erie in addition to the wrap around services included for children, among others