Voters in the Ohio House 95th District will get the opportunity to discuss state issues when Ohio Rep. Lou Gentile hosts a town hall meeting in Martins Ferry this month.
The public is welcome to attend the gathering, which is set for 6:30 p.m. July 11 on the first floor of the Martins Ferry Recreation Center. Gentile, D-Steubenville, said there will be an open format and no agenda for the proceedings.
He noted for anyone with a constituent claim, it's a good opportunity for them to come get something done with state government while the legislature is on summer break.
Gentile said he will begin by recapping for those those present details of the $56 billion budget passed by the Ohio General Assembly and updating them on other legislation approved during the first six months of the current legislative term.
Gentile recent passed his first piece of legislation - one to ensure access to clean water service for all Ohioans. And he said he will discuss other bills with which he is involved.
"It's been a very, very long six-month legislative session," Gentile said. "And the timing is good for me to give people a summary of what has been happening."
Earlier this year, Gentile co-hosted a town hall meeting with Ohio Sen. Jason Wilson, D-Columbiana, that focused squarely on Senate Bill 5, legislation that limits collective bargaining rights for public employees in the state.
"Some of the things I expect to hear are concerns over Senate Bill 5 and the referendum this fall to overturn it," he said. "And people will probably ask about the economy and what we're doing in Columbus to deal with it.
"I also wouldn't be surprised if social service agencies come out to express their concerns over cuts to their agencies in the state budget that was just passed."
Gentile believes people want to hear from their elected officials on a regular basis, so he attempts to attend as many public events as possible.
"They want to be able to express concerns on specific issues, and they want to know their elected leaders are making themselves available and communicating with them," he said. "I'm trying to do my best to get out in the district, and this is an opportunity for people to come out and express themselves and be heard. And if people need to address me directly, this can be helpful."