MOUNT GILEAD — State Rep. Bill Reineke talked about the role of state government at the Jan. 22 meeting of the Mount Gilead Kiwanis Club.
Reineke, whose family is in the automotive business, focused on the role of education and partnerships between schools and business.
“The economy is better than it’s been in a long time. We need to keep Americans working,” he said.
Reineke said businesses have thrived with reduced “regulations and red tape.”
He also said a strong partnership with education is vital. He is a board member of the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation.
“The new knowledge economy is here and we don’t know what the jobs are going to be 10 years out. Schools need to teach critical thinking.”
Skilled trades in northwest Ohio are still in demand, he said. “Plants are being re-purposed and re-opened as we take shuttered manufacturing plants and open them up to new trends in the workforce,” Reineke said.
“Manufacturing jobs have changed. It’s become more and more technical. Robotics is part of that.”
He said the idea that college is for everyone is no longer the case.
“The idea that all kids fit that mold is truly outdated. There is a focus on in-demand jobs,” he said. “If kids go away to college we want them to return to Ohio. That’s what keeps those small towns going.”
Twenty-seven percent of Ohio students are “falling through the cracks” of education, Reineke said.
He noted that technical schools such as Tri-Rivers Career Center in Marion have helped bridge this gap immensely.
“It’s about helping kids identify their purpose, and then pursue that purpose,” he said.
Reineke addressed the opioid crisis facing the state.
“You can’t be afraid to talk with your kids about drugs. Telling them to ‘Just Say No’ is what they need to hear from us.”
Cracking down on duplicate prescriptions for painkillers has helped reduce addiction. Judges who implement drug courts also have played a role in many counties, he said.
Reineke is a candidate for the Ohio Senate 26th District seat. It includes Sandusky, Seneca, Wyandot, Crawford, Morrow, Marion and Union counties.