Legislator of the Week: Ohio Representative Bill Seitz
This Week, ALEC and Freedom Works introduce Ohio Representative Bill Seitz. Rep. Seitz represents the greater Cincinnati area and currently lives in Western Hamilton County where he and his wife Diane raised their two children. He attended of the University of Cincinnati and graduated summa cum laude with a degree in History. He went on to earn his JD from the University Of Cincinnati College Of Law. Rep Seitz began serving in the Ohio House of Representatives in 2000 after more than 20 years practicing law. He was appointed as the Majority Whip and the Chairman of the Civil and Commercial Law Committee. In 2007, he was chosen to fill an empty seat in the Ohio Senate and won the subsequent special election. Although he was termed out of the State Senate in 2016, he ran for Ohio State House and won again. Throughout his legislative career, Rep. Seitz has been a leading voice for criminal justice reform in Ohio. His bills have focused on eliminating barriers to employment for past offenders and reducing recidivism rates.
Why did you run for office?
Term limits became effective at year-end 2000, creating vacancies in nearly half of the Ohio House of Representatives. After over a decade in local elected service, and with 22 years’ experience practicing law, I decided to run secure in knowing that I would not have to be a back-bencher for years in order to meaningfully impact public policy.
In your view, what is the biggest issue facing Ohio?
There are several, including addressing the opioid crisis and reducing prison overcrowding, but I believe the biggest is development of a comprehensive energy policy.
If you could “wave your magic wand,” what would you like to see immediately implemented in Ohio?
We are in need of a comprehensive energy policy focused on insuring the reliability and resiliency of our electric grid, the need to avoid over-reliance on intermittent electric generators, and the need not to retire baseload plants before the end of their useful life. These are all incredibly difficult matters to balance, but it must be done.
Do you serve on any committees, if so which committees and why? How do you think you have impacted them?
I am currently Majority Floor Leader in the Ohio House. I also serve on the Civil Justice, Criminal Justice, Public Utilities, Government Accountability and Oversight, and Rules & Reference Committees. I have served on most of those committees (House and Senate) for the entirety of my 18 years in the Ohio Legislature. Doing so has given me a depth of experience in those subject matters that is valuable.
What project or law are you most proud of?
I am most proud of the landmark civil justice tort reform legislation that I have championed over the years. Some of the bills I shepherded to enactment were not ALEC model policies until after we enacted them in Ohio – so we actually helped ALEC to develop model policy in some cases. The bulk of these bills were enacted by the end of 2004, and according to the Pacific Research Institute studies, Ohio jumped from being in the low 40’s as one of the worst states for tort liability to being among the top 5 best states on that metric, in just a couple of years.
How has ALEC helped you as a legislator?
I have faithfully attended ALEC meetings over the entirety of my legislative career. The connections made to other states’ legislators who share our broad goal of limited government, free markets, and federalism has been truly cherished by me. ALEC is the intellectual engine that drives conservative state policies, and it must be defended against those who would stifle debate and throttle the pipeline of new conservative ideas to promote the Founders’ vision.
Can you share a fun fact about yourself that’s not in your official bio?
I have been attending the Indianapolis 500 ever since 1970, missing only 3 years since then.