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Wadsworth chamber hosts panel of government aides

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    A panel of legislative aides were the featured speakers during the monthly luncheon hosted by The Wadsworth Area Chamber of Commerce at The Galaxy Restaurant and Banquet Center in Wadsworth Wednesday. Pictured from left to right are; Jake Altman of U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs' office, Tom Hancock of Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof’s office, Heidi Matthews of U.S. Congressman Jim Renacci’s office, Dustin Russell of Governor John Kasich’s office, Brandon Sagraves of Rep. Steve Hambley’s office and Katie Semo from the office of Ohio Secretary of State John Husted.

    NATHAN HAVENNER / GAZETTE

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    A panel of legislative aides representing both state and national officeholders fielded questions during the September Wadsworth Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon Wednesday at The Galaxy Restaurant and Banquet Center in Wadsworth.

    NATHAN HAVENNER / GAZETTE

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WADSWORTH — A panel of aides representing both state and federal lawmakers and the governor spoke during the Wadsworth Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon Wednesday at The Galaxy Restaurant and Banquet Center in Wadsworth. The fielded questions ranging from the most effective ways to contact elected officials to how the aides got their jobs

It offered attendees an opportunity to hear how local offices connect with politicians in Columbus and the nation’s capital.

“Mostly what I do in a day is I go to a lot of board meetings, we cover nine counties … and then just do a lot of outreach with our business services and get that information out for our office,” said Katie Semo of Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s office.

Semo said the work at her office focuses on elections and business services.

Brandon Sagraves, an aide to state Rep. Steve Hambley, R- Brunswick, said it was difficult to answer exactly what he does each day because his job description changes from day to day.

“Every day, I do administrative stuff with Representative Hambley, whether it be (to) answer phones, answer emails or scheduling emails for him,” he said. “Then, further than that we work a lot on policy in our office, we have 18 different bills we have introduced this general assembly…”

Dustin Russell, of Gov. John Kasich’s office, said constituent services and community outreach are some of the most important aspects of his job in the region.

“We could be connecting local government partners to economic development resources,” Russell said. “We could be assisting folks who are dealing with state agencies and meeting with people who have policy and legislative ideas as well.”

Heidi Matthews, who oversees U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci’s Parma and Wadsworth offices, said one of the most important parts of her job is helping people resolve their issues, especially those involving Social Security and Medicare.

“Sometimes people get reported as deceased with Social Security and that is a big casework problem,” she said.

Between governmental entities on the state, local and federal level, it can be daunting for residents to know where to turn, said Jake Altman, aide to U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs, R-Lakeville.

“I think some of the big accomplishments that I have are making sure that we have positive relationships with folks in the communities, so that when they are having an issue they know to contact us, they know that we are going to work for them in Washington,” he said.

The October luncheon will be 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 31 at The Galaxy Restaurant and banquet Center, 201 Park Centre Drive, Wadsworth.

Contact reporter Nathan Havenner at (330) 721-4050 or nhavenner@medina-gazette.com.
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