*Video* EID-Ohio Interview with Congressman Bill Johnson
With the Appalachian region of the state becoming the focal point for energy development, Congressman Johnson has had a front row seat to watch the opportunities the shale play is already bringing to Ohioans- and a great view of what’s coming around the corner.
“I don’t think we can underestimate the potential for long-term prosperity for the people of Appalachia Ohio,” states Mr. Johnson, noting the region “will be on the front of everybody’s minds” as the growth of development accelerates:
“The rest of the world is going to be looking at us.”
With the shale play still in its infancy, Ohio is already witnessing a resurgence in long lost or dormant industries including steel and manufacturing. The loss of manufacturing jobs is not unique to Ohio, and its return here has larger implications in a national economic recovery. This, as they say, is where the cows eat the cabbage, a fact not lost on the Congressman:
“They’re gonna be talking about eastern and southeastern Ohio in Beijing. We’re going to be putting China out of business!”
The rich and vast resources Ohio holds in the Utica and Marcellus shale puts our state right at the center of a responsible U.S. energy plan, the congressman notes – a plan for energy security that has eluded every president and congress for the past several decades.
“As we develop a national energy policy of putting America first, of energy security and independence, its going to put eastern and south eastern Ohio at the hub, at the center of that activity.”
Securing America’s energy and economic future through responsible development of our resources, which also put people back to work, should be among the nation’s highest priorities. Also atop that list is taking care of those who take care of us: our nation’s veterans.
As a retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Colonel himself, Congressman Johnson is working with industry to bring energy employment opportunities to returning veterans across the state:
“We have an obligation as a nation to get them back into the work force for the sacrifices they have made to protected America’s freedoms and liberties around the world.”
The congressman continues to work with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on clearing up red-tape that delays employment opportunities for veterans, including an exemption on required training for truck and tractor drivers – a field many of these men and women have already had training in.
This May, the Congressman is facilitating this effort by hosting a jobs forum for veterans in East Liverpool. Many natural gas companies are already looking to hire these dedicated men and women. Chesapeake Energy, for example, was recently honored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes program as one of the top 25 American companies with an exceptional record of hiring veterans.
As we continue to watch the positive impact that shale development is bringing to Ohio, we can look towards the opportunity it presents for the years ahead. All of Ohio can certainly share in the Congressman’s excitement for our future, and indeed share in his sentiment that we are witnessing this generation’s Space Race right here in our back yard.