LIMA — School choice, health care and jobs are all among top focuses for Matt Huffman as he begins 2016 as Ohio Senator for the 12th District.
Huffman defeated Celina native John Adams in the March primary election for the Republican party’s nomination for the seat now held by Senate President Keith Faber. Faber could no longer run for the district due to term limits. He ran unopposed in the general election.
Huffman sat down with The Lima News recently and discussed those three areas as he begins his term. With school choice, he said he understands concerns with accountability to schools but added that school choice still needs to be available for students and parents.
Charter schools have been a common target of critics concerning school funding. Huffman said much of the problem could be alleviated by eliminating the current model on which schools are measured.
“When I hear someone say they want school accountability, I think of satisfaction of the user,” Huffman said.
Huffman said the big concern should be what parents and students want in their child’s education. He said the vast majority of students attending schools other than there residential school districts are attending religious, usually Catholic schools.
“Research shows that the main concern usually is not academics,” Huffman said. “It is usually for safety, atmosphere or environment. It reflects what the students and parents want.”
Huffman said the state needed to get rid of the current model of defining districts as a failing district by test results. He said a system should be put in place that expands school choice but makes it fair and more understandable. More transparency needs to be put in place with all schools receiving funding.
“Transparency is the number one goal,” Huffman said.
Huffman also said that funding also needs to be fixed concerning districts losing money concerning open enrollment.
“I don’t think that the Lima school district should be writing a check back,” Huffman said.
Huffman said health care needs such as the Affordable Health Care Act and Medicaid needed to be addressed.
“There is an assumption that more health care was going to mean better care,” Huffman said.
Medicaid funding was expanded in 2013. Huffman said the move was made with bad intent.
“It wasn’t about health care,” Huffman said. “It was about people making money. However, you cannot sell it saying we need to make more money.”
Huffman said we are spending more on health care than what it is worth, and that Obamacare added to the problem exponentially.
“Doctors and other medical providers are not being fully compensated,” Huffman said. “Fewer and fewer people are going to want to be doctors. Health care is going to collapse because we are spending more than what it is worth. We need to look at what we are going to do to get more health care to people.”
Job creation and getting people to fill those positions to fill those positions is a problem Huffman felt could be addressed on several fronts. He said problems included proper training and government incentives.
“we need to get rid of the concept that if you don’t go to college, you are a failure,” Huffman said. “It is a false message.”
Huffman said that 1,700 area jobs on Ohio Means Jobs were left unfilled. The problems included government incentives that inhibited people from going to work and drug use. He suggested that the drug problem has worsened due to a lack of border patrol, which has led to more opioids crossing into the U.S.
Huffman also suggested that unlimited access to abortions is also contributing to the problem.
“There have been 40 million abortions,” Huffman said. “When someone asks where the workers are, they were never born. They are gone. We have fewer students. If people are not going to look at it as a moral issue, they need to think of it as a financial issue.”
Huffman suggested an adjusting unemployment compensation formula for residents not at work.
“There are places that will get 15 resumes for a job but no one shows up,” Huffman said. “If there are jobs available, there needs to be less incentive for not going to work.”
Reach Lance Mihm at 567-242-0409 or at [email protected]