Gov. John R. Kasich has announced the appointment of Sen. David Daniels (R-Greenfield) to serve as director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Daniels has represented Ohio's 17th Senate District since January 2011 and will submit his resignation to the Ohio Senate on Wednesday. He is expected to be sworn in and begin his duties as ODA director on Thursday, February 16.
Daniels replaces Jim Zehringer who Kasich appointed to lead the Ohio Department of Natural Resources in November 2011. Chief of Animal Health and State Veterinarian Dr. Tony Forshey has served as interim director of ODA since November and will resume his previously-held duties upon Daniels' swearing-in.
Daniels is a life-long farmer and, together with his father and uncle, operated Daniels Brothers farm in Greenfield. Prior to his election to the Ohio Senate in 2010, Daniels served eight years in the Ohio House of Representatives and a total of 18 years in local government as a Highland County commissioner, a Greenfield city councilman, and the mayor of Greenfield.
Recently as chairman of the Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee, he oversaw testimony from industry experts and stakeholders attesting to the merits of securitization. The results was HB l 364, which establishes new standards for the securitization of costs associated with electric utility companies. Reform measures found in the legislation will permit utility operators to begin issuing securitization bonds. Upon the approval of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, companies will be permitted use these bonds to group their debt so that they can obtain lower interest rates. As companies begin to exchange their high-interest debt for low-interest debt, the new savings will then be passed onto Ohioan's electric bills.
The plan has garnered the support of consumer advocates, including the Ohio Consumers' Counsel, and Ohio's four major electric utilities: First Energy Corporation, Duke Energy, Dayton Power & Light, and American Power. Additionally, 19 other states have already taken action to allow securitization bonds including, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.
"The recession of recent years has taken a great toll on Ohio's families and companies alike," Daniels wrote after the bill was signed in December. "A sound reform measure such as House Bill 364 is one of those unique opportunities to bring true relief and reform. As we wrapped up one of the most challenging years in our legislative history, it was invigorating to see Republicans and Democrats come together on behalf of Ohio's consumers. It is my sincere hope that we can carry this work on into the New Year and continue to bring about the much-needed reforms that will save our state's economy."