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My Month with Greater Ohio Policy Center

By Gina Volpe, Greater Ohio Intern. When I walked into a brick office building off Main Street on a sunny Tuesday, I had no idea what to expect.  I waited outside only to be greeted by a man about two times my size, as I introduced myself while he opened the door. After learning the history of the mattress factory Greater Ohio is housed in, I walked into the world that is Greater Ohio.

 

Gene and Gina in the Statehouse

From the very first day, I was immersed into public policy. As an outsider looking in, it was a little difficult (and still is) to keep up with a conversation filled with acronyms like TID and CDAT. I had to Google “anchor institution” a few times in order to fully understand what it is. Slowly, but surely, I began to realize some of the major issues our state is facing, whether it be land use, transportation, or the budget crisis. I learned the processes of our government and how both branches of our legislation coincide to produce intricate bills that affect our lives in thousands of ways.

 

The Ohio Statehouse

What surprised me the most was how the rest of society not living within a block of the statehouse is oblivious to how much effort and time goes into changing even the smallest portion of the law. And what is even more surprising is how the media barely covers what is actually happening. It’s almost like the statehouse is inside a snow globe, and as hard as you shake it, you will never be able to grab the information on the other side of the glass. Unless you’re fully enveloped in the culture of the statehouse, it’s hard to be acquainted with everything that is going on.

 

The Ohio Senate

My question is "Why?". Why is there not more coverage on the state budget in the media? Why don’t citizens know the name of their district representative? Why was I, an almost graduate of high school, overwhelmed as I just scratched the surface of our entangled and complicated government? I feel like there are so many topics to discuss, but there is so much more to discover. I can’t thank Greater Ohio enough for showing me the innerworkings of our government, and I wish more people would have the opportunity to not just see the effects of our government, but to witness the causes of change and why they are important. Who knew an old mattress factory could teach me all that?