|Member of the Ohio House of Representatives
from the 29th district
January 3, 2005-December 31, 2012
|Preceded by||Patricia Clancy|
|Succeeded by||Louis Blessing|
January 3, 1983-December 31, 1996
|Preceded by||Helen Fix|
|Succeeded by||Patricia Clancy|
|Member of the Ohio Senate
from the 8th district
January 6, 1997-December 31, 2004
|Preceded by||Stanley Aronoff|
|Succeeded by||Patricia Clancy|
August 1, 1948 |
|Alma mater||Northern Kentucky University, University of Cincinnati|
After graduation from the University of Cincinnati, he received a law degree from Northern Kentucky University. As an attorney, Blessing worked from the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court before being elected as a Colerain Township Trustee.
Blessing's career at the Statehouse began in 1983, when he replaced Representative Helen Fix in a suburban Cincinnati district. He went on to serve seven terms in the House, for a total of fourteen years. He never faced considerable opposition in either a primary or general election throughout his tenure.
With term limits newly enacted and looming, eight-term incumbent Stanley Aronoff decided to retire in 1996 before being forced out of the Senate. As a result, Blessing forfeited an eighth term in the House for a run in the Senate. Facing no opposition in the primary, Blessing went on to win the general election with 65% of the vote. In 2000, Blessing was up for reelection, but was heavily favored in the strongly Republican district. Against Democrat Stuart Manning, Blessing won a second term, securing 63% of the vote.
In December 2002, Blessing, while traveling on I-71 in Ohio, was arrested and charged with a DUI after an Ohio state patrol officer found the state lawmaker had a blood-alcohol level of .11 percent when given a Breathalyzer test, just over the legal limit.
Ohio House of Representatives, Second Tenure
By 2004, Blessing was facing term limits himself in the Senate. With Representative Patty Clancy term limited in the House as well, it gave an opportunity for both Blessing and Clancy to run for each other's seats. However, Blessing first faced primary competition in Keith Corman. He went on to win the primary election with 52% of the electorate. Blessing went on to win the general election over Joseph R. Wolterman by about 7,000 votes, and retook a seat in the House after eight years in the Senate. Blessing was the first legislator post term-limits to go from the House to the Senate and then back to the House. He won reelection easily in 2006, 2008 and 2010.
With William G. Batchelder elected as Minority Leader of the House for the 128th General Assembly, Blessing was tabbed as assistant leader. However, when Republicans retook the Majority in 2010, Blessing was again chosen for the second highest Republican leadership position, Speaker Pro Tempore. He also serves on the committees of Criminal Justice; Rules and Reference (as Chairman); Health and Aging and its Subcommittee on Retirement and Pensions; and State Government and Elections.
Initiatives, policies and positions
Along with Tracy Maxwell Heard, Blessing has introduced a plan to reduce Ohio's rising prison population and use part of the expected cost savings to strengthen felony probation supervision. While current law provides that certain adoption placement requirements do not apply to a stepparent, grandparent, or a guardian, Blessing has introduced a bill that would extend the exemption to the husband or wife of a grandparent.
As a member of the House Commerce and Labor Committee, Blessing played a key role in shaping a bill on collective bargaining reform, which will go forth to limit such for public employees. He favored limiting the same provisions for firefighters and law enforcement, although some cite Wisconsin's bill as allowing their collective bargaining to continue. Blessing has stated that while law doesn't state that employers have to pay non-union members the same wages as union members, it often happens anyway. He believed the bill would ultimately make it to John Kasich's desk for approval, which it did. He voted for the bill to pass out of committee, and did the same on the House floor. Blessing has stated that public employees shouldn't be concerned that they may receive pay cuts, and that the bill will actually help public employees. He has also stated that the bill will bring more accountability to the public sector. When asked if he would be willing to share in sacrificing his own pay, Blessing stated that he earns his pay, and isn't ashamed of what he makes.
Blessing is the sponsor of legislation that aims to update voter ID requirements. The initiative would require any voter to show a photo ID in order to cast a ballot. Blessing has stated there have been instances of individuals voting more than once as a result of not requiring such already. The measure passed quickly, within days of introduction. While there has been consistent criticism of the legislation, Blessing assures that it is a measure that will insure the integrity of elections. In addition, he has stated that the law will help reign in on any wasteful spending.
- Taft, Robert 1996 general election results (1996-11-05)
- Blackwell, Kenneth 2000 general election results (2000-11-07)
- Blessing arrested on DUI charges
- Republicans face off in primary
- Blackwell, Kenneth 2004 primary election results (2004-03-02)
- Blackwell, Kenneth 2004 general election results (2004-11-02)
- Siegel, Jim (2011-03-20). "House will adjust union bill". Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved 2011-03-21.
- Siegel, Jim (2011-03-30). "Collective-bargaining vote could come today". Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved 2011-03-30.
- Guillen, Joe (2011-03-30). "Controversial Ohio collective bargaining bill heads toward final approval". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved 2011-03-30.
- Craig, Jon (2011-03-30). "House set to OK SB5". Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved 2011-03-30.
- Siegel, Jim; Joe Hardon (2011-03-31). "Assembly sends SB 5 to Kasich". Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved 2011-04-01.
- Kovac, Marc (2011-03-31). "Tempers flare as SB 5 approved". Youngstown Vindicator. Retrieved 2011-04-02.
- Provance, Jim (2011-04-04). "Labor law backers say voters get voice on public contracts". Toledo Blade. Retrieved 2011-04-04.
- Guillen, Joe (2011-04-08). "Ohio lawmakers unlikely to cut their own pay while Senate Bill 5 expected to hit public workers in the pocketbook". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved 2011-04-12.
- Hershey, William (2011-03-22). "Legislation would require photo ID to vote". Dayton Daily News. Retrieved 2011-03-22.
- Quan, Truong (2011-03-23). "Bill: voters need photo ID". Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved 2011-03-23.
- Hershey, William (2011-03-24). "Ohio House passes bill to have voters show photo ID". Dayton Daily News. Retrieved 2011-03-24.
- Kovac, Marc (2011-04-10). "Husted wants reform, but he not rah-rahing photo ID bill". The Daily Record. Retrieved 2011-04-12.