Recently I sent out a survey and more than 550 residents took the time to fill it out and send it back. I wanted to share the results with you.
As I travel the district and talk to constituents, one of the topics that always comes up is jobs. That has been your focus and it has been mine too. I wanted to hear from you about what kinds of jobs we should be focused on in Ohio. Survey results are as follows:
What kinds of jobs should we focus on protecting or attracting in Ohio?
Protecting Existing jobs, like in the coal industry -- 66%
Attract new, clean energy jobs -- 58%
Infrastructure improvement and construction jobs -- 59%
Health care technology and research jobs -- 45%
Other -- 29%
As you can see, the number one answer was clearly "protecting existing jobs". That is exactly why my work in Congress has focused on protecting and supporting the jobs and industries that keep our local communities going. We must protect the jobs tied to one of our greatest and most abundant natural resources: coal. That is why I was proud to vote against the "Cap and Trade" Bill last summer and why I continue to fight the EPA's efforts to crack down on the coal industry.
At the same time, we must continue to attract and maintain new clean energy jobs that complement our traditional energy industries. We must also protect our manufacturing jobs, and that is why I have backed a "Made in America" agenda in Congress. My plan is to boost manufacturing by stopping unfair trade practices, investing in industry and innovation, improving manufacturing infrastructure, strengthening the American workforce and creating a level playing field for American companies to compete worldwide.
Another subject I hear a lot about is reducing our country's dependence on foreign oil. If we can figure out a way to harness our own natural resources and truly reduce our reliance on Middle Eastern energy resources, I believe we can help return our local and national economies to prosperity. That is the same message that I have heard from many of you, and I wanted to know how you felt that goal can best be achieved. Survey results are as follows:
Which federal action would you support to reduce our dependence on foreign oil?
Increased reliance on coal and clean coal technologies -- 60%
Investments in alternative energy production -- 52%
Weatherizing homes and buildings to improve energy efficiency -- 44%
Increased off-shore oil drilling -- 38%
Tax incentives that encourage energy efficiency -- 45%
Other -- 21%
These results tell me that our area wants the federal government to invest in a number of different programs to reduce our energy usage and better utilize our country's natural resources. Our area's priority is protecting the coal industry that already provides 86% of Ohio's total energy, and I could not agree more. A good number of respondents also want to see more support for energy efficiency through home weatherization and tax incentives to encourage consumers and business to conserve more. To that end, I am proud to report that our state has wisely invested Recovery Act money in home weatherization projects that will help approximately 32,000 Ohioans reduce their energy bills an average of 24%.
My thanks to those who took the time to fill out the survey. Again, that type of input helps guide my Congressional work and ensures that I am effectively prioritizing the issues many believe are vital to our area.