Job creation and/or retention - a vital component of our economic health - will be one of our most important endeavors in the years to come. Unemployment or underemployment hurts not only the individual and his or her family - it can also cause problems in regional or local economies, because people will in turn need to cut back on spending. The General Assembly formed an interim Joint Select Committee on Job Creation and Economic Growth in late 2008, and I was honored to serve as a committee member. Gov. Bill Ritter signed 18 bills sponsored by committee members into law in 2009. I sponsored several "jobs" bills in 2011, and I plan to keep employment on the front burner as long as I remain in office.