As she begins her term as an Ohio Statehouse newcomer, Rep. Sara Carruthers, R-Hamilton, said she hopes to make an impact in several notable areas, including school security, the fight against opioids and overdoses and improvement in state education.
Carruthers won her seat this past November, earning just less than 60 percent of the vote against Democratic challenger Susan Vaughn. She beat the then-incumbent officeholder, Wes Retherford, in the May 2018 primary.
Next up for Carruthers and other legislators is joining committees. She has requested a seat on the House Health Committee.
“The opioid crisis is one of my number one problems,” said Carruthers, whose family has donated millions to Fort Hamilton Hospital. “With the hospitals and everything, it is near and dear to my heart. I’m still a big part of Fort (Hamilton) and I’m still a big part of Mercy.”
She also wants to see drug costs lowered.
Education and school safety are other issues she wants to tackle.
“I’m concerned about our children’s education, and their safety, so there’s a lot going on there that I want to start to push for,” said Carruthers, who is a mother of twins.
Carruthers also said she doesn’t think Ohio is “doing as well as we can for kids,” and that includes having state-required tests for students.
“I think we are hung up with tests, and teachers agree to that,” she said. “Teaching to a test is not teaching children what we need to.”
Carruthers said she hopes to work well with Democrats in the House. As an example, she mentioned freshman lawmaker Rep. Jessica Miranda, a Democrat from Forest Park.
“Jessica Miranda and I get along great,” Carruthers said. “We may not agree on some issues, but as a person we get along — and I think that’s something that is missing in a lot of things.”
Carruthers said she’d like schools spend more time focusing on life skills classes, like home economics and budgeting.
Carruthers also enters the Statehouse as a record number of women — 28 — were elected to a seat in the Ohio House, half of whom are first-time lawmakers.
“It’s going to be interesting because they have a lot of women coming in,” she said. “I think the men there are going to have to toe the line more than they ever have had, as far as what they say not coming off rude or disrespectful.”