DHI Media Editor

COLUMBUS – Freshman lawmaker Craig Riedel has been sworn in as one of the newest members of the Ohio House of Representatives.

The Defiance native was uncontested in November and takes the 82nd District seat formerly occupied by Tony Burkley.

“I am very excited, honored and humbled to represent the 82nd District,” Riedel said.

Riedel said he is passionate about defending the constitution and protecting religious freedoms, but he looks for his first challenge to be taking on the budget.

“This will be a really difficult budget to get through. Ohio’s revenues have been down for the past 5-6 months,” Riedel explained. “You can’t spend what you don’t have so we’ll have to cut spending. I will fight like a pit bull to not raise taxes.”

Even though the state has a $2.3 billion Rainy Day Fund, Riedel says cutting expenditures and raising revenues should be the first course for balancing the budget.

“The Rainy Day Fund is for help in an emergency situation,” he said. “We should look at everything else before we consider that route.”

Another passion for Riedel is good-paying jobs for Northwest Ohio.

“I worked in Indiana most of my career and I saw manufacturing plant after manufacturing plant going to other states instead of Ohio.” Riedel said. “We have to fight back, become competitive and fight for companies to come here. We need to be a right-to-work state so we can level the playing field. We have a lot to offer.”

Riedel said good jobs pave the way to a better society.

“Good jobs are a salve for societal woes,” he explained. “They improve self-esteem lending to better decisions. It’s a domino effect and it starts with good jobs.”

Riedel saw first-hand how much of his district is poverty-stricken while he was campaigning.

“I never realized the severity of poverty right here in my district,” he said. “People are struggling and we need to help. They don’t need more regulations or more taxes, they need jobs and help.”

The Seneca East High School graduate would also like to address Common Core.

“I am opposed to Common Core and believe we need to allow our local administrators, teachers, parents and communities to more involved in defining what our kids need to learn,” Riedel said. “We are much better-served when we allow those kinds of decisions be made locally.”

Riedel and his fellow House members will learn their committee assignments at the end of January. He is hoping for a few committee assignments in particular.

His first choice is to serve on the Economic/Workforce Development Committee. He also thinks his background as an engineer at Nucor Steele would be beneficial to the Finance Subcommittee on Higher Education, the Armed Services/Veterans Affairs/Public Safety Committee; Ways and Means; and the Finance Subcommittee on Ag Development/Natural Resources.

The 82nd District covers Defiance, Paulding and Van Wert counties and the northwest corner of Auglaize County.

Riedel and his wife, Danette, have been married for 28 years and have two grown children, Steve and Rene. Craig, Steve and Rene are graduates from the Ohio State University.

He describes himself and a Christian first, conservative second and Republican third.