State Rep. Andy Brenner, R-Powell, has been appointed to serve as chair of the Ohio House’s Education Committee.
The appointment was announced on Thursday and goes into effect next week.
Brenner replaces State Rep. Bill Hayes, R-Harrison Township, who is stepping down as chair and will serve as vice chair of the Education Committee. Brenner, who served as vice chair of the Education Committee, is currently serving his third term in the Ohio House.
“Bill Hayes has been an excellent chairman of the Education Committee during the 131st General Assembly, especially being an integral part of passing House Bill 2, a bipartisan charter school reform bill that recently passed the House and Senate,” said House Speaker Clifford A. Rosenberger, R-Clarksville. “His knowledge and expertise will certainly be missed, however I know that Andy Brenner is up to the task as the new chairman and will continue the state’s efforts to support initiatives that help Ohio students.”
Brenner addressed his appointment after speaking at the Delaware County League of Women Voters’ issues forum on Thursday.
“Education, to me, is vital to the state,” he said. “It is a cornerstone of what the state government does and what we do here. Whether you live in Olentangy, Delaware or Buckeye Valley, it’s important that you have strong and solid schools. I’ve stood up on a lot of those issues, like student testing. I thought we had way too much testing. Those are the kinds of issues I’ve been very passionate and where I’ve put a lot of my focus in the legislature. I’m looking forward to this huge role. It’s a huge honor.”
Steven Cuckler, chairman of the Delaware County Board of Elections, said he welcomed Brenner’s appointment as committee chair.
“Andy being named is well deserved and this is a great opportunity for all of Delaware County’s school districts to work together,” he said. “He is going to be great for Delaware and Ohio.”
Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper did not share the enthusiasm of his GOP counterparts concerning Brenner’s appointment.
“With years of cuts to our public schools and for-profit charter schools failing across the state, we are at a moment of crisis for Ohio’s education system,” said Pepper. “So it is deeply disturbing that Speaker Rosenberger would put the future of our children’s education in the hands of someone who refers to public education as ‘socialism.’ This is yet another example of how out of touch this legislature has gotten from the mainstream, common-sense values of Ohio families.”
Pepper’s remark about Brenner using the term “socialism” was in reference to a Cleveland Plain Dealer editorial from March 2014 that criticized a blog post by the Delaware County Republican.
Andrew Carter can be reached at 740-413-0902 and on Twitter @AndrewCarterDG.