Carfagna adjusting from township to statehouse politics


If you had arrived at 2 p.m. sharp last Friday at the Genoa Township Administrative Office to speak with State Rep. Rick Carfagna, you might have missed him.

He was in an adjoining room donating blood for the American Red Cross.

“I’ve abandoned my post,” Carfagna joked.

That didn’t keep him from speaking with his constituents, or even a writer, while having his blood drawn. The 68th House District Republican from Genoa Township was relaxed, and the setting was informal.

Elected to his first term last November, Carfagna was no stranger to the Statehouse. After graduating from John Carroll University with a degree in Political Science, he served as a legislative aide in the House of Representatives in 1999.

“I knew what I was getting myself into,” Carfagna said. “It has exceeded my expectations.”

Carfagna said his experience as a Genoa Township Trustee has also helped him make the transition.

“I had worked with constituents and legislative process in the past, and I think that I have a good sense how government operates,” he said. “If we have legislative issue, we can identify who the potential stakeholders would be and who would be immediately effected, and that’s helped me with my bills and reaching out to those who would be impacted and getting their input early on. That experience has helped me become a more effective legislator.”

When he began his term in January, Carfagna quit his job at Time Warner Cable to work full-time as a legislator. Thus far, he’s had success with three bills passed in the Ohio House.

One bill, co-sponsored with Andrew Brenner, R-Powell, was signed into law to assist the Delaware Area Career Center after a snafu with a ballot issue.

Another bill would allow advanced-practice nurses to get added authority in treating people experiencing mental health emergencies, such as sending them to a hospital for observation.

“It’s called pink-slipping,” Carfagna said. “Right now, the only people who can do this are law-enforcement and psychiatrists. This is not a cure-all, but for those who might pose a threat to themselves or others, it can help. We have nurses with psychiatric experience, and we should be using them more, especially in more rural areas. I’m going to continue to work that bill. There hasn’t been any opposition.”

Carfagna has a bill that will introduce advanced computer science classes in grades kindergarten through 12th. He said the classes would be in coding, web design, or app development, software technology.

“We have a shortage of technology workers in this state and in this country,” Carfagna said. “This is not meant to be a mandate — school districts would have total discretion whether to incorporate some of it, all of it, or none of it into their curriculum. We want to give them that added tool.”

For example, a high school student could swap an Algebra II class for a coding class.

The bill passed the house with bipartisan support before the break.

Carfagna can be reached at Rep68@ohiohouse.gov or 614-466-1431. For information, visit www.ohiohouse.gov.

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State Rep. Rick Carfagna, R-Genoa Twp., donates blood last Friday at the Genoa Township Administrative Office prior to meeting with constituents.
https://www.delgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/40/2017/09/web1_DSC00584.jpgState Rep. Rick Carfagna, R-Genoa Twp., donates blood last Friday at the Genoa Township Administrative Office prior to meeting with constituents. Gary Budzak | The Gazette