COLUMBUS — Rep. David Burke, a second-term state representative from Marysville, is expected to be sworn in Wednesday by his fellow Republicans to replace the resigning Sen. Karen Gillmor (R., Tiffin) in the 26th District.
The pharmacist, drug store owner, and former Marysville city council lives roughly 100 miles from the largely rural district’s northern tip in Ottawa County. He was recommended to Senate GOP leadership by a screening committee that interviewed candidates.
“Ohio faces a lot of challenges, and health care is one of them,’’ said Mr. Burke, 43. “The one thing that the General Assembly needs is engaged health care professionals who can bring their experience to policies they’re working on.
“I can best serve the constituents of my representative district and now Senate district by assisting with this major component—Medicaid, state (health insurance) exchanges, of course the Affordable Health Care Act in 2014,’’ he said.
The chamber is expected on Wednesday to accept Ms. Gillmor’s resignation from her Senate seat and confirm her appointment by Gov. John Kasich to the Ohio Industrial Commission.
Of the 11 applicants who threw their names into the ring, six were invited to be interviewed by the screening committee. In addition to Mr. Burke, they included Rep. Jeffrey McClain (R., Upper Sandusky); Steve Reinhard, a former state representative from Bucyrus who lost to Ms. Gillmor in the 2008 Senate primary; David Little, of Marion, president of the Ohio American Water Co.; Alan Endicott, of Marion, president of DeNovo Policy, and William Reineke Jr., president of Tiffin Ford-Lincoln, Inc.
The district largely follows the Route 23 corridor and includes southern Ottawa County, western Seneca, and all of Sandusky, Logan, Union, Marion, Crawford, and Wyandot counties. Ms. Gillmor maintains a legal residence in Tiffin, but she also has a house in southern Union County where her children have attended school.
Mr. Burke, 43, said that, despite the district’s geography, he will effectively represent constituents in the northern counties.
“I work my district,’’ he said. “I’m a hands-on legislator. I’m constantly in the district. I do district days. I meet individuals, businesses, schools, city councils, townships. I am not a laissez-faire representative and I won’t be a laissez-faire senator.’’
He earned a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from Ohio Northern University in Ada in 1990 and a master’s in business administration from Capital University in Columbus in 1994. His wife, Donna, is a fellow pharmacist and they have two children.
He currently represents the 83rd House District, roughly the southern third of the Senate District with all or portions of Logan, Union, and Marion counties. It remains to be seen what the largely rural district will look like after lawmakers finish redrawing state legislative districts later this year to adjust for population shifts reflected in the 2010 U.S. Census.
As a majority member of the powerful House Finance and Appropriations Committee, he recently helped to fashion the state’s just-enacted $55.8 billion, two-year budget.
He called on his experience as a pharmacist as one of the lead sponsors of a measure recently signed into law by Mr. Kasich that cracks down on so-called “pill mills,’’ pain-management clinics accused of making it too easy for people to acquire such prescription drugs as Oxycontin and Vicodin.