Lake Erie Caucus being created by Ohio legislators


COLUMBUS -- A northwest Ohio senator said he's forming a caucus in hopes of giving Lake Erie more legislative muscle.

Ohio Sen. Randy Gardner (R., Bowling Green) said today the new Lake Erie Caucus will hold its organizational meeting in January. It will be co-chaired by him and Ohio Sen.Capri Cafaro (D., Hubbard).

Ohio House members will be courted along with state senators, with Ohio Rep. Chris Redfern (D., Catawba Island) agreeing to help recruit. Gubernatorial cabinet members - including directors of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Ohio Department of Commerce - will be invited, as will travel and tourism groups, boating and fishing interests, small businesses impacted by the lake’s economy, and environmental groups, Mr. Gardner said.

The Senate and House districts served by Mr. Gardner and Mr. Redfern, respectively, cover more Lake Erie shoreline than any other state district. Both serve Ottawa and Erie counties.

The caucus is being assembled to address a multitude of environmental and economic issues facing the lake, not just its toxic algae, Mr. Gardner said.