Our education in Ohio politics continued the next day with several political meetings and observing both House and Senate sessions. Meeting with the Speaker of the House, Cliff Rosenberger, was a fantastic experience that further highlighted the uniqueness of American politics. Unlike our own Speaker at Queen’s Park, Mr. Rosenberger’s role is highly partisan and places him in the upper tier of Republican leadership. Mr. Rosenberger sets the House calendar, directs policy discussion as is even able to set the seating chart in the House. As one of the youngest legislators at only 35, our conversation with Mr. Rosenberger touched on youth engagement in politics and as elected officials.
Complementing this meeting we also had the opportunity to meet with Democrat Representative, Fred Strahorn who is also House Minority Leader. Representative Strahorn shared with us the obstacles that he and his party faces in a House that is controlled by a Republican ‘supermajority’ and the importance of inter-party relationships. Finally we met with Republican Representative Robert Cupp. As a seasoned legislator Representative Cupp was able to offer his personal insights on the effects of term limits as well as the on-going Republican Presidential nomination.
Before heading back to frigid Toronto we met with the most instrumental contributors to our trip, our sponsor Dickinson Wright LLP. Dickinson Wright has been a mainstay in Toronto since 2008 and recently expanded in 2011. Their office is home to over 40 attorneys who practice in a range of legal areas including automotive, bankruptcy & insolvency, corporate, cross-border transactions, gaming, real estate, and more. Their attorneys are recognized as leaders in their field by Best Lawyers in Canada, Chambers USA, and Lexpert.
A special thanks goes out to Daniel Ujczo, of Counsel, without whom the trip would not have been possible. Dan is an international trade and customs lawyer who specializes in Canada-United States matters. He regularly assists businesses that are entering and navigating cross-border markets. Dan also provides public policy counsel to government officials and industry leaders on matters relating to Canada-US regulatory cooperation, border security and management, trade and investment attraction initiatives, government procurement, and public-private-partnerships. A US-trained lawyer, Dan previously served as an officer in the Canadian government where he was responsible for coordinating a network of government departments and Canada-US industry associations toward improving North America’s borders and ports-of-entry. Dan also served as a liaison between government officials in Canada and the US, as well as routinely assisted companies in dealings with Canada-US regulatory agencies.
We look forward to extending the relationship and hosting the Ohio Fellows at Queen’s Park!