Niehaus portrait unveiled at capital

December 15, 2012

Wayne Allen

PDT Staff Writer

The official portrait of Ohio Senate President Tom Niehaus was unveiled this week in a ceremony held at the state house. Niehaus currently represents Ohio’s 14th District which includes Scioto County.

According to released information, “the tradition of unveiling the senate presidential portrait dates back decades. Painted by internationally exhibited artist Leslie Adams, the portrait will be on display in the Chamber of the Ohio Senate for the remainder of the 129th General Assembly, after which it will be permanently installed in the Ohio Senate Office Building.

Adams’ work includes the official portraits of former Ohio Senate President Bill Harris, former Ohio Governors Bob Taft and Ted Strickland, and members of the Ohio Supreme Court.”

The 14th Senate District of Ohio includes Adams, Brown, Clermont, Scioto counties and a portion of Lawrence County.

Niehaus is term limited and could not run for reelection in November.

“We finished our legislative work Thursday afternoon and I do not anticipate that we will be back in Columbus for anymore legislative sessions. The unveiling of the portrait comes near the end of the legislative career. It was a very humbling experience and am very grateful to the people that supported it,” Niehaus said.

The next step after his term concludes is unclear.

“I have not decided what I am going to do yet, now that my legislative career is almost over. I’ve said all along I would not start looking for a job until I finished my current job. Now that we have finished our work, I’m free to start exploring what options are out there.”

According to his official biography, “A fiscal conservative, Tom Niehaus has been named a “Watchdog of the Treasury” three times and has worked to keep taxes low and to make government more efficient. He has demonstrated his wide legislative range through his leadership on improving the delivery of human services and strengthening consumer protection laws.

Tom and his wife, Emily, live on a farm in New Richmond (Clermont County). They have three children and welcome frequent visits by their six grandchildren which include family camping trips whenever possible. When not in Columbus casting votes on behalf of his constituents, Tom remains extremely active in his local community. He is proud to have founded the Clermont County Philharmonic Orchestra and the Clermont County Excellence in Education Committee.

Tom is a graduate of Xavier University, where he earned his MBA and The Ohio State University, where he earned his Bachelor’s in Journalism.”

When asked what he would say to the people of the 14th district, “I’m very grateful for them for giving me the opportunity to represent them. I tried to be responsible over the years and listen to their concerns and reflect those concerns whenever I voted,” Niehaus said.

Niehaus spent the last two years as senate president and called it a highlight of his legislative career.

“To have the honor of serving as senate president that means that you’ve been elected by your peers to serve in that capacity, again that’s quite an honor,” Niehaus said.

He said the next Ohio Senate president will be Senator Keith Faber. Who served as president Pro Tempore under Niehaus.

Niehaus said the official transfer of power will take place on Jan. 7.

“My term actually ends Dec. 31 but, I have to preside over the opening session of the 130th general assemble. Thats when I will turn over the gavel to senator Faber,” Niehaus said. “Once I do that my official duty will be over.”

One of the things Niehaus said he was going to miss is the people.

“I really enjoyed getting to know, people from all over the state of Ohio. I really enjoyed getting to know the people of Scioto and Lawrence Counties. Those were communities I really had not spent much time in until I was elected,” Niehaus said.

In March the voters of the 14th district elected current 66th district state representative Joe Uecker as the next senator. Uecker beat out republican opponents in the March primary and essentially won the senate seat with no democratic opposition in the November general election.

According to Uecker’s official biography, “Uecker is serving his fourth term in the Ohio House of Representatives. He represents the 66th House District, which includes portions of Clermont County.

Representative Uecker holds a bachelor’s degree in public administration from Northern Kentucky University and an associate’s degree from the University of Cincinnati. Before being elected to the Ohio House, Representative Uecker devoted much of his time to the Boy Scouts of America, serving as a Cub Scout den leader and Boy Scout assistant scout master as well as merit badge counselor.”

Uecker expected to be sworn into office by the end of the year.

Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or wallen@heartlandpublications.com.