On the latest episode of Calfee NOW, Josh Sanders, Vice Chair of Calfee's Government Relations and Legislation practice group, and Nick Bush, Principal with Calfee's Federal Government Relations and Policy group, spoke with Congressman Troy Balderson (OH-12).
Topics discussed included:
- The growth opportunity Intel's investment in Central Ohio presents.
- The other areas federal government needs to address and improve to ensure types of projects like Intel stay in the U.S.
- How the Ohio Delegation continues to work to keep Ohio competitive when attracting projects like Intel.
- How Congressman Balderson's upcoming work on the House Transportation Committee will help with the wraparound of the growth that the Intel project will require in his district.
Hello to all of our viewers, and welcome to another episode of Cal. Now, today we are joined by our good friend, Congressman Troy Balderson. Troy, a lifelong Ohioan, grew up in Zanesville, attended school at Muskan College in the Ohio State University. Um, then was went on to be the third generation of his family to run the auto business, uh, before running for and winning his seat in the Ohio House in 2008. He then joined the Ohio Senate in 11 where he served until, uh, winning a special election in 2018 to fill Pat Barry's old seat in Ohio's 12th congressional district and has since served central Ohio as a member of the House Science and space and Technology Committee, Committee on Small business, and currently this Congress serving on the House Committee in Agriculture and Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Troy, thanks for being with us today. Good to have you.
Congressman Troy Balderson:
Great to be here, Nick. Good to see you.
And joining me is, uh, Josh Sanders. So Troy will kick this off. Uh, you've represented central Ohio for many years, both the state and now congressional level. You've seen the region change through continued growth development. Everyone and their mom have now heard of the rhetoric around the transformational growth that Intel's investment in central Ohio is going to bring. But in your backyard, tell us about how your local communities and officials are, are grasping with the scope of both the infrastructure needs and the opportunity this presents, um, and, and how you're helping them work through that.
Congressman Troy Balderson:
Um, well, and sorry, I didn't say it before. Thanks for having me, Nick and Josh. The, you know, it is been watch, it's been fun to watch the transition, um, from the announcement in in January to where we are today. Um, a a group of constituents, uh, local leaders, uh, combined together and actually went out to Chandler, Arizona and to hear their responses coming back from that, which I'll kind of detail here in just a minute, but the, the anxiety level was very high when they announced it was first made. There was high excitement, but there was also, uh, a nervousness to what could potentially happen in these communities, um, as they're going to be impacted greatly and, you know, local officials elected, but also, you know, members of the community. Um, having those conversations, expressing their anxiety, what's going to happen, what's going to be next, what are we going to do?
And no one really having a true idea of what it was going to entail and, and the growth of this and what it's going to mean. So, um, you know, those first township trustee meetings, those first, you know, local community meetings, um, were full of a lot of questions and, and rightfully so. But, you know, here we are, you know, we're, we're almost four months past the announcement, as I said, uh, a group got together and the communities have, you know, more and more each day have come together and, you know, joining together, uh, because it's going to take that to do this and to make it successful. So a a large group, uh, went out to Channel Arizona last week, and, you know, as I've talked with them, as they've come back, um, you know, the deep sigh of relief of, of not, you know, of, of the nervousness. They know what they need to do, they know there's going to be more that they're going to need to do, but I think there's a little level, more level of confidence that they have the capability, uh, and the needs around the central high to get this done and do it correctly.
Yeah, and you know, and thank you, uh, for joining, you know, as a constituent, it's very nice to be able to have these kind of conversations with you and, and, you know, your being around the district has been tremendous in helping that kind of nervousness. You know, people know that they can go to you, and as, as Nick mentioned, obviously you've represented the area, both federal and state level. And I think that gives you a real unique insight on government's role in, in this, uh, development and attracting these. And obviously Ohio took steps to attract intel, you know, but what are some of the other areas federal government, uh, needs to address to ensure that these type of projects are done in the US and not overseas? And then additionally to that, you know, are there other issues that you, the Ohio delegation are working on to ensure that Ohio really does remain competitive in going after these projects?
Congressman Troy Balderson:
Josh, I think the biggest thing right now, and, um, that's, you know, going through Congress is the CHIPS Act currently is what we're dealing with right now. Obviously, the, the Senate had a version, the House came out with their version. Um, the Senate version was out last year. Um, the house version just came out a couple months ago. Uh, so now that has gone to conference, um, and the conferences meeting. Uh, so that process is working through the, the goal is, uh, amongst that conference is to have this done by end of May. Uh, sometime the first, you know, first part of June. I hope we get there, that that's going to be the biggest investment. Um, and, and make sure that, you know, the United States is a major player in this semiconductor, um, realm. I mean, we've, we've lost it. I mean, you know, we're down to 12% of the production now, and in 15, 20 years ago, we had almost 40% of the production of the semiconductor.
So, uh, this CHIPS act, uh, which is a 52 billion investment in America. Um, and, and don't, look, I don't want people to look at it as, I know the dollar sounds high, but look at it from a national security standpoint. Um, you know, what values it's going bring to America. And it's important enough that, you know, the EU has even introduced its own CHIPS act. Also, they too also start out 52 billion, uh, here in the last month. They've gone down to 49 billion. Uh, but they're also going after this market. So, you know, the United States needs to step up here and, and get this done and, and, and move forward. Um, you know, from a local standpoint, and with the Ohio delegation, we're all working together. I mean, you have members that are on the probes committee, you have members on the TNI committee, um, obviously the Energy and Commerce Committee.
So those committees are playing a very valuable role. Um, Mr. Shat is actually on, on foreign affairs, and he's one of the ee uh, so, you know, it's a big play. Our end personally, you know, the projects that we're looking at is, um, you know, throughout that central high area. And just to, to lay down a, a map of, of how we can get this initial movement going right now. And, and obviously that big piece is infrastructure. So, uh, that, that's big. That's what we're focused on, uh, predominantly along with some other things. Uh, and I think the other thing that we need to look at with this whole CHIPS Act, and that money is just not for chips. Uh, it's the workforce development piece. And it's important, you know, I said it on the stage when we made the announcement, and this is a game changer for kids in this central higher region, and it includes, you know, within a 60 to 80 mile radius.
Uh, this gives them the opportunity, uh, not to have to leave the state of Ohio. They're going to have educational opportunities that are going to grow because the investment Intel's going to make, uh, the state's going to make, and, and the federal government's going to make, but they can stay here. And for every, you know, you're talking about 3000 jobs from Intel, but for every Intel job, there's four to six supplier positions that are going to follow that. So it's, it's a big deal. Um, it's encouraging, it's fun for me. Vocational schools are getting involved. That's something that I'm very passionate about. Uh, and, and we'll keep these educators abreast of that and what they need to do moving forward.
That's excellent. Yeah, we've, we're no strangers to, to the Ohio brain drain, where our, our higher education institutions, Ohio State, Cincinnati case, Western Reserve, you know, they're sending their brightest to Silicon Valley or New York and the different coasts. Now we can keep them here in the heartland.
Congressman Troy Balderson:
It, it's important, Nick and, and I, you know, again, I just, it it's, it's game changing for the kids and, and, you know, something else that's been kind of lost and, and as you're out in the district, as I, you know, go around the district and travel, you know, the major manufacturers that are here now, I mean, the one thing they're saying, they said, Dave, don't forget about us. Uh, you know, we still have workforce issues. We still have, you know, employee issues and, and Getty kids. And, um, you know, this will put a, this will put a strain on their, their workforce piece too, because obviously on a national level, I mean, we don't have enough people to fill jobs right now. And, and that's, that's a big problem. Uh, so, you know, the educational piece, moving from the vocational and, and the, the two year college to the, as you said, the four year college degree and a PhD from one of the major universities, uh, in central Ohio.
So we're excited about that. There. There's, you know, the, the two year programs that are right there in Licking County, you have cotc, uh, you have Zine State, uh, there's just so many opportunities there. So, you know, we're going to be focused on that too, and, and making sure that, um, those educators, those administrators, those educators are, are, are involved. And, and some of those I think went, I don't think, I know, went out to Chandler Arizona too, to speak to, um, you know, those type of colleges, technical college in four years. Uh, but then the high schools, I mean the, this is going to be a big deal to high schools too. So, uh, it's exciting
Transformation all over the place. Uh, you know, as you mentioned, this type of development and, and, and growth has been happening in central Ohio, and we're no stranger to innovative transportation projects and entities such as, you know, Coda one, Columbus, smart, Columbus, Mor. See, they've all been working on, you know, various projects over the last, you know, 10 years really to modernize and expand the capacity for the region. Obviously Intel is going to, um, is going to require even further growth. Your, your seat on the house transportation committee, you know, gives you some insight. What are some of the policies, projects that you're working on that you think really can come back to the district, um, that can help with the wraparound of, of the growth that's going to be required here?
Congressman Troy Balderson:
You know, I don't want to, you know, specifically say anything yet, Nick, just because I mean, we are working on some things. Um, and again, it goes back to more so the, the infrastructure piece, uh, that we're talking about. And, you know, it's just not roads and bridges, it's water, it's, it's the, you know, the wastewater, the, the sewer lines. I mean, as these communities grow the housing market, I mean, there's just so many things out there, you know, that we can throw into that whole infrastructure piece. But, you know, as I said earlier in the conversation, I mean, the main things that we want to really hyper focus on right now is that infrastructure piece. And, um, you know, we've had the opportunity here, I know where it is. But you know, more importantly, our, my legislative director, my friend Nate Zen's, been back, he's been out to the site.
Um, and, and Nate's working on those projects along with me. Uh, so he has a better understanding. I mean, you know, these are literally township roads. They're chip and seal roads. So, uh, getting to that. So those are some of the things that we're desperately looking at right now. And, um, I shouldn't say desperately looking at that's the wrong word, um, highlighting maybe, uh, that, you know, where we're focused on, but those projects, but this, you know, from the site area, but also surrounding that site, area of what it'll be. Um, you know, and I got to throw in there too, I mean, the one piece that I really want to get to direction changing and, and working with the port authorities, um, from other local communities is just to make sure that we just don't invest everything from the west to the east, but also bringing in the east to the west.
Um, because I think that's a major player of where a lot of the employment's going to be coming from. And, you know, the lack of infrastructure, you know, east of central Ohio, um, needs some attention too. So we can collaborate and make it all work together. And, and again, just working with those communities, Nate and I had the opportunity to meet, uh, with a mayor from, um, a county that, you know, we'll be, we'll be representing, um, and the excitement that he shared, but he also talking about, you know, it was an infrastructure, it was a roadies, you pertaining to what the intel piece will be.
Well, we are, uh, excited. We're thankful to have you representation out there for many years to come as this project and, and others move along. And, uh, I think we're, we're excited to see, uh, your continued collaboration with, uh, with our locals as well as our, our federal officials out here to keep central Ohio growing. So, want to thank you for spending some time with us today and, uh, appreciate all that you do and just keep doing it.
Congressman Troy Balderson):
Hey, thank you Nick, Josh, good to see you both and, and thank you for what you guys do and, uh, look forward to catching up soon. Thank you. Thank you. See you.
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