Thursday, February 08, 2001

Blessing wants job in Bush energy agency

By Howard Wilkinson
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        State Sen. Louis Blessing, a Colerain Township Republican facing the end of his 17-year career in the Ohio General Assembly, is seeking a post in the Bush administration's Energy Department.

        Mr. Blessing said Wednesday he has applied for the job of chief legal counsel to Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, a former U.S. senator from Michigan.

        “I don't know that I'll get it; there's probably a bunch of people who have applied,” said Mr. Blessing.

        He was elected last fall to a second four-year term in the 8th Ohio Senate District, which includes most of western Hamilton County.

        The 51-year-old Republican served in the Ohio House from 1983 until 1996, when he took over the state Senate seat vacated by the retirement of then-Ohio Senate President Stanley Aronoff.

        Ohio's term limits law will prevent him from running for another term in the Ohio Senate in 2004.

        While in the House, he was chairman of the public utilities committee, which he said sparked his interest in energy issues.

        In the Senate, he has been chairman of the Ways and Means committee and a close ally of Ohio Senate President Richard Finan, R-Evendale.

        “With term limits, I decided to start looking around for something else,” Mr. Blessing said.

        “I think the Energy Department will be an exciting place to be over the next four years,” Mr. Blessing said. “The Clinton administration has had no national energy policy, and the Bush administration is committed to having a clear policy, especially now after what has happened with the power crisis in California.”

        Before going to the legislature in 1983, he was a Colerain Township trustee and a common pleas court referee.

        If Mr. Blessing were to get the job, the Republican majority in the Senate - led by Mr. Finan - would appoint his replacement, with input from the county Republican Party.


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