This time every year we gather together as a community to enjoy the parades, festivals, barbecues and time with family and friends that are now a trademark of the Fourth of July.
While I enjoy the festivities, I particularly emphasize this special day because of the great impact this “American experiment” has had on the positive development of mankind. American independence is a turning point in history, and a symbol of growth, opportunity and the ability to make one’s life their own. To me this is worthy of remembering, reflecting on and celebrating today just as much now as when the Declaration of Independence was signed 242 years ago.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
These self-evident truths are built into the very DNA of who we are, not only as Americans, but as human beings. As we look around the world, it is apparent that our example has not been met by all, but great progress has been made.
Here in Ohio you do not have to look far to see America’s greatness embodied by the people of our state. Every day we take great strides to ensure Ohio is open for business, there are new and exciting job opportunities, and people are able to live free and prosperous lives on their own terms.
As I reflect on this day, I am especially proud of our recent work to reform Ohio’s criminal justice system by expanding the availability of alternatives to prison, promoting treatment for those who need it and helping ex-offenders to get their lives on track.
As a nation built on freedom, we should always be working to reduce the number of people incarcerated. I’m confident this bill will achieve its goal to reduce Ohio’s growing prison population by reducing recidivism and prison time for low-level, non-violent, non-sex offenders who significantly contribute to the prison population.
America certainly faced her fair share of challenges, but overall I am proud of what our nation has contributed, and I am optimistic about what our future holds. I hope you have a happy Fourth of July with your friends and loved-ones, and continue to carry on the great legacy of our predecessors by keeping the spirit of America alive and prosperous.