August & September 2014
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A forum for discussion, learning from others’ experiences, coordinating plans, coming to consensus on policy issues. These are reasons that individual members join TMACOG, and they are also why TMACOG is an active member of the Ohio Association of Regional Councils (OARC).

OARC is a strongly knit group that represents about 98 percent of Ohioans. The Ohio association comprises 23 agencies serving more than 1,500 municipalities, villages, townships, and counties and representing more than 10 million residents of those communities around the state. Some of the members are Metropolitan Planning Organizations like TMACOG with primary responsibilities for transportation. Some are economic development organizations or special authorities. There are six Areawide Water Quality Management Planning Agencies including the TMACOG region.

"What (OARC) members have in common
   is a desire to support each other."

  -TMACOG President
    Anthony L. Reams

TMACOG President Anthony Reams said, “OARC members represent the entire state from urban areas to Appalachia. Some members have well-established financial support and some are bare bones operations of a director and one part-time person. What members have in common is a desire to support each other.” OARC publishes a public policy agenda each year. According to OARC leadership, “This strategic agenda is a collective voice and proactive framework used to assertively advocate the issues, policies, and interests” of OARC members directly to Governor Kasich, his administration, and the elected officials in the Ohio State House and U.S. Capitol.

As an example of collective voice and consensus, Reams cited questions of shale oil and its extraction and regulation. While the shale industry is very important to northern and eastern Ohio, it’s less critical to the rest of the state. However, OARC members came to agreement to speak with one voice on the issue. The Ohio Conference on Freight, which has been a project of TMACOG since 2007, originated out of discussions among OARC members. TMACOG was instrumental in forming the OARC Communications Committee and TMACOG Director of Communications Peggy Ricard was one of two first co-chairs of that committee, serving with Laura Koprowski, Senior Communications Manager at Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission.

With a strong state-wide organization, OARC members are influential at the national level. Each year the National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) recognizes one council leader for professional and executive management excellence with the Walter Scheiber Leadership Award. For three consecutive years, the winner has been from Ohio. TMACOG’s Anthony Reams won the Walter Scheiber Leadership Award in 2011. The current president of NARC represents the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments. Five other Ohio representatives are part of the NARC Executive Directors Council. Anthony Reams currently represents NARC’s Ohio and Michigan district on the council.

As part of its work to ensure that members are heard at the state level, OARC will host the Ohio Gubernatorial Conference for OARC member organizations August 22 at the Hilton at Easton Town Center in Columbus. Governor John Kasich and opponent Ed FitzGerald have been invited to make presentations and take questions.

Anthony Reams said, “Our membership in OARC is important to serving our members at the state and federal level. We work hard to facilitate regional decision making in our northwest Ohio counties of influence and we extend that philosophy to the state through our participation in OARC.”

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