Wagoner Credits Moritz for Success as Legislator
Although it has been only five years since he first entered the Ohio political arena as a state representative, Senator Mark Wagoner ’97 has already garnered an accomplished political resume. He has received numerous accolades recognizing his commitment to public service and he has successfully passed significant state legislation. His wide range of leadership positions in the Ohio General Assembly include his selection as majority whip and vice-chairman of the Senate Finance Committee just one year after his election to the senate.
It’s no wonder his successful political career began during his law school days at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.
“Moritz had a huge impact on my life,” Wagoner said. “It prepared me for the public arena in a bunch of different ways.”
From the substantive class material to the alumni connections, Wagoner, whose first elected position was president of the Student Bar Association, credits his Moritz education as the “catalyst for going to public service.”
“Being challenged in the classroom and having to think on your feet, having to defend difficult and complex positions, are all skills that really help in the Ohio Senate,” he said.
As a senator representing the 2nd District, which includes Erie, Wood, and parts of Ottawa and Lucas counties in northwest Ohio, Wagoner has translated his Moritz pride into his political agenda by making education one of his main priorities.
“I’ve been proud to play a part in what many think is a renaissance in higher education in Ohio,” he said. “Higher education is the key to revitalizing Ohio.”
Wagoner is dedicated to making higher education more affordable and accessible to Ohio students. As co-chair of the Ohio Tuition Trust Authority Board of Directors, he is working to revise the state’s 529 college savings plan to allow parents to prepay their children’s college tuition. Wagoner is also particularly proud to have sponsored House Bill 478, which legalized the first merger between two major public universities in the history of the state of Ohio, the merger between the University of Toledo and the Medical University of Ohio. Of all the legislation he has supported, he believes this bill made the biggest impact in his district.
“By merging the two, you created synergies that strengthened both The University of Toledo and the Medical University of Ohio,” he said. “The merger is a good example of bringing together people from different institutions, different histories and traditions, and sometimes different agendas. The merger has been a great success. It made a real and tangible difference in our community.”
Having had a successful run in state politics, Wagoner has decided not to pursue reelection when his term ends in 2012 in order to return full-time to his law practice at Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP, where he is now a partner. Wagoner has been with his firm since he graduated from Moritz. He practices business and franchise litigation, with a heavy emphasis on trial work. He also plans to spend more time with wife, Merideth, and two children, Mickey and Taylor. Nevertheless, Wagoner said he “wouldn’t trade the experience in the Ohio General Assembly for anything.”
“It’s a wonderful position,” he said. “Every day, you meet interesting people from all around our great state. You also get a world-class education in a wide variety of different areas. And, hopefully, you get to look back on your career and say you helped to improve the quality of life in your community.”