Republican State Senator Jay Hottinger is stepping away from politics after 31 years when his term is up at the end of the year. He says he loves his job representing District 31, which includes Tuscarawas, Coshocton, Licking and part of Holmes County. However, he has reached the term limit for the seat. Hottinger says he considered pursuing other public offices.
“If I had the opportunity to be able to run again for re-election, I would do that in a heartbeat, but that is not an option because of Ohio’s term limit law,” he said. “As opposed to seeking another office I just thought now is probably as good of a time as any to just take a step back and recognize that I was serving and helping people before I was in elected office, and I will continue to do that afterward.”
Hottinger has served in both the House and Senate. He never missed a floor vote in 30 of his 31 years in office, sometimes missing vacations with his wife.
“But one year she went to Italy, and I was like, ‘I’m going,’” he said. “So I missed three voting sessions that year, but 30 of my 31 years I’ve been blessed to have good health.”
He says the past couple of years have been difficult. In past interviews he said he’s been sworn at and threatened over his support of some of the governor’s coronavirus policies.
“Of my 31 years the last two – because of COVID, because of some of the reaction to that – have been some of the most frustrating, challenging and demanding times,” he said.
Hottinger says he likes the idea of going out on an economic development high note. Last week, microchip manufacturer Intel announced plans to build a $20 billion, 10,000-plus-job facility in Licking County – Hottinger’s home county.
“It’s a great swan song for me to wind my public service career down on,” he said. “Not only is it the largest economic development project in Ohio’s history but it will be the largest economic development project in North America this year in 2022.
“It goes back a little bit, but 17 years ago I provided the funding and was instrumental in widening 161, which is where all that development is taking place.”
Hottinger is 52. He says he’s going to continue living in Newark and remain involved in the area, just not in an elected position for now.
He would like to see Tuscarawas County Commissioner Al Landis take over his state Senate seat.
“I really don’t want to have to hand the baton off to anyone. I wish I could take another lap and keep the baton and stay,” Hottinger said. “But since I can’t do that, there’s no better person that I think can continue the work that we’re doing than Al Landis.”