November 26, 2018

Who Is The New Senate Education Committee Chair, Jeff Raatz?

Original story from   IPBS-RJC

Article origination IPBS-RJC
Sen. Jeff Raatz represents the state’s 27th senate district, which includes Randolph, Wayne and Union counties, on the eastern side of the state.  - (Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News)

Sen. Jeff Raatz represents the state’s 27th senate district, which includes Randolph, Wayne and Union counties, on the eastern side of the state.

(Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News)

Leadership in the state Senate is changing drastically for the first time in more than a dozen years, including a new leader for the chamber's education committee.

Sen. Jeff Raatz (R-Centerville) became a lawmaker four years ago, and now he's taking on a new role: Education and Career Development Committee chair.

Raatz has been the committee's second-in-command for the past few years, and worked on the school safety bill lawmakers approved during a special session in May. But career and technical education also rank high on his list of priorities.

"It's old news - workforce development - but absolutely something that's center stage," he says.

Raatz says it's too early to say whether he'll support bills focused on more controversial things like discrimination in voucher schools or how to pay for teacher raises, but wants to keep his door open.

"My focus at least initially as I step into this position, will be to work collaboratively together, to see a finished product," he says.

Raatz plans to meet with other members after committee assignments are finalized to set the tone for how he hopes to lead the committee.

But for now, he says he's looking forward to having former chair Sen. Dennis Kruse (R-Auburn) remain on the committee as a type of mentor, as he takes on the pressure that comes with his new title.

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