Longtime Ohio newspaperman Tom Niehaus of New Richmond was sworn in Monday, Jan. 3 as president of the Ohio Senate.
Senator Niehaus represents the 14th Senate District of Ohio, including Adams, Brown, Clermont, Scioto and a portion of Lawrence County.
His legislative career began in 2001, when he was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives.
In November 2008, he was elected to his second term in the Ohio Senate. Niehaus has quickly risen through the ranks, as demonstrated by his service on the influential Senate Finance and Financial Institutions Committee, his appointment as vice chair of the Senate Committee on Government Oversight and by his unanimous election to President Pro Tempore – the number two post in the 33-member chamber. His committee assignments also include the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review, Education, Environment and Natural Resources, Reference and Rules committees.
Prior to entering public service, Niehaus made his career in the newspaper business. He spent 10 years with Harte Hanks Communications and 15 years (10 as an editor/publisher) with Community Press, a network of 27 community newspapers serving the Greater Cincinnati area.
Niehaus is a graduate of Xavier University, where he earned his MBA and The Ohio State University, where he earned his bachelor’s in journalism.
Niehaus has earned a reputation around Capitol Square as more of a policy workhorse. A 2007 “Rating the Legislators” article in Columbus Monthly magazine put it, “Some try to accumulate power by talking; Niehaus does it by listening.”
In a story this week by The Cincinnati Enquirer, fellow Clermont County Commissioner Bob Proud said he and his colleagues meet monthly with Niehaus to discuss legislative issues of local concern. "He's very pragmatic," Proud said of Niehaus. "Tom is very upfront with you on whether ... something can be done about the situation."
A fiscal conservative, Niehaus has been named a “Watchdog of the Treasury” three times and has worked to keep taxes low and to make government more efficient. He has demonstrated his wide legislative range through his leadership on improving the delivery of human services and strengthening consumer protection laws. For example, he has become the Republican Senate Caucus’ point man on Medicaid issues; has been the primary sponsor of priority bills designed to reform the state’s foster care system, and crafted a comprehensive identity theft bill that offers new protections for all Ohioans.
Niehaus joins Manchester Republican Doug White, who became Ohio Senate president in January 2003, as two rural southwest Ohio lawmakers to hold the powerful post in Columbus in the past eight years.
Sen. Niehaus and his wife, Emily, live on a farm near New Richmond. They have three children and six grandchildren.