Ohio Senate President Keith Faber promoted independence at the Seneca and Sandusky County Lincoln Day Dinner Monday.
Faber, who lives in Celina, represents the 12th District, which encompasses Allen, Champaign, Mercer and Shelby counties, along with sections of Auglaize, Darke and Logan counties. He began his term as president in January.
In his keynote speech, Faber commended President Abraham Lincoln and President Ronald Reagan for their Republican values.
He said many Americans dismissed Lincoln and Reagan for being "second rate" and both were initially considered unfit for the position.
Even with negative sentiments, Faber said both faced war and came out as "confident leaders."
"That's something our current president seems to lack," Faber said.
He also said his intentions in government are the result of caring for his children and that he tried to be a parent first.
"We (he and his wife) believe that it's our job as parents to give our kids that opportunity," he said. "When we go forward and we think about why we do what we're doing we do it because it makes a difference, we believe, for our future and for our kids' future."
He said improving the outlook for his children began three years ago.
Ohio was in a deficit of about $8 billion and was consistently losing jobs, while companies were leaving Ohio and the unemployment rate for Seneca County was 14.4 percent, he said.
"Frankly, Ohio had very little hope," he said. "Ohioans said it was time for a change."
Faber said Ohioans turned to the Republican Party to fix the economy after Gov. Ted Strickland's term ended.
So far, Faber said the changes have been good.
The $8 billion deficit was eliminated without utilizing a tax increase. He also said taxes have been lowered, including a $2.7 billion tax cut that gave 10 percent back to every Ohioan and 50 percent to every small business owner for the first $250,000 of their income.
Also included in the changes were the overhaul in job creation, making Ohio one of the top states in the nation for job creation, he said. Ohio's credit rating also has improved while the nation's rating declined, Faber said.
Faber said the Ohio House and Senate have been working together more now than they did in the past.
"88.9 percent of all the bills that we pass in the General Assembly and out of the Senate have been on a bipartisan basis," he said.
He said bipartisanship has been gained by making choices clear.
"You can govern if you're willing to do it with principle and you're willing to do it with integrity," he said. "We're showing that it can be done here in Ohio."
He said Ohio picked the "right path" of reducing the government and lowering taxes.
"We did it using conservative Republican principles," he said. "Ohio's doing better. We certainly are better. But it's still not good enough. We still have opportunities."
He said those opportunities should be taken by the Republican Party, and he hoped that the country would accept and reinforce the principles valued by Lincoln and Reagan.
"As Republicans, we care about people. We care about individuals," he said. "That's why we believe that those who succeed by taking chances should have the opportunity to be rewarded for it. It's about individuals. It's not about the collective."
He said helping people to be independent was more important than promoting dependence.
"We need to continue to give our kids and grandkids power of independence," he said. "That's what this fight's all about."
U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan also spoke at the dinner and said the country was engaged in a fight and he did not want the "left to bring us down."
Jordan said if the Republican Party could gain six seats in the U.S. Senate, the Republican Party would regain its control.
"Think about how you fundamentally change the dynamic in American politics if Barack Obama can no longer hide behind Harry Reid," Jordan said.
He said supporting other states such as Alaska and Montana in their elections was important to regain Republican power in the Senate.
Jordan encouraged attendees to "fight for the principles that matter" and help Republican candidates around the country secure not only seats in the U.S. Senate but the House of Representatives.