Family Run Ohio-bred Harness Racing
"It is the interests of the working man with which we must be concerned.
When the American people work, save, and invest, America prospers."
William McKinley campaign for the presidency 1896
a return to common sense family-friendly business regulation
Not too long ago, families were the main movers behind a thriving horse based industry in Ohio. The value of harness racing
alone to thousands of Ohio families and hundreds of thousands of horse enthusiasts both young and old , provided numerous family outings and accounted for hundreds of millions of dollars to our rural and agricultural economy annually.
Activities involving horses have a great deal of depth to them. Consider, for example, what it takes to train racers, breeders, and the horses themselves, coupled with the knowledge it takes to raise horses, care for and feed them and provide veterinary services, and to transport them.
Like any other industry, each and every aspect of this voluntary activity impacts upon our economy.
A useful comparison states that corn from combine to end user; such as corn flakes or to the distillery, touches 8 people on its way to market. On the other hand, if that corn from the field is going to be used for horses it touches 83 people as it impacts our economy.
Surely, there is room in our state economy for an industry that impacts 83 people as there is for an industry that touches 8.
If we believe in family run small and medium sized businesses, then why was the opportunity for family run stable operations regulated to the point where it became unsupportable by the small operator?
I am committed to understanding the problems which stand in the way of a vibrant Ohio-bred horse industry that is amenable to the family run as well as medium sized business operations.
Handicapping at the level most appropriate to a family run business should be one based on fastest run time within a certain period, and not on the more easily manipulated winnings, or purse achieved, over a specified time period.
While thousands of family run stables have been regulated out of business, and hundreds of thousands of workers and fans have had their livelihood and sport taken away, permit holders have increased their take from 15.5% to 22.5%.
The way forward, is to convene a series of meeting around the state where those interested in family run harness racing operations can discuss the issues involved, write them up, and then meet with the regulators to formulate reasonable controls that will allow the small operator to participate in this sport again.
As we begin this journey, it should be understood that some legislation might be called for. If so, there has not been for a very long time a legislature more open to the needs of small businesses than the current one.
This is the time to organize and bring back year-around family run Ohio-bred harness racing to this state.
Eric LaMont Gregory
Republican Party Candidate for US Senate