As a voice of moderation and an advocate for Greater Cleveland’s interests in Columbus, state Sen. Matt Dolan, a Chagrin Falls Republican, has been an asset for this region during the last four years as a state senator — as he was in his earlier stint in the Ohio House. (Dolan left the House in 2010 to run unsuccessfully for Cuyahoga County executive.)
A lawyer, Dolan’s gifts for complex budgeting and compromise were recognized in the Senate — as they had been in the House — when he was named last year to chair the powerful Senate Finance Committee. Dolan, 55, takes deserved credit for the Senate’s unanimous bipartisan vote in June 2019 on a compromise two-year budget. Such budget bipartisanship is rare.
He’s helped bring money back to local school districts and governments, fulfilling a pledge when he first ran for the Ohio Senate four years ago. Nor has Dolan hesitated to take on tough assignments, trying to find a reasonable middle ground on such thorny issues as gun reform and renewable energy policy in a Statehouse dominated by conservative downstate Republicans.
Dolan is the chief sponsor of Senate Bill 221, the STRONG Ohio bill, embodying Gov. Mike DeWine’s proposed gun reforms in the wake of last year’s mass shooting in Dayton. The bill remains mired in committee, but Dolan says he’s been working hard behind the scenes to build bipartisan support for the legislation, and promises a new push in the lame-duck session.