GETAWAY, Ohio — Lawrence County Auditor Jason Stephens was selected Monday to fill out the unexpired term of Ryan Smith, who resigned last week to take over as president of Rio Grande University and Rio Grande Community College.
Stephens, 48, has to resign as county auditor to take the 93rd District seat in the Ohio House of Representatives. He planned to announce his resignation at a Lawrence County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, Oct. 8, in South Point.
House Speaker Larry Householder, R-Glenford, announced that Stephens was selected by the House Majority Caucus to represent Gallia and Jackson counties, the eastern half of Lawrence County and part of Vinton County.
“I am extremely honored and humbled to be selected,” Stephens said. “I will work extremely hard to represent the good people of the 93rd District. I look forward to serving and doing my best.”
He will be sworn in Thursday in Columbus, according to a news release from Householder’s office.
“Jason Stephens has a strong record of community service both as a small businessman and in local office,” Householder said. “He has the experience to hit the ground running and represent his constituents in the Ohio House.”
It will be up to the board to name an interim replacement for Stephens as county auditor. Then it will be up to the county Republican Central Committee to name a replacement for Stephens until the office can be put back before voters.
Stephens put his name in for the legislative post last week. He met in Columbus on Monday with a panel of state representatives from Southern Ohio.
“It is an honor to serve Lawrence County as an elected county official for 20 years,” Stephens said earlier. He has served as county auditor since 2011. Prior to that, he served three terms as a Lawrence County commissioner. He also currently serves as chairman of the county’s Republican executive committee.
Lawrence County hasn’t had a representative to serve in the Ohio House for about 25 years. Mark Malone was the last person from Lawrence County to serve in the state legislature.
He currently is a licensed insurance agent and owner at Stephens & Son Insurance Agency. Stephens received his bachelor’s degree in economic/finance and business management from David Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee.
Stephens and his wife, Julie, live in Getaway. They have three sons. He is a member of the Rome Church of Christ in Proctorville.