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Singer Pushes Lawmakers To Make “Ohio” State Country Song
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A northeast Ohio man is hitting the campaign trail to promote a cause thatâ€™s very personal to him: enshrining into state law a song he wrote about his home state.
The music was big and loud when the Ohio State University Marching Band stormed into the House chamber before a vote to make Hang On Sloopy the stateâ€™s official rock song.
But the campaign for the stateâ€™s official country song is a bit quieter.
Zach Paxson is a singer and songwriter from northeast Ohio. And heâ€™s on a campaign of his own, for his song â€œOhioâ€. He says he wrote on the way back from the University of Texas/Ohio State game in Austin in 2006.
â€œIt was the first time I felt this sense of Ohio pride, like ‘Wow, we come from a great place.’ On a Saturday at a Buckeyes game, thatâ€™s one thing in Columbus. But to be that far away from home and to see that I was really blown away. So I wrote the song on the plane coming home.â€
Paxson says the song got the attention of Democratic Rep. Nick Barborak of Lisbon near Youngstown after he played it at a fundraiser. Barborak introduced a bill to make Paxsonâ€™s â€œOhioâ€ the official state country song on November 5. Just eight days later, Republican Sen. Jim Hughes of Columbus introduced a bill to name as the official state country song â€œMy Wishâ€, by the platinum selling group Rascal Flatts, which was formed in Columbus. Paxson says â€œMy Wishâ€ shouldnâ€™t qualify as Ohioâ€™s official country song because it was in fact written by a Nashville-based songwriter originally from California.
â€œNot that â€˜My Wishâ€™ isnâ€™t a great song â€“ I love this song. My song, however â€“ â€˜Ohioâ€™ â€“ is written by me, a resident of Ohio, and itâ€™s about the state of Ohio.â€
Though they were introduced a little over a week apart last fall, the bill featuring Paxsonâ€™s song is further along in the process.
â€œItâ€™s House Bill 330 â€“ Ironically, which is my area code â€“ it wasnâ€™t planned out that way, but. And so we played for the committee here at the Statehouse.â€
That committee approved the bill, while the Rascal Flatts song measure has yet to have a hearing. Meanwhile, Paxson is touring, but also campaigning for his song through social media and his website. He says heâ€™s flattered the song is in consideration and that he has no expectations, but if the bill passed, heâ€™d be â€“ using his word â€“ â€œecstaticâ€.