Oxley Government Center dedicated at museum

Hancock Historical Museum dedicated its Michael G. Oxley Government Center on Monday during a private ceremony attended by the former U.S. representative and Findlay native, and other dignitaries.

Oxley, 70, was joined by U.S. House Speaker John Boehner and U.S. Rep. Bob Latta in a brief presentation for the media before the ceremony. Gov. John Kasich was supposed to come, but was unable to when stormy Columbus weather prevented his flight, sources said.

When it opens later this summer, the two-room center on the museum’s second floor will  inspire youngsters in civic responsibility.

“We expect to have a lot of school kids through here,” Oxley said.

Young and old alike will touch screens to view video of Oxley discussing his congressional endeavors to help prevent fraud after the Enron and WorldCom financial scandals in the early 2000s, and efforts to modernize telecommunications and U.S. 30.

In one video segment, he recalls the chaos he experienced in Washington on Sept. 11, 2001, and the response by Congress to the terror attacks in the ensuing days and weeks. In another, he reminisces about his boyhood days and his dreams of serving in Congress and becoming president.

The Oxley Government Center is not only about Oxley, however.

Youngsters will enter a booth to vote on issues like whether they should have a curfew during summer.

In another kiosk, students will be quizzed and informed of what Findlay barbershop operator was a conductor on the Underground Railroad … Who opened Findlay’s first store … What Findlay native rescued 300 shipmates aboard the USS Franklin after a Japanese air strike in World War II.

The Congressional Study Room has a more stately feel with the desk of former U.S. Rep. Jackson Betts, of Findlay, flanked by U.S. and Ohio flags. A map on the wall behind the desk depicts the congressional district when Betts represented it from 1951 to 1973.

Also honored are other Findlay men who served as U.S. representatives from the district: Ralph D. Cole Sr., R. Clinton Cole, Tennyson Guyer, William Mungen and Oxley.

Courier reporter Lou Wilin will have more on Tuesday.

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