Where does Joe stand on the issues affecting everyday families?
Lake Erie is, without question, our state's most important natural resource, and our District's most important as well. It also tops the list economically, bringing in $1.3 billion dollars in 2016, according to Lake Erie Shores and Islands. That equates to over 13,000 jobs.
Yet we see NO ACTION from local representation to PROTECT AND PRESERVE Lake Erie. No proposed legislation in the last two years has been sponsored by our local state elected officials. With another Algae Bloom looming in the late summer of 2017 (third worst on record), we are still left waiting and hoping that action will be taken to keep our livelihoods in tact. As our source of drinking water and largest economic driving force in northern Ohio, Lake Erie deserves more attention. Unfortunately cozying up to Mega Donors like Ginni Ragan has been more important than providing clean drinking water to our communities.
As Representative, I will make Lake Erie's health and survival a DAY ONE GOAL, proposing Legislation to ensure it has adequate funding from the state, regardless of the current General Assembly and federal government's inaction.
Ohio embarrassingly ranks 41st out of 50 in public education (U.S. News and World Report). School districts continue to suffer as the Legislature and Governor consolidate rainy day dollars and shift taxes at the expense of our children and educators. State level tax cuts look great in the media, but that money needs to come from somewhere. Next to every tax cut from the General Assembly is a cut to a public service. In this case schools lose state funding and have to levy taxes onto residents to continue operating. This shifts the target from the backs of the Columbus Establishment and paints it on local leaders. Even worse, pay to play scandals provide for failed opportunities like ECOT, which stole $572,557 from the schools in the 89th House District.
As Representative, I will work tirelessly to see that ALL school districts are safe, secure, and equitably funded. Our children are our future, and it is our RESPONSIBILITY to prepare them for tomorrow. This is something that all people, from all walks of life and any political party can agree on.
Joe also has a plan to get high schoolers "right to work." We have coined the term not in the sense of stealing the rights to organize, but rather to provide real opportunities for teenagers to walk right to work in the workforce. Currently our state says they support this concept, however, there are numerous trade jobs available, and any Union you speak with will tell you they are understaffed. Joe will work to increase vocational school funding to provide these opportunities.
People deserve jobs. More importantly, people deserve jobs that will help them support themselves and their families. Our minimum wage hasn't scaled with our economy, all the while large corporations continue feeding dollars in to executive compensation at the expense of their workers. Joe will work with local businesses, economic development agencies, and communities to determine strategies to bring more jobs to our region, increase the minimum wage, and take that FIGHT to Columbus.
Joe BELIEVES that Labor Unions are a PILLAR of a strong economy, and STRONG LABOR UNIONS are beneficial to the success of our communities. Joe will work ardently to continue securing the success of these organizations by working with Unions and ensuring their organization health and security.
Joe will also fight to KEEP the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station afloat. Current representation buckled under the political weight of pending legislation, and Joe will not buckle. Losing 700 jobs is far worse than losing political capital, and Joe will fight tirelessly to ensure it's survival.
Finally, we need to better prepare our young adults to fill the needs of the workforce. It's clear that college over trades has failed, and Joe has, and will continue to, place significant emphasis on vocational training. We need to put more high school graduates "right to work."
Taxes have gone up despite what current leaders want you to think. They have voted to REDUCE Local Government Fund dollars, funds that the state pays local communities to operate. No doubt we have all seen local funding for our schools reduced. Again, our taxes have gone up as a result. State tax cuts are really "tax shifts," praising themselves at the state level while dumping the burden on local communities.
Every shortfall to funding any of our local organizations, whether it be your schools or your community, will at some point require those funds TO BE REPLACED TO CONTINUE OPERATIONS. While it looks fiscally responsible at the state level, really they are TAKING THE TARGET OFF OF THEIR BACKS and passing it off on local leaders to increase taxes on their residents.
As Representative of the 89th District, I will use my experience as Mayor to work to restore original funding of the Local Government Fund. I will fight to bring OUR TAX DOLLARS back home where they belong, and ensuring that the State pays it's fair share to reinvest our tax dollars in our communities.
In the 80's the Federal government spent billions of dollars to pay for new waste water treatment plants across the country. While this was great, in the years following these dollars dwindled off, and communities were left to their own demise to maintain these multi-million dollar facilities. Today, communities struggle under the weight of these costs, and the near constant changes coming from the Federal and Ohio EPA. Despite being a very known fact that phosphorus is a main contributor, the State has continuously FAILED to provide adequate funding to communities to pay for upgrades to prevent this issue. Our residents then contend with basements flooded with sewage, streets impassable, and treatment plants overwhelmed.
As a Mayor I see the struggles that wastewater employees face each day, operating systems far beyond their original capability or capacity. As Representative, I will use my municipal government experience to propose legislation to increase necessary funding to our communities to treat our water, which inevitably protects our lake and ensuring clean drinking water.
Our government is broken. We DESERVE leadership that regularly goes out in to the community to solicit OUR opinions and thoughts on legislation, not wait for us to go to them. There is no communication between our elected representatives and us when a vote is about to come up on an issue. A WELL INFORMED PUBLIC is essential to government, and that burden cannot only rest on the public. Our officials FAIL at communicating these issues with our communities.
This is ABSOLUTELY UNACCEPTABLE. As Representative, I will continue my work in rebuilding TRUST and COMMUNICATION with our communities. I will regularly communicate via social media, contact local press regularly to inform them of pending legislation in the House, hold regularly scheduled Town Halls, whether in person or virtual, and make myself absolutely accessible to you. This is what I have done as Mayor, and Oak Harbor has benefited greatly. Why? Because a WELL INFORMED PUBLIC returns power back to the people, not special interests.
While the legislature debates de-funding Planned Parenthood, and RESTRICTING the reproductive rights of women, our communities and families struggle daily with the repercussions of opiate abuse. While the State has recently set aside $35 million dollars to combat this issue, it HAS NOT determined if or how these funds will be used, or if they will even be returned these funds to the local communities responsible for fighting this epidemic.
The House and Senate are also attacking our MOST VULNERABLE residents by RESTRICTING Medicaid. The Republican-controlled House, and our elected officials, voted to PREVENT our struggling neighbors the opportunity to obtain healthcare when THEY NEED IT THE MOST.
As Representative, I will not vote to restrict Medicaid for our neighbors, friends and family who need it, and I will work with others in the House to restore this essential right. I will also stand up for community healthcare centers that provide free, or reduced cost care to women, family planning advice for families, especially those stricken by poverty. We should be DEFENDING our residents, not attacking their RIGHT TO LIVE.
The GOP majorities in many states across the country take it upon themselves to stifle opposition in many ways, with the most egregious being voting. As a victim of voter purging, I was removed from the rolls as a voter while serving as an active duty Infantryman in the Army. I came home from defending the right to vote, to find that my own right had not been protected. The right to not vote is as important as the right to vote, and is a powerful voice as well. We don't arbitrarily remove the right to bear arms due to choosing not to exercise it, nor should we remove someone's right to vote. It truly is the right that guarantees all other rights. I will fight to promote automatic voter registration, so that the right to vote is there if you wish to exercise it. Further, I will work with colleagues to strike down Ohio's policy of voter purging, so that no other Ohioan has to feel the shame that I felt when I was told I wasn't allowed to exercise a fundamental American right.
Our State has fought to restrict progress in our communities. The Legislature is worried about PROTECTING SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS over defending the fundamental rights of ALL OF OUR CITIZENS. As such, women's rights ARE ALWAYS under attack. Current representation has been RELENTLESS in it's assault on the reproductive rights of women. Our officials have decided that they have the right to CONTROL a woman's body and the decisions she makes. A woman's right to choose isn't important to our Legislature, where both chambers are DOMINATED by men.
The LGBTQ community is discriminated against under the guise of conservative values. Failing to take action on HB 160, which would offer protections regarding sexual orientation or gender identity from discrimination in housing, employment and other areas is appalling. Instead of defending our residents, the House chose to let this bill die in committee.