IT'S TIME TO PASS THE TORCH
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This whole experience really highlights some of the issues facing Ohioans.
We are told to stay home if we are sick, but without paid leave, too many Ohioans can't afford to stay home.
Neither Ohio nor the federal government requires employers to offer any paid family or medical leave. That needs to change.
There are options for creating a paid leave program that is not costly for employers.
Too many Ohioans are living paycheck to paycheck and can't afford to miss a single day of work, let alone quarantine themselves for days on end.
As the Coronavirus spreads, many Ohioans have been forced to choose between their health and putting food on the table for their families
88% of Ohio’s minimum wage workers are over 20 years old - many have families to care for.
Someone who works full-time and earns minimum wage in Ohio still falls $3,500 short of the poverty level for a family of three
It is time to take a real look at how the state funds minimum wage, and come up with a solution which reflects that we are willing to take care of all residents ensuring every family in every neighborhood is given the resources they need to thrive and not just survive.
In additionally, testing for COVID should be free and accessible. Test results should not take longer for some people and shorter for others.
The ongoing Coronavirus crisis has highlighted not only the inequities within Ohio’s healthcare system, but also on the lack of resources currently directed to this critical issue. As we navigate this crisis going forward, we must work to expand affordable healthcare access, including preventative healthcare. This will allow all Ohioans to proactively focus on their health and also feel confident that they can see a doctor when they’re sick. Healthcare is a basic human need and right.
Right now, 300,000 rural Ohio households and 88,500 businesses do not have access to broadband internet. This slows economic development and limits employment opportunities.
Only 58% of Appalachian Ohioans have access to broadband internet. This includes hospitals and schools. 4/5 of Ohio's children are expected to do school work online. Many are not able to do so. This is unacceptable.
This should not be a partisan or political issues as it affects communities across our strate. We must work across the aisle to make progress on issues like this one.
We all believe children are the future, but how often do we invest in their lives right now? How often do we ask ourselves whether or not we’re doing our best to prepare them for what’s to come? I have experienced first hand that we are not asking these questions enough, in turn, unjustly damaging our future leaders. As an educator for over 8 years and a graduate of two Ohio schools, I have seen and experienced the lack of funding for student resources, teacher salaries, and college tuition. Over-extensive testing, lack of state and local control, and little to no accountability from lawmakers are also among the characteristics of a mismanaged school system. As we have seen with the budget balance during the pandemic, legislators first look to cut funding from an already underfunded education system, but this act is not isolated to this crisis. We can not properly prepare students to be successful citizens if the structure we are using to educate and prepare them is not properly equipped to do so.
Jobs and the Economy
Right now, nearly 70% of new Ohio jobs pay poverty-level wages.Over the past few months, thousands of Ohioans have lost their jobs. And thousands more were in danger of losing everything after missing just one paycheck during the Stay-At-Home order. This points to a much larger problem within Ohio’s economic system. Families are not bringing home enough money to survive off of a minimum wage income working full time, let alone the ability to continually live should an emergency arise. With the constant rise in economy, and not an incremental increase of paid wages, today’s low-wage earners earn less per hour than their counterparts would have over 50 years ago. It is estimated that if the head of a 3-person household works full time at minimum wage in Ohio, that family will live $3500 below the poverty line. It is time to take a real look at how the state funds minimum wage, and come up with a solution which reflects that we are willing to take care of all residents ensuring every family in every neighborhood is given the resources they need to thrive and not just survive.
At the current minimum wage of $8.55 per hour, 1 in every 6 Ohioans lives at or below the poverty level. Nearly 70% of new Ohio jobs pay poverty-level wages, making it impossible for someone who is working a full-time job to make a sufficient living. This is unacceptable. Many Ohioans have to choose each month whether they are going to eat or pay for a roof over their heads. To even begin closing the poverty gap, we need to at least start at $12 an hour, then increase the wage by 50 cents per year until we get to at least $15 per hour. From there, the minimum wage should then continue to be adjusted upward for inflation every year. This should be mandatory. This plan respects workers and small businesses alike. It allows business to adjust incrementally, and allows workers the ability to properly care for themselves and their families. It is past time for an improvement of Ohio’s economic security by raising the minimum wage.
District 20 has the distinct privilege of housing residents from all walks of life. There is beauty in the differences that make up its population. We have the responsibility to ensure that every person is celebrated, respected, and welcomed for their uniqueness regardless of Race, Sex, Gender, or Age. Equity is more than an equal playing field; it is ensuring each person gets what they need to be successful.
Community and Equity
If elected, I will work to encourage clean energy and to properly regulate the existing oil and gas industry to provide a clean environment for future generations and jobs for today’s workers. In order to move our state forward, Ohio needs to focus on diversifying our energy portfolio and supporting emerging technologies such as wind, solar, and energy efficiency. We must also introduce new bills to invest in green infrastructure and new water projects, both of which would create jobs for Ohio workers and secure a healthier future. Although necessary, I am strongly opposed to drilling in areas such our state parks and national forests, which should be protected for use by future generations. I will support bills / amendments to protect these areas.