It has been my highest honor to be able to give back to my community with a career in public service. Serving in the institutions of government is a solemn responsibility, as public policy impacts every family, person, business, school district or local municipality in critical ways every day. It would be a privilege to speak for you and your family in Columbus. I hope to earn your vote and your confidence to be your next State Representative for District 41.
LOCAL GOVERNMENTS AND OUR COMMUNITIES
Throughout the last 8 years, the state legislature has slashed nearly 50 percent of all state funding to our local communities. The draining of the Local Government Fund, a fund which has existed since 1930, has left counties, cities, towns, and villages to drastically reduce local services and raise local taxes on residents. This singular decision by the legislature has left local communities hurting, and longstanding supports for residents and businesses have evaporated. Because of the legislature's decision to withdraw support for our local communities, residents have shouldered the burden through increases in our local taxes. This must stop. Ohio's local governments need partners in Columbus, not adversaries, so that counties and cities can function once more without raising our taxes.
EDUCATION AND LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS
Our state legislature has systematically implemented big-government controls and ever changing mandates over local school districts. Local communities and their school boards should have the freedom to control their own schools, and to provide consistency and predictability for teachers, staff, students and families. We need less standardized testing and more room for creativity and career education in our local schools. I am proud to serve as the Vice President of the Board of Education the largest public school district in Montgomery County, and I am reminded on a daily basis that the state's "one size fits all" model for education simply doesn't work. Ohio's local public school districts need a partner, not a micromanager, in Columbus.
HEROIN, OPIOIDS & CRIME
As a former Deputy Clerk of Court in the largest municipal court system in Ohio, I've seen the impact that heroin and other opioids and narcotics are having on families and neighborhoods every single day. Montgomery County has received national attention as the epicenter of the heroin crisis. Our local legislative delegation should be leaders in this area, providing our courts, law enforcement, local municipalities, and community partners with the resources and flexibility needed to reverse this epidemic. Local residents struggling with addiction deserve treatment options that are both accessible and affordable. Additionally, our local governments need a restoration of state support to allow for more police officers to keep our neighborhoods safe. Reversing this epidemic will require a restoration of state partnerships with our local governments.
JOBS AND THE ECONOMY
Ohio needs a tax and regulatory structure that recruits job creators to the state, but also works to retain companies within state lines. Montgomery County led the state in job creation, but our local government need partners in Columbus. The state's neglect of local governments must be reversed if our region hopes to build more jobs and retain those that it has. Local governments are the epicenters of economic development, and such efforts require state and partnerships. Additionally, there are nearly 18,000 open jobs in the greater Dayton region, but our workforce must have the training and skills to fill the jobs. Ohio's community colleges play a vital role in career technical education, but our legislature continues to slash higher education funding. Now, more than ever, state government must be a partner with cities and job skills agencies and colleges to prepare our local workforce for opportunities.
A CLEAN ENVIRONMENT
A clean and healthy environment must be a priority. Ohio's citizens deserve clean water, clean air, and programs focused on sustainability and responsible practices. The legislature can play a vital role in ensuring that Ohio becomes a green energy leader while fostering an environment where green jobs are incentivized to locate and grow here in our state. Other states are leaving Ohio behind, but our state can change that. Additionally, all of Ohio would benefit from a legislature that partnered with state agencies towards a goal of promulgating and implementing environmentally friendly rules and regulations that hold polluters accountable. Economic development and smart environmental protections can exist together, achieving a balance that allows for job growth, job retention, and a clean environment for Ohio's future generations.
SENIORS AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
Ohio's seniors and people with disabilities deserve to be a priority in all policy impacting the state's population. Seniors and retirees are entitled to full pension benefits, accessible and affordable healthcare, and programs and resources needed to ensure a dignified life. Ohio's nursing homes and assisted living facilities must be safe places to live, and the legislature should play an active role in holding negligent or abusive facilities accountable. Additionally, the rights of people with disabilities to equal access, equal opportunity, and non-discrimination must be protected. Finally, children with disabilities are entitled to live and learn in classrooms that respect their hardships and afford them with protections, accommodations, and opportunities that allow for full and productive educational experiences.
Every single Ohioan deserves good healthcare. Right now, too many Ohio residents just can't afford the healthcare that they so desperately need. Accessibility and affordability for patients, not the dictates of the pharmaceutical industry, must govern the solutions offered by the legislature. Elected leaders in Columbus, too, have a responsibility to ensure that those with preexisting conditions are protected and not denied coverage. Ohio can be a leader in competitive insurance markets through strategic incentives. Families, individuals, and employers, too, deserve an environment where the ability to cross states lines for better insurance policies and more affordable prescription drugs is permissible.