COLUMBUS, OHIO – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) attended a forum today with African American Ministers at Second Baptist Church in Columbus. Brown was joined by Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray. Rev. Howard T. Washington hosted the forum, which focused on education, healthcare, housing, the economy, and other issues important to Central Ohio.
“From inventor Granville T. Woods to Rev. Ezekiel Fields, Columbus is home to the scientific, religious, and civic leadership that helps create a great community,” Brown said. “Meeting with clergy and community leaders helps address the needs of Ohio’s many communities. Today we discussed ways in which we can jointly move forward our mission of strengthening the economy, providing affordable housing and foreclosure prevention, while also bolstering educational opportunities in our state.”
Recently, Sen. Brown announced more than $800,000 in Community Challenge Planning grants for urban redevelopment in Columbus. The funds will help to provide increase access to fresh food in Weinland Park.
Brown is the author of critical legislation that would improve the livability of Ohio communities and direct federal assistance to communities with a high concentration of vacant and abandoned homes due to major population and job loss. A version of Brown’s Community Regeneration, Sustainability, and Innovation Act, which he first introduced in 2009 with Rep. Tim Ryan (OH-17), was included as an amendment to the Livable Communities Act of 2010. This legislation would create a new, competitive grant program within the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) targeted toward cities and metropolitan areas experiencing large-scale property vacancy and abandonment due to long-term employment and population losses.
Brown is a leading proponent of providing assistance to communities affected by the housing crisis and population loss. He fought for the creation of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 and the continuation of the program in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. In Sep. 2008, Brown announced that Ohio communities would receive more than $258 million in NSP funds authorized by the housing bill. In Sep. 2009, Brown wrote to Secretary Donovan in support of Ohio applicants to the second wave of funding through the NSP program.
Attendees discussed ways to improve education. In August, Ohio was one of ten states to receive Race to the Top Funding from the U.S. Department of Education. Ohio was awarded $400 million which will be distributed over the next four years. Brown wrote a letter of support to US. Dept. of Education Secretary Arne Duncan to help turn around persistently low-achieving schools. In July, Brown, along with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), introduced legislation to promote student achievement. The DIPLOMA Act responds to research by arming local leaders to identify and address the barriers students face so they can meet rigorous standards in the classroom and reach their full potential. More information on the bill can be found HERE.
During the State Work Period in August and September, Brown traveled around Ohio meeting with small business owners and workers as part of his “Made in Ohio Tour.” With the top priority of creating Ohio jobs, Brown is fighting for a multi-pronged effort to promote economic development. The key components of Senator Brown's jobs strategy are:
• Promoting the expansion of Ohio businesses by strengthening small business lending programs and aiding President Obama's goal to significantly boost U.S. exports.
• Transitioning away from our dependence on foreign oil to a clean energy future in which jobs are centered in the small businesses, manufacturing facilities, and universities of Ohio.
• Developing Ohio's workforce so that Ohioans are prepared to fill the jobs of the 21st century and revitalizing the state's infrastructure to attract those global industries.
• Making sure that Ohio industry isn't undermined due to unfair trade by pursuing remedies to counteract China's currency manipulation and subsidization of domestic industries.