Welcome to OH-IO: A Primer on the Buckeye State

As the nation turns its eyes to Ohio this week, the Office of U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown is offering a primer for candidates, media and visitors coming to the state on the issues that are important to Ohio and its residents. Ohio has always played a crucial role on the national stage and Ohioans look forward to showing the world this week why our state will continue to shape our country’s history moving forward.  

The Issues:

The Dignity of Work

After President Trump came to the Mahoning Valley and told Ohioans not to move or sell their house because jobs are coming back to Ohio, GM unallocated its plant in Lordstown, Ohio. 4,500 GM workers at Lordstown were laid off and several area businesses were forced to close as a result. Lordstown workers and the Valley are still waiting for answers from GM. At the same time, UAW workers across the state are on strike as they fight for fair wages and better workplace conditions. While executive compensation is up and worker productivity is up, wages for workers remain flat and the GOP tax bill is rewarding the richest Americans and companies who ship jobs overseas.

That’s why Sen. Brown is encouraging candidates and elected officials across the state and across the country to fight for the Dignity of Work.

Infrastructure

Ohio ranks 11th in the country for number of bridges that are structurally deficient with 1,518 structurally-deficient bridges across the state. Despite promises from President Trump to replace the Brent Spence Bridge and to spend $1 trillion in infrastructure, Ohioans are still waiting for a meaningful investment from the federal government.

Sen. Brown has helped lead legislation to invest in Ohio’s bridges, ensure Buy America rules apply to all taxpayer-funded infrastructure projects and joined Senate Democrats to release a plan to invest the $1 trillion President Trump promised for infrastructure projects that would rebuild and repair the nation’s infrastructure while creating millions of construction jobs. 

It’s important for Ohioans to hear about plans to meaningfully invest in Ohio’s infrastructure and do so with American workers and American materials.

Healthcare

This month, Cleveland.com reported that twenty-nine percent of non-elderly adults in Ohio are at risk of losing their insurance due to preexisting conditions if a Trump administration lawsuit to overturn the Affordable Care Act is successful. The article cited a recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, which estimates that 53.9 million Americans and just under 2 million Ohioans could lose their health insurance.

Ohioans also rely on the Affordable Care Act as the state continues working to tackle the addiction epidemic in Ohio.  A recent study published by the Urban Institute found that states like Ohio that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have seen significantly better access to addiction treatment than states that chose not to expand the program. President Trump’s lawsuit would rip the rug out from under these patients in need of treatment.

Earlier this year, Sen. Brown listened to patients tell their stories after the Trump Administration announced it would be blocking Title X funding for healthcare organizations who give patients medically relevant information about their care and the full range of reproductive healthcare options. In 2017, Title-X funded healthcare providers served more than 98,000 Ohioans and 4 million people nationwide.

Ohio also ranks among some of the worst in the nation for African American infant mortality. In 2017, 982 black infants died before their first birthday. According to the Ohio Department of Health, in Ohio, while the deaths of white babies dropped in 2017, the death of black babies rose. 

Ohioans deserve a government that is going to protect their healthcare, not actively work to take it away, and one that invests in keeping ALL Americans and their families healthy. 

Lake Erie

Ohioans rely on Lake Erie for jobs, clean drinking water, and a place to enjoy with their families. Keeping Lake Erie clean is a top priority for Ohio businesses and residents alike. While President Trump has repeatedly tried to slash funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Brown has worked with Sen. Rob Portman to maintain full funding of the program.

Ohioans are counting on elected leaders to invest in keeping Lake Erie clean for businesses and residents now, but also generations to come.

Pensions

A looming pension crisis threatens the retirement of more than 60,000 Ohio workers and retirees, which could also put small businesses across the state in jeopardy. Miners, truck drivers, carpenters, bakers and others worked hard all their lives and gave up raises at the bargaining table in order to put that money toward retirement for themselves and their families. Now that retirement is at risk because Senate Republican leadership has failed to do its job.

Retirees and workers in Ohio expect action from their leaders as they continue to fight for a solution that protects their pensions and the benefits they earned.

Whose Side Are You On?

From Ohioans working multiple jobs just to pay the rent to farmers struggling to plant their fields after record rainfalls to veterans returning home having been harmed by toxic burn pits, ultimately what Ohioans are looking to find out is: who’s on my side? 

As Goes Ohio

Seven presidents have been born in Ohio and no Republican has ever won the presidency without winning Ohio. And, since 1960, no president has won the White House without winning Ohio. Ohioans have helped shape the history of this country from John Glenn to Toni Morrison to Jesse Owens to Geraldine Mock.

Ohioans are also helping shape the future of this country.

Ohio so often plays a prominent role on the national stage because it reflects the diversity of America. Candidates for national office will be talking to factory workers hurt by decades of corporate trade policies, yes, but they'll also be talking to the scientist at NIOSH in Cincinnati, the refugee starting her own business in Toledo, the farmer in Circleville and the My Brother's Keeper mentor in Akron. They'll be talking to teachers struggling to afford rent in Gallipolis and call center customer service workers trying to form a union in Mansfield and immigrants across the state who are working here and paying taxes to help their families get ahead.

Too many pundits want to write off our state – they call it the ‘Rust Belt.’ Senator Brown rejects that term – it demeans our workers, it devalues our work and it dismisses the communities and industries that are thriving in Ohio. Ohio is home to 11 million Americans, 88 counties, some of the country’s premier colleges and universities, military bases and installations critical to our national security, 25 Fortune 500 Companies and a Great Lake. 

And the best workers in the world.

It’s pretty simple: it’s about the Dignity of Work. Dignity of work means hard work should pay off for everyone, no matter who you are or what kind of work you do: Whether you punch a clock or swipe a badge, earn a salary, or make tips; whether you’re raising children or caring for an aging parent; regardless of your race or gender; no matter where you live in the country. Because when you love this country you fight for the people who make it work – all people.

 

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