In recent years, we have seen divisions emerge in our public debate. Partisan rancor spills from the halls of government to our homes, our classrooms and on our social media. We see demonstrations of hate in small towns and big cities and read profiles of self-proclaimed white nationalists in our newspapers. While this division reveals the many imperfections of America, like Dr. King, I do not believe it defines us.


Ohioans, both black and white, march together against racial and economic injustice. Politicians work together to pursue policies to better the lives of every citizen. Neighbors come to the aid of families out of work or those struggling with opioid addiction. Countless Ohioans live as Dr. King did: with passion and purpose, fueled by a desire to spread hope, compassion and love. Dr. King believed in an America where we all work together to right the wrongs in society and afford equality and opportunity to everyone.


Dr. King believed that our policy discussions should not be about scoring political points or petty arguments. Rather, they should be about doing the most good—putting people back to work, educating our children, treating addiction and ensuring everyone has access to quality, affordable healthcare. I am excited to work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to roll up our sleeves and get to work on these critical issues here in the new year.


Overcoming our state’s greatest challenges will not be easy, however. Though Martin Luther King was shot and killed 50 years ago, we still fight injustice on many fronts in our society, from race and economic opportunity to mass incarceration and community-police relations. Despite our shortcomings, despite our propensity to fail to live up to Dr. King’s Dream, we know that the potential for good in America is boundless. Dr. King saw this and fought for it. He taught that there is no place for hate when our hearts are filled with love.


Dr. King’s legacy is not simply something for the history books. It endures. With that, let us summon the courage to do what Dr. King did, to love in the face of hate and to rise up to meet the real challenges of our time. It is up to us, the beneficiaries of his efforts, to carry the torch of justice to truly honor the legacy of Dr. King.

 
 
 
  
Featured Posts

Bipartisan Redistricting Reform Clears Last Legislative Hurdle Before Voters Have Final Say In May

 

Following months of negotiation, the Ohio House today passed Senate Joint Resolution 5, bipartisan legislation that puts a constitutional amendment before voters in May to restrict congressional gerrymandering in the state. 

“After months of negotiation, thousands of Ohioans speaking out, and several false starts, we’re closer to stopping congressional gerrymandering today than we have ever been before. Though imperfect, this latest plan represents one of the most fundamental tenets of our American democracy – compromise,” said House Democratic Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton). “We support this plan today, with the hope and expectation that it will help impart that same spirit and guiding principle of cooperation on Washington in the near future.”

Democratic House expressed concerns over several parts of the proposed plan that they see as loopholes that, in extreme cases, could still allow partisan congressional district rigging. Ultimately, most Democrats still supported the final language in the resolution.



 
 

Dem Lawmakers Unveil Paid Family Leave Bill

 

State Reps. Janine Boyd (D-Cleveland Heights) and Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus) today announced legislation to establish the Ohio Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program, which would provide economic stability to working families in times of a medical emergency, when caring for a sick loved one, or welcoming a newborn into the family. While federal law provides some workers the ability to take leave, it does not provide those workers with any guarantees that they will have compensation while on leave.



 
 

Democratic Legislative Leaders Continue Push For Bipartisan Redistricting Reform

 

In Democrats’ continued push for real bipartisan congressional redistricting reform, Senate Democratic Leader Kenny Yuko (D- Richmond Heights) and House Democratic Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton) today released the following joint statement calling for continued negotiations:

“Democrats in the Ohio General Assembly are committed to ending gerrymandering once and for all. That’s why we agreed to join the redistricting working group in the first place, because bipartisanship should be the foundation of the redistricting process.

“Democrats are committed to requiring strong bipartisanship and stopping communities from being split apart to favor one party over another.

“Unfortunately, the Republican plan would only change the way a majority party could manipulate districts in the future. In fact, the GOP proposals would continue the problem of unfair congressional districts by writing gerrymandering into our state constitution.

“We want the citizens of Ohio to know that Democrats in the legislature remain dedicated to achieving meaningful reform. There is still time to negotiate and reach an agreement.”



 
 

Ohio House Passes Measure Urging Selection Of Camp Ravenna As Missile Defense System

 

State Reps. John Boccieri (D-Poland), Mike O’Brien (D-Warren), Glenn W. Holmes (D-Girard) and Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) today applauded the Ohio House for unanimously passing Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 8, which calls on the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (USMDA) to select Camp Ravenna Joint Military Training Center as the preferred site for a future east coast Missile Defense system. MDA, a sub-agency of the Department of Defense (DOD), announced its consideration of Camp Ravenna among two other locations for a potential future deployment of additional ground-based interceptors for homeland defense.