State Representative Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) hosted Representative Rick Perales (R-Beavercreek) last Friday for a tour around the city of Akron, including a site that is part of the city’s $1.4 billion sewer project.

“I was so pleased to be able to show off my district and the great city of Akron to my colleague from across the aisle,” Sykes said. “During our tour, I stressed to Rep. Perales the importance of Akron’s local hiring goals to our efforts to combat poverty and rebuild our outdated infrastructure.”

Akron, which has an unemployment rate above the state average, has set a local hiring target of 30 percent for the city’s sewer and water improvements, with that goal increasing to 50 percent by 2018. However, legislation currently moving through the legislature would ban the use of such local hiring goals.

Sykes, who has participated in workshops run by the National Institute for Civil Discourse, also commented on the bipartisan nature of the visit and the importance of working across party lines.

“This tour and other events like it lay the groundwork for finding solutions to the problems that affect our districts. While we may not agree on every issue, by learning more about each other and our respective communities we can begin to find some common ground,” said Sykes.

In addition to the sewer project site, the two lawmakers visited a number of Akron landmarks, including Firestone High School (Sykes’ alma mater), Canal Park and Elizabeth Park, InfoCision Stadium, the Edgewood housing development, and downtown Akron. They lunched at Nicole’s Restaurant in the New Seasons development in west Akron.

“I really appreciate the chance to tour parts of Ohio that I don’t get to see that often. Rep. Sykes was a great host and I enjoyed seeing some of the projects going on in the Akron area,” said Perales. “It seems like they have gone through some rough times recently, but I think through the addition of Emilia’s leadership and the hard work the entire Akron delegation is doing, I see the potential for a bright future there.”

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