As the Ohio Senate continues to draft new amendments to the proposed budget bill that passed the House two months ago, my colleagues and I have redoubled our efforts to introduce legislation that will positively impact the lives of Ohioans.  What is more, at home in Ashtabula and Geauga Counties we have been working closely with our agricultural community, our business community, ODOT, our educational leaders, and many other constituent groups to develop a comprehensive strategy that will serve to stimulate and expand our economy, our quality of life, and our collectively shared future.

Now if you read that last sentence closely, there are "six ours" and "one we."  That usage was not by accident-- or poor sentence construction-- but by design.  We can, and must, work as one to develop our resources, both natural and human, to the betterment of all. This is a slow and cumbersome process at times, but one that is essential for us to make manifest the vision that we share to make our sharpest corner of the State most enviable.

One component of our recovery that is oftentimes the source of consternation by some is the presence of collective bargaining within the fabric of the workplace. Recently, many of my colleagues responded to legislative efforts to presumptively lessen the presence of collective bargaining in the public and private sector. I believe the so called "right to work" legislation would have weakened the power of Ohio workers, resulting in lower wages and living standards for all.

In fact, the average yearly household incomes in so-called "right to work" states are $6,373 lower than in non-right to work states. Workers in "right to work" states are more likely to be uninsured, and less likely to have job-based health insurance plans than those who live in states, like Ohio, that permit full union participation.**

House Democrats in particular were quick to recognize the potential impacts of this legislation and began speaking out in opposition to the bills.  We held press conferences that gained a significant amount of media attention, sent opinion editorials to local newspapers, and met with our constituents to hear your thoughts and opinions pertinent to the proposed legislation.

Senate Bill 5 was on the ballot not that long ago and was decisively defeated by the voters of this great state.  I believe that such efforts will defeated again, especially when those supporting such efforts place partisan priorities over investing in what counts-- education, local communities, and working families. Again, when "we" work together--labor and management, private sector and public sector, state and local government, we-- the people --benefit.  Rest assured that many of us will continue to do our part to build partnerships rather than break them asunder.

As always, I am available to listen to your thoughts on issues affecting our community, and

encourage you to contact your office with any concerns.  For up-to-date information please visit our website at

In service,

John Patterson

State Representative

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