COLUMBUS—State Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) calls for a “responsible restart” for Ohio, outlining 10 recommendations following several weeks of testimony during the OHIO 2020 Economic Recovery Task Force proceedings, as well as feedback heard from constituents, local health officials and business leaders. 


“I am deeply concerned about the plan to re-start Ohio's economy,” said Rep. Smith. “If it is done without adequate testing, it will jeopardize lives and jobs.  The backbone of Ohio’s economy is the third largest manufacturing sector in the US behind only California and Texas.  These jobs usually pay a living wage, making them indispensable to Ohio families and government coffers.  However, in the COVID-19 outbreak, they are as vulnerable as they are valuable.”


House Democrats identified 10 areas of focus for the reopening of the state:



  1. Testing

  2. Tracing

  3. Hygiene

  4. Childcare

  5. Vulnerable populations

  6. Worker protections

  7. Consumer Confidence

  8. Support for business

  9. General Election

  10. Public Awareness


“Also, we need to be mindful and vigilant about protecting Ohio's urban areas,” said Rep. Smith.  “The six largest Ohio counties, in terms of their contribution to Ohio's GDP, are, in order, Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Summit, Montgomery and Lucas.  Together they are responsible for 53 percent of Ohio’s economy.  If these workers are sidelined, you risk their lives and Ohio’s livelihood.  Northeast Ohio counties Lorain and Lake rank 9th and 10th in the state.”


Progress continues with six workgroups created by the House Democratic Caucus groups focused on education, families, healthcare access, financial stability and essential government services, including preparing for the November election amid the worst global pandemic in more than a century.    


From the onset of the crisis, Democrats have worked collaboratively with local officials and listened to constituents and business leaders on short and long-term relief for those affected by coronavirus.


On April 1, House Democrats called on legislative leaders in both chambers to reconvene the General Assembly to address outstanding issues they say cannot wait until after the pandemic subsides. They renewed this call today. 


“We all want to get back to work,” said Rep. Smith, “but nobody wants to die while trying to make a living.”


 


**Editor’s note: a copy of House Democrats’ “Responsible Restart for Ohio” is attached.


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