Representative Thomas West - House District 49

05.22.19 - West, Dems Unveil Commonsense Solutions To Keep Kids And Communities Safe


Ohio House Democratic lawmakers today announced a number of proposals, including safe storage, red-flag and background check laws, commonsense measures they say will better keep kids and communities safe. The package comes amid debate on House Bill (HB) 178, controversial legislation Democrats say is a solution in search of a problem.


05.09.19 - West: Democratic Priorities Shape Budget As Bill Clears Ohio House


House Democratic lawmakers today voted in favor of the state budget, House Bill 166, which includes a number of key Democratic priorities, including a significant tax cut for working people and families.


05.08.19 - Rep. West To Serve On Ohio Commission On Fatherhood


State Rep Thomas E. West (D-Canton) today announced his appointment to the bipartisan Ohio Commission on Fatherhood, a statewide commission that seeks to enhance the well-being of Ohio’s children by providing opportunities and resources to help fathers become better parents, partners and providers.

“I am honored to have been chosen to serve on the Ohio Commission on Fatherhood. Supporting fathers is critical to improving the lives of children and strengthening our communities,” said West. “Many fathers have not had the opportunity to learn positive parenting skills or how to process emotions. Providing essential services and programming to fathers can help prevent child abuse and neglect, and empower fathers to take charge of their lives and care for their families in a way that contributes to the well-being of women, children and families alike.”


05.02.19 - West: Eighth Annual Women's Lobby Day Seeks To Empower Women By Engaging Advocates From Across The State


State Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) today joined the Ohio House Democratic Women’s Caucus (OHDWC) at the eight annual Women’s Lobby Day, a legislative advocacy day at the Statehouse pushing for women’s social and economic equality featuring a panel of women lawmakers.


04.10.19 - West: Near-total Abortion Ban Threatens Women's Health, Liberty


House Democrats today voted against Senate Bill (SB) 23, a GOP-backed near-total abortion ban that would prohibit abortions in Ohio long before most women know they are pregnant. SB 23 would become the most extreme abortion ban in the country if signed into law.


04.02.19 - West, State Lawmakers Send Bipartisan Transportation Budget To Governor's Desk


House Democrats today supported the final passage of House Bill (HB) 62, the state’s bipartisan two-year transportation budget. The bill makes historic investments in public transit and local communities for road and bridge repairs.


03.15.19 - West: Dems Improve State Transportation Budget, Support Its Passage


House Democratic lawmakers today voted in favor of House Bill (HB) 62, the state’s bipartisan, two-year budget that largely funds road and bridge improvements and public transportation throughout the state.


03.11.19 - Rep. West's Dallas Swogger Act Passes Through Ohio House


State Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) today announced that the Dallas Swogger Act, which adds skateboards to the list of items prohibited under Ohio law from being attached to a moving vehicle, passed the Ohio House through an amendment to House Bill (HB) 62, the state’s transportation budget. The practice of attaching a skateboard to a moving vehicle, known as “skitching,” led to the tragic death of Canton, Ohio teen Dallas Swogger in October 2017.


03.05.19 - Rep. West Calls For Public Transit Investment During State Budget Debate


State Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) last week introduced an amendment to the state transportation budget creating a dedicated source of funding for public transportation in Ohio. The amendment seeks to add a two dollar per day user fee on vehicles from a vehicle rental company, with a capacity of $28 per rental transaction.


01.29.19 - Northeast Ohio Legislators Introduce Bill To Address Infant Mortality Through STD Screening


State Reps. Thomas West (D-Canton) and Tavia Galonski (D-Akron) today introduced a bill to address infant mortality through increased sexually transmitted disease (STD) screening for expectant mothers. The legislation would require healthcare professionals to test pregnant women for HIV, syphilis and gonorrhea at different points of the pregnancy in order to connect mother and baby to appropriate treatment and counseling. 


01.24.19 - Rep. West To Serve On Joint Medicaid Oversight Committee


State Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) has been appointed to the Joint Medicaid Oversight Committee, a bipartisan and bicameral committee tasked with providing oversight of all facets of the Ohio’s Medicaid program.


01.08.19 - West Sworn In As State Rep For Ohio House District 49


State Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) took the oath of office Monday during the opening session of the 133rd Ohio General Assembly at the Ohio Statehouse, starting his second term as a state lawmaker.


11.14.18 - West Pushes For Commonsense Gun Safety As GOP Passes So-called Stand Your Ground Bill


Ohio House Democratic state lawmakers today voted against House Bill (HB) 228, the so-called Stand Your Ground bill, a Republican-sponsored effort to loosen gun safety standards by reducing firearm offenses, making it harder to prosecute gun violence cases and preempting local authority to enact commonsense safety protections for Ohio families. 

“Although I support an individual’s right to carry, I believe stand your ground expands gun laws to the detriment of our communities by allowing individuals to shoot first and ask questions later,” said Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton). “We already had the Castle Doctrine in Ohio, which was adequate enough to allow us to protect ourselves by using force, including deadly force, in our homes or cars when we needed to. The Castle Doctrine encouraged people in those situations to avoid violence as much as possible, which is what we need during times of high stress and fear. Now our communities across Ohio will be more susceptible to gun violence and less safe for our families.”


11.14.18 - West's Bipartisan Bill To Change State Law Concerning Forfeited Land Sales Passes House


State Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) today announced the passage of House Bill (HB) 598, bipartisan legislation that seeks to give local townships and land banks more flexibility the process of foreclosure. West and bill joint-sponsor state Rep. Doug Green (R-Mt. Orab) introduced HB 598 earlier this year.

“I am proud to see the House prioritize the health of our neighborhoods and the revitalization of our communities by passing this bill,” said West. “Removing blight is an important step in stabilizing neighborhoods still recovering from the housing crisis of the mid-2000s. Additionally, this bill gives communities more flexibility to address vacated properties and greater opportunity to execute long-term recovery plans.”


08.30.18 - West Announces Application Process For Statehouse School Transportation Grants Begins Sept. 5


State Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) today announced the Statehouse School Transportation Grant application process opens for submission at 9:00 a.m. on September 5, 2018. A total of 75 school transportation grants will be awarded throughout the state on a first come first served basis. 


08.23.18 - West's Legislation To Protect Families From Predatory Lenders Gets Attention Of Republican Leaders


State Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) today reacted to recent reports that the Republican-controlled legislature is prioritizing his legislation to ensure families who have lost loved ones do not mistakenly believe they are obligated to pay the deceased’s debts. West’s House Bill 615 will be a top priority for passage by the Ohio House Civil Justice Committee during the final months of the session. 


08.17.18 - West Announces Local Inductees For 2018 Ohio Civil Rights Hall Of Fame


State Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) today announced the induction of Dr. Renee Powell and her father, the late William Powell in the 2018 Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame. The two will be officially inducted at the Tenth Annual Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame Ceremony on Thursday, October 4 at 10:00 am in the Ohio Statehouse Atrium in Columbus.

“Dr. Renee Powell and her father William Powell are two incredible individuals who have used their gifts and talents to give back to those around them,” said West. “I am so proud and happy that they are being recognized for their contribution to the advancement of civil rights in our state. They have been an integral part of Ohio’s history, showing courage and excelling in the face of adversity.”


08.14.18 - Administration Eyes End To Pharmacy Middlemen Jan. 1 After Reading Advance Copy Of Yost's Report


State Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) responded to today’s Ohio Department of Medicaid decision to fire the state’s pharmacy middlemen after reading an advance copy of Auditor Dave Yost’s report on the deceptive healthcare pricing scheme that cost Ohio taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. Yost’s report is expected to be made publicly available tomorrow.

“Today’s decision to fire cheating big-pharma middlemen is proof positive of what many of us have been saying all along: big healthcare corporations have been ripping off Ohio consumers by hundreds of millions of dollars to line their own pockets and boost their own bottom line,” said West. “This decision is a win for consumers and small independent pharmacies alike, but we shouldn’t wait until January 1 to stop this rip off.”


07.31.18 - West: Back-to-school Sales Tax Holiday Starts This Weekend


State Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) today announced Ohio’s back-to-school sales tax-free holiday scheduled for this weekend, August 3-5, as a result of the passage of Senate Bill (SB) 226. The annual event helps lessen the sting of the 4.5 percent statewide sales tax hike passed by Republican lawmakers in the 2013 state budget. The hike has cost taxpayers almost $2 billion more since then, according to state revenue numbers.

“This annual holiday gives families a well-earned break on back to school items, year after year,” said West. “People work hard to provide for their children, and paying hiked up prices for school essentials isn’t something people should have to worry about.”


06.29.18 - West Continues Fight For Quality, Affordable Healthcare For All Ohioans


State Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) today responded to reports that a number of Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) have been charging Ohio taxpayers three to six times as much as the industry standard to process prescription drugs for Ohio Medicaid recipients. For prescriptions that should cost between 95 cents and $1.90, PBMs CVS Caremark and Optum Rx have been charging Ohio taxpayers $5.60 and $6.50 per script, respectively.


06.27.18 - West's Bipartisan Bill To Lower Cost Of Prescription Drugs Passes Ohio House


State Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) today announced the unanimous House passage of House Bill (HB) 479, the Prescription Drug Co-Pay Integrity Act, his bipartisan legislation that would save consumers money by prohibiting gag rules that prevent pharmacists from informing consumers when they are overpaying for prescription drugs.


06.11.18 - Local Lawmaker Issues Statement On Importance Of National Football Hall Of Fame Enshrinement


State Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) today released a statement recognizing the importance of the National Football Hall of Fame and the hard work Cantonians put into making induction day special for all who attend. The lawmaker’s statement comes as former wide receiver Terrell Owens publicly announced he won’t come to Canton this year to be honored as an inductee.

“Since 1963, the induction ceremony has been conducted with a level of excellence unsurpassed by any other in the world.  We have the people of Canton to thank for that because the game of football and the Hall of Fame resides deep within the heart of every Cantonian. Our community and district go all out for football, and we are honored by the heroes who choose to attend the induction ceremony.”

The induction ceremony is a tradition used to honor and enshrine heroes of the gridiron. Every year, thousands of Canton citizens come together as volunteers to make the event that honors world-class athletes possible. Thousand, including many from all across the world, will gather in Canton this year for enshrinement day.


05.10.18 - West To Urge Ohio Department Of Medicaid To Delay Behavioral Health Redesign


State Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) today announced he will be reaching out to Ohio Department of Medicaid Director Barbara Sears to push for a six-month extension of Phase I of the department’s Behavioral Health Redesign. According to a recent survey by the Ohio Council for Behavioral Health and Family Service Providers, more than 60 percent of providers received less than 80 percent of their expected Medicaid revenues since the implementation of the plan in January 2018. This has forced a number of healthcare providers to lay off employees, eliminate services and deny patient claims.

“Logistical issues during the rollout of the redesign plan have wreaked havoc on our healthcare providers, threatening care and forcing many to eliminate staff and essential services. This is especially troublesome at a time when we continue to battle our worst-in-the-nation opioid crisis,” said West. “Extending Phase I by six months will allow us to iron out the issues and refocus our efforts on what truly matters—delivering quality, affordable healthcare to Ohio families.”


04.26.18 - Reps. West, Fedor Introduce Resolution Calling For Universal Preschool


State Reps. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) and Thomas West (D-Canton) today introduced a joint resolution to establish universal preschool in Ohio. The proposal would amend the Ohio Constitution to require free, universal preschool for all four and five-year-olds who reside in the Buckeye State.


04.04.18 - West Applauds State Order To Prohibit Gag Rules On Pharmacists, Reduce Cost Of Prescription Drugs


State Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) today applauded the Ohio Department of Insurance’s order to prohibit Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBM) from imposing gag rules to prevent pharmacists from informing consumers when they are overpaying for prescription drugs.

“I applaud the Department of Insurance’s decision to put hard-earned money back in the hands of consumers by prohibiting PBM gag orders on local pharmacists that effectively jack up the price of prescription drugs,” said Rep. West. “While we welcome this long overdue order, we must take the next step and pass HB 479 to ensure that Ohio consumers are protected under the law and not simply at the whim of whomever controls the governor’s office.”

West recently introduced House Bill (HB) 479, a bipartisan plan that would strengthen consumer protections and work to reduce the cost of prescription drugs in the Buckeye State.

Lawmakers referred HB 479 to the House Government and Oversight Committee, where it has received one hearing.


03.01.18 - Rep. West Announces Bill Package To Curb Gun Violence


State Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) today announced his intention to introduce a comprehensive set of legislation to curb gun violence in Ohio. This announcement comes on the heels of nationwide outcry on the issue of gun safety following a deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida. The set of legislation would implement a 72-hour waiting period, raise the minimum purchasing age for purchasing assault-style rifles to 21 and close the Charleston Loophole that allows felons to purchase weapons if their background check does not process after 72 hours.


02.27.18 - Rep. West Applauds Inclusion Of Stark County Projects In Capital Budget Draft


State Rep. Thomas E. West (D-Canton) today applauded the inclusion of a number of Stark County projects in the initial draft of the state’s biannual Capital Budget, House Bill (HB) 529. West has pushed for several months for local projects focused on education, infrastructure, opioid treatment, parks and cultural facilities to be included in the bill.


01.31.18 - West Applauds House Passage Of Bill To Help Employees, Patients Affected By Affinity Medical Center's Announced Closure


State Rep. Thomas E. West (D-Canton) today applauded the passage of House Bill (HB) 462, his bill to create a set of conditions that Quorum Health Corporation must meet before they are allowed to permanently close Affinity Medical Center in Massillon, Ohio.


01.24.18 - Rep. West Introduces Dallas Swogger Act Aimed At Protecting Ohio Teens


State Rep. Thomas E. West (D-Canton) today introduced House Bill (HB) 475, known as the Dallas Swogger Act, which would add skateboards to the list of items prohibited under Ohio law from being attached to a moving vehicle. The practice, known as “skitching,” led to the tragic death of Canton, Ohio teen Dallas Swogger in October 2017.


01.11.18 - Rep. West Introduces Bipartisan Bill To Preserve Affinity Medical Center


State Rep. Thomas E. West (D-Canton) and Majority Leader Kirk Schuring (R-Canton) today introduced House Bill (HB) 462, which would create a set of conditions that Quorum Health Corporation must meet before they are allowed to permanently close Affinity Medical Center in Massillon, Ohio.


12.15.17 - Rep. West Urges DeWine To Join Attorneys General Across Nation To Sue FCC In Wake Of Net Neutrality Repeal


State Rep. Thomas E. West (D-Canton) today sent Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine a letter urging him to join other attorneys general across the nation in suing the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) following its decision to repeal net neutrality protections Thursday. Rep. West also announced plans to introduce legislation to protect consumer access to the internet.


12.06.17 - Ohio Democrats Introduce Resolution Urging Congress, President To Protect Net Neutrality


State Reps. Thomas West (D-Canton) and Dan Ramos (D-Lorain) today announced the introduction of House Concurrent Resolution (HCR) 18, which urges Congress, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the president to uphold existing net neutrality rules. Net Neutrality is the principle that internet service providers (ISPs) must treat all data equally. Under net neutrality, no user, platform or website can be accessed faster or slower than another.


11.30.17 - West Introduces Bill Creating Canton Bulldogs License Plate


State Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) yesterday announced the introduction of House Bill (HB) 429, which will create a “Canton Bulldogs” license plate in honor of the Canton McKinley High School’s beloved mascot.

“Members of the Canton community are crazy for our Bulldogs,” said West. “I know a lot of folks back home who would appreciate the chance to express that pride on a license plate, especially since the Massillon Tigers already have a license plate.”


11.03.17 - Canton Rep. Thomas West Responds To DeWine's Suit Against Rover Pipeline


State Rep. Thomas E. West (D-Canton) today responded to Attorney General Mike DeWine’s lawsuit against Rover Pipeline LLC, months after the Ohio EPA referred some $2.3 million in fines to the attorney general for illegal dumping of toxic chemicals in the Canton area during the construction of the Rover Pipeline.

“It seems that with the outside threat of an Ohio Elections Commission investigation looming, Attorney General DeWine finally decided to take action to protect taxpayers from an out-of-state corporation’s reckless disregard for our safety,” said West. “This is welcomed news, but the timing of the lawsuit makes people wonder if the state could have done more, sooner. This was referred to Attorney General DeWine at the beginning of July. Meanwhile, local taxpayers have been forced to bear the brunt of toxic spills in our community and close to our drinking water supply.”

DeWine’s action comes one day after complaints were filed with the Ohio Ethics Commission, asking them to investigate DeWine for his potential conflict of interest in owning stock in Rover’s parent company, Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners.


11.03.17 - Rep. West: Two Stark County Businesses To Receive Medical Marijuana Cultivation Licenses


State Rep. Thomas E. West (D-Canton) today announced two local businesses will receive Ohio Department of Commerce Level II Cultivator Provisional Licenses for their Canton-based operations. Of the 12 licenses granted statewide, two were allotted to Canton locations.


10.24.17 - West Announces Bill To Honor Stark County's Football Heritage


State Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) today announced his recent introduction of House Bill (HB) 346, legislation to designate a portion of State Route 172 between Canton and Massillon as the “Football Heritage Corridor.”

“Stark County has played an incredibly important role in the creation of American football,” said West. “This bill celebrates its legacy and recognizes the historic rivalry between the Canton-McKinley Bulldogs and the Massillon Tigers, who will see their 128th showdown Friday.”


10.18.17 - Rep. West Targets Public Sector Pay Discrimination With House Bill 385


State Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) today introduced House Bill (HB) 385, legislation to eliminate pay discrimination at state agencies. Studies show that state employees experience higher levels of pay discrimination by gender and race than those working in other industries.


09.20.17 - Bill Honoring African American Baseball Pioneer Heads To Gov's Desk


Sponsors state Reps. David Leland (D-Columbus) and Thomas West (D-Canton) today announced the Senate passage of their legislation designating October 7 as “Moses Fleetwood Walker Day” in the state of Ohio to honor the nation’s first professional African American baseball player.

“While Jackie Robinson is usually credited with being the first African American player to play professional baseball, it was actually Walker who first courageously broke the color barrier more than 60 years earlier,” said West. “While we can never right the injustices experienced by Moses, by designating October 7th as Fleetwood Moses Walker Day, we can properly honor the legacy of a pioneer for civil rights. I strongly encourage Governor Kasich to sign this bill into law.” 


09.15.17 - West Responds To Dept. Of Education District Report Cards


State Rep. Thomas E. West (D-Canton) today responded to the state Department of Education’s recent release of school district report cards:

“I believe that while every school should constantly strive to improve, the Department of Education does not provide the support and stability necessary for those improvements. The educators I speak with say that the department’s constant changes in standards and the threat of the state government taking over their schools makes it harder for them to focus on their students.


08.09.17 - West Responds To U.S. Department Of Justice Backing Ohio Voter Purge


State Rep. Thomas E. West (D-Canton) expressed outrage regarding the U.S. Department of Justice’s decision to support Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s voter purge. Department attorneys filed an amicus brief on Monday reversing the Department’s previous position by arguing that Husted was legally permitted to unregister voters who have not voted for six or more years.

“I am outraged that the Trump administration has chosen to attack the most fundamental right of every citizen living in a democracy,” said West. “Nobody should be punished so dramatically for choosing not to vote in a given year. Jon Husted and Donald Trump do not have the right to strip Americans of our rights just because we do not vote as often as we can.”

This decision from the Department of Justice comes in the wake of President Trump’s creation of a voter fraud commission, which recently received nationwide pushback in its efforts to collect the private information of every registered voter in the country. According to the ACLU of Ohio, the Trump administration’s decision to support voter purge measures undoes decades of efforts from the Department of Justice to prevent similar efforts.

“This is not a partisan issue. Both Democratic and Republican presidents have fought for decades to protect the right of every citizen to vote,” said West. “It really is sad to see the Trump administration support Jon Husted’s movement to disenfranchise millions of voters across our country. Unfortunately, this is quickly becoming part of a pattern of voter suppression from this White House.”

The Supreme Court will make a decision on the case this summer.


08.03.17 - Rep. West Encourages Ohio Families To Take Advantage Of Tax-free Shopping This Weekend


State Rep. Thomas E. West (D-Canton) today reminds families about Ohio’s third sales tax-free holiday scheduled for this weekend, August 4-6. The tax-free holiday runs Friday through Sunday and covers many back-to-school items, including clothing, school supplies and instructional materials.

“I know firsthand that costs for school supplies can add up quickly, which is why I co-sponsored legislation to make it a little more affordable,” said West. “We all want what is best for our kids, and during a time when middle class wage growth is stagnant and too many Ohioans fall below the poverty line, every dollar saved can make a difference in the quality of our children’s lives.”


07.31.17 - Ohio Lawmakers To Celebrate OLBC 50th Anniversary Event In Canton


State Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) today announced that Canton, Ohio has been selected to host the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus’ 50th anniversary celebration this fall. African American state lawmakers from all across Ohio will convene in Stark County for the two-day event on October 1-2 to recognize the important milestone and chart a course for the future for the historic legislative organization. 

“I am thrilled to host my OLBC colleagues here in Canton and show off all that is great about our community,” said state Rep. Thomas West, the co-chairman for the event. “Exciting projects like the Pro Football Hall of Fame development, its African American apprenticeship program and significant events like the OLBC 50th Anniversary are all evidence of Canton’s positive momentum. We encourage all elected officials on the local, state and national level to join us for this wonderful evening of fun and enlightenment. This event is a once in a lifetime occasion, which is why we have invited the governor as well as leaders from both the House of Representatives and Senate to attend and share this experience with our community.”


07.06.17 - West: GOP Bill To Weaken Concealed Carry Protections Puts Public Safety In The Crosshairs


Ohio House Democratic lawmakers today voiced objections over House Bill (HB) 233, legislation that allows concealed carry permit holders to knowingly bring guns or deadly weapons into daycares, schools, airports, bars and other restricted spaces, so long as the permit holder leaves when asked to do so. Individuals who refuse to leave or return to the same business while carrying a prohibited weapon within 30 days will be subject to a fourth degree misdemeanor.

“Any bill that will allow somebody to knowingly bring a concealed gun into a preschool is a bill that I cannot support,” said Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton). “This ‘concealed guns everywhere’ bill attacks the rights of businesses to make their own decisions and makes parents constantly question that their children are actually safe.”


06.28.17 - West Congratulates United Way Of Greater Stark County On Receiving Grant


State Rep. Thomas E. West (D-Canton) today congratulated United Way of Greater Stark County on being awarded $100,000 from the Ohio Department of Education. The community organization received the money through the New Community Connectors Mentoring Grant program, which supports programs that give more Ohio students access to positive role models and help them develop skills that lead to success in the classroom and the workplace. 

“I am incredibly happy to see our local United Way being recognized and rewarded for its tremendous work,” said West. “The programs that it runs will have a deep and meaningful impact on hundreds of children in our community for years to come.” 


06.15.17 - West Responds To String Of Shootings In Canton


State Rep. Thomas E. West (D-Canton) today responded to a series of deadly shootings in Canton by extending his condolences to the families of the victims and stressing the importance of greater state support for community safety efforts. 

“I am deeply saddened by the senseless violence that has taken our neighbors from us,” said West. “These shootings took place right in the neighborhood that I am proud to call home. We need to come together as a community to try to put an end to this violence.” 


06.14.17 - Rep. West Announces Opposition To Senate Republican Budget Proposal


State Rep. Thomas E. West (D-Canton) today announced his intention to oppose the budget proposal announced by Ohio Senate Republicans on Monday. The Canton lawmaker expressed concern that the Senate chose to focus on cuts rather than utilize a more balanced approach. 

“I cannot support the Senate Republicans’ budget in its current form for a number of reasons,” said West. “My strongest concern with this proposal is the incredible damage that the $200 million cut to Medicaid would inflict on Ohio’s most vulnerable families. The Senate cannot claim to be adequately addressing the opioid crisis while gutting the programs that most directly boost treatment and prevention efforts.” 


06.08.17 - Rep. Thomas West Responds To Comey Testimony


State Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) issued the following statement in response to former FBI Director James Comey’s open testimony today in front of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee:

"Director James Comey’s public testimony confirms what many Americans have long suspected: Donald Trump attempted several times to interfere with FBI processes. In fact, we learned today that during their nine conversations, the president only substantively asked Director Comey about one issue: the investigation into his campaign’s ties with the Russian government.


05.11.17 - Rep. West Honors '30 Faces Of Leadership Stark County'


State Rep. Thomas E. West (D-Canton) yesterday evening presented 29 commendations to the men and women recognized as the “30 Faces of Leadership Stark County” by the countywide leadership organization. The Canton lawmaker was himself one of the 30 individuals recognized Thursday by Leadership Stark County. 

“Every positive development in Stark County has been driven by local leaders who care deeply about their community, and nobody personifies that passionate advocacy better than this outstanding group of trailblazers,” said West. “The incredible range of backgrounds in this group – from artists to mayors, CEOs to teachers – shows that everyone has the capacity to make a difference in their community.” 


05.11.17 - West Applauds FERC Decision To Halt Rover Pipeline Drilling


State Rep. Thomas E. West (D-Canton) today applauded the decision of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to temporarily halt most drilling construction related to the Rover Pipeline. The FERC decision comes just weeks after an accidental spill at a Rover Pipeline construction site released roughly two million gallons of drilling liquid near the Tuscarawas River in Stark County. 

“I fully support the decision to freeze drilling for the Rover Pipeline project until experts and officials can determine the cause of this environmental disaster and take the necessary steps to prevent similar incidents in the future,” said West. “I am also troubled by the lack of transparency from Energy Transfer, who failed to inform community stakeholders and local officials about the April spill and the damage it has inflicted on our local wetlands.” 


05.11.17 - West Honors '30 Faces Of Leadership Stark County'


State Rep. Thomas E. West (D-Canton) yesterday evening presented 29 commendations to the men and women recognized as the “30 Faces of Leadership Stark County” by the countywide leadership organization. The Canton lawmaker was himself one of the 30 individuals recognized Thursday by Leadership Stark County.

“Every positive development in Stark County has been driven by local leaders who care deeply about their community, and nobody personifies that passionate advocacy better than this outstanding group of trailblazers,” said West. “The incredible range of backgrounds in this group – from artists to mayors, CEOs to teachers – shows that everyone has the capacity to make a difference in their community.”


04.06.17 - Northeast Lawmakers Push To Increase Access To Community Recreation Centers


State Reps. Thomas E. West (D-Canton) and Ron Young (R-Leroy Twp.) this week introduced House Bill (HB) 177, bipartisan legislation to expand access to 501(c)(3) fitness facilities by exempting nonprofit gym memberships from the sales tax. Ohio is currently one of only five states to tax nonprofit gym memberships.

“The YMCA is responsible for untold numbers of public service programs throughout the state as a nonprofit organization contributing much to the fabric of Ohio,” said Young. “The collection of state sales taxes for memberships provided by these nonprofit recreation centers is not a productive activity by the state.”


03.16.17 - West Proposes Bill To Aid First Responders With PTSD


State Rep. Thomas E. West (D-Canton) today announced legislation to extend workers’ compensation protections to first responders who have been diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of their service. First responders who are diagnosed with PTSD as a result of their work are not currently eligible to receive compensation and benefits under Ohio’s Workers’ Compensation Law. 

“While they are in saving lives in our communities, peace officers, firefighters, and emergency medical workers regularly experience stressful, life-changing situations that most of us can barely imagine,” said West. “I believe Ohio should be a state that offers protection to those who keep us safe and secure every day.” 


03.15.17 - Rep. West Applauds Delay Of Ohio's ESSA Plan Submission


State Rep. Thomas E. West (D-Canton) today issued the following statement regarding the state’s decision to delay submission of Ohio’s education plan under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA):

“I am extremely pleased with Superintendent Paolo DeMaria’s decision to delay the implementation of Ohio’s new education plan under ESSA. The original April deadline did not allow enough time for honest, thorough feedback from our teachers, parents and students.


03.08.17 - OH On Track To Recognize First African American Professional Baseball Player


State Reps. David Leland (D-Columbus) – aka “Mr. Baseball” – and Thomas West (D-Canton) applauded the Ohio House’s anticipated passage of House Bill (HB) 59 today, their legislation to honor Moses Fleetwood Walker, the nation’s first professional African American baseball player. The bill designates Walker’s birthday of October 7 as “Moses Fleetwood Walker Day” in the state of Ohio.

“Over a half-century before Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier, Moses Fleetwood Walker overcame bigotry and racism to claim his place on the baseball diamond,” said West. “By establishing ‘Moses Fleetwood Walker’ day, we can help cement the Ohio’s native rightful place in history as the first African American to play professional baseball in the United States.”  


02.17.17 - West Objects To State Budget Cuts To Local Communities


State Rep. Thomas E. West (D-Canton) today strongly objected to the latest round of proposed budget cuts to local communities included in Gov. John Kasich’s executive budget plan. Under the current budget bill, Canton stands to lose the fifth most in state funding of any city in Ohio. 

“Even as the governor claims that Ohio is on the ‘verge of a recession,’ he continues to propose cuts to critical local services that support our police and fire, repair roads and help fight the opioid epidemic,” said West. “Canton is already struggling to address an unemployment rate higher than the state average, and the governor’s cuts will only make things worse.” 


02.13.17 - OH Lawmakers Introduce Bill Honoring African American Baseball Pioneer


State Reps. David Leland (D-Columbus)—aka “Mr. Baseball”—and Thomas West (D-Canton) reintroduced legislation today to honor Moses Fleetwood Walker, the nation’s first professional African American baseball player, by designating Walker’s birthday of October 7 as “Moses Fleetwood Walker Day” in the state of Ohio.

“Walker stood tall and persevered in the face of the incredible bigotry and discrimination he experienced throughout his career,” said West. “His legacy of bravery, which continues to inspire us today, deserves the proper recognition this legislation will bring.”


02.02.17 - West Expresses Support For Efforts To Fight Against Human Trafficking


State Rep. Thomas E. West (D-Canton) applauded the awareness raised by today’s eighth annual Human Trafficking Awareness Day at the Ohio Statehouse. The event, organized by State Rep. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo), brought together law enforcement officials, advocates and survivors from all over the nation for a day of discussion on ways to raise awareness and fight back against human trafficking in Ohio.

“Thanks to the dedicated efforts of Rep. Fedor and countless others around the state, we are making significant progress and offering concrete solutions to end modern day slavery in Ohio,” said West. “Moving forward, we must ensure law enforcement officials and advocates have the proper resources and support that they need to protect victims and end the scourge of human trafficking.” 


01.31.17 - West To Help Shape Public Policy On Ohio House Legislative Panels


State Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) today announced the committees on which he will serve to help shape and refine public policy during the 132nd General Assembly.

“I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House of Representatives to improve the lives of every Ohioan,” said West. “My committee assignments will allow me to focus on creating good-paying jobs, investing in reliable infrastructure and fighting our state’s opioid epidemic.”


01.20.17 - State Rep. Thomas E. West Issues Statement On Presidential Inauguration


State Rep. Thomas E. West (D-Canton) today issued the following statement expressing his cautious optimism following the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the United States:

“Though many Americans are uncertain about the future, I remain positive today in my belief that our best days are still ahead of us. I look forward to the role we can play in Ohio to advance our shared priorities of rebuilding our infrastructure and creating new, better-paying jobs.


01.09.17 - Thomas West Sworn In As State Representative


Thomas West (D-Canton) was officially sworn in to the Ohio House of Representatives Tuesday as state representative for the 49th House District. West, the first African American elected from Stark County as a state legislator, will serve the citizens in Canton, Canton Township, Pike Township, Bethlehem Township, the majority of Massillon, and small parts of southern Plain Township. 

“I am eager to lend my experience and perspective to the debates at the Statehouse on how we can help best position Ohio’s families and communities for the future,” said West, “My focus will be on meeting the needs of everyday working families and the communities they call home.”