Representative Thomas West - House District 49
 

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.”