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Rep. Juanita Brent says real State of the State shows too many Ohioans still stuck

Commits to working together for better jobs, brighter futures
March 6, 2019
Juanita O. Brent News

State Rep. Juanita Brent (D-Cleveland) today responded to Gov. DeWine’s first State of the State Address. House Democrats reaffirmed their commitment to working with the governor to deliver real results, but noted that the state has more to do to turn around years of below average quality-of-life standards that have kept too many people from getting ahead.

“The 2019 State of the State address included a lot of promises regarding infant mortality, lead poisoning, water quality, early childhood education and many others things. These topics mean nothing if it is not reflected in the state budget, because it will cost a pretty penny to fix all of these problems,” said Brent.

“The state of Ohio has to focus on job creation, quality education and public transportation. We must remember that Ohio’s minimum wage is not a livable wage, and many families will be forced to take whatever job they can as General Motors prepares to close its Lordstown factory.

“I agree with Gov. DeWine that Ohio must address it’s crumbling roads, bridges and infrastructure but we cannot address transit in the state of Ohio without talking about public transportation,” added Brent. “The quality of life regarding people getting to work, school, doctors’ appointments, and more is directly tied to having access to reliable public transportation. Last but not least, instead of giving teachers a hand clap, we should be giving them better wages and a specialized pot of money schools can access for wrap around services.”

Ohio’s job growth has trailed the national average much of the past six years, and its current 4.6 percent unemployment rate ranks 6th worst in the nation. In the past decade, middle class Ohioans have seen the sixth worst decline in wages as share of total income among U.S. states. In addition, Ohio incomes have dropped more than six percent in recent decades, which ranks worse than all but three other states.

After the last eight years of total Republican control of state government, Ohio has dropped from fifth to 23rd in education, and ranks first in student debt and near last in college affordability. Though the state has seen an uptick in high school graduation rates in recent years, rates for minority students remain among the worst in the country.