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Rep. West, House Dems: Ohioans facing uncertainty amid unprecedented crises demand change

Say successful Ohio Promise Virtual Tour shows Ohioans want action on people-first legislation
September 3, 2020
Thomas West News

COLUMBUS- State Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) and Ohio House Democrats today announced the end of their Ohio Promise Virtual Town Hall Tour, which comprised more than two-dozen virtual town halls since June on topics including COVID-19, jobs and the economy, racial justice, gun safety and voting access. Across the state, over 20,000 Ohioans tuned in to these town halls to hear from their elected officials and ask questions.

Rep. West hosted town halls on July 20 and July 28 with local mayors and township officials to discuss police and criminal justice reform, the state’s COVID-19 response and relief funding for local governments.

“These town halls were a critical opportunity for me to hear from our local elected officials and members of our community about the pandemic’s health and economic effects as well as the overdue reckoning over racial injustice. Beyond that, this was an opportunity for neighbors to speak their minds and share what matters to them,” said Rep. West. “While the House may have been on summer recess these last few months, these unprecedented challenges facing Stark County and Ohio did not take a recess. Throughout the rest of the year, my colleagues and I will continue to bring these issues to light and advocate the solutions we have proposed. I hope our colleagues on the other side will join us getting back to work for Ohioans who are hurting right now.”

The Ohio House returned to session on Tuesday, Sept. 1, and House Democrats were ready to address the rent and mortgage crisis, unemployment compensation and recovery for both COVID-19 and the economic crisis that has followed. However, Speaker Robert Cupp (R-Lima) and House Republicans brought no relevant bills to the floor. This was the first time the Ohio House had convened in over a month.

When Democrats readied to offer several amendments that would have repealed House Bill (HB) 6, the $2 billion corporate bailout tied to an ongoing FBI investigation into an alleged $60 million scheme to pass the bill, Speaker Cupp abruptly ended House session rather than hear the Democratic amendments. Former Speaker Larry Householder, who was present during the September 1 session and voting on legislation, has been arrested and indicted for his role in the alleged corruption scheme.