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Rep. Phillips seeks full account of Elmaraghy ouster
August 29, 2013
Kasich Administration's Culture of Political Favoritism Targets OHEPA Regulator

State Representative Debbie Phillips (D-Albany) today sent a letter* to the Kasich Administration demanding a full account of the events that led to the removal of George Elmaraghy, the Chief of the Division of Surface Water, at the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Rep. Phillips specifically requested that correspondence between the Gov. Kasich’s office, the Ohio EPA and coal industry officials regarding Mr. Elmaraghy be made available under Ohio’s public records law.

Elmaraghy asserts that Gov. Kasich and EPA Director Nally forced him to resign early last week due to growing pressure from coal companies seeking special permits-- permits that could violate state and federal laws. Elmaraghy’s official email account was disabled late last week, even though the long-time regulator wouldn’t be off the payroll until Sept. 13th.

“Governor Kasich and his administration need to make decisions based on what’s best for the people of Ohio, rather than paying back campaign donors,” said Rep. Phillips. “It seems pretty clear that Mr. Elmaraghy is the latest casualty of the Kasich Administration’s culture of political favoritism.”

State Representative and Ohio Legislative Black Caucus President Alicia Reece commemorates 50th anniversary of the March on Washington
August 28, 2013
State Rep. Alicia Reece: It's Time to Make The Dream Real

State Representative and Ohio Legislative Black Caucus President Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati) released the following statement today in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s March on Washington:

“As we commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the March On Washington, President Obama's speech confirmed that there is still much work to be done for equality, race relations, voting rights, and economics to ensure that everyone has a chance at the American Dream. It is time to work with a sense of urgency to make Dr. King's dream real.”

Lawmaker calls for Voter's Bill of Rights at 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington
August 27, 2013
Cincinnati lawmaker to announce "Voter Bill Of Rights" amendment
August 23, 2013
State Rep. Reece to Speak at March on Washington 50th Anniversary

State Representative Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati) will be speaking at the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington, tomorrow, August 24th at 10 a.m. in front of the Lincoln Memorial. The event is being organized by Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network and will focus on issues such as economic injustice and racial inequality.

During her speech, Rep. Alicia Reece will call for a Voter Bill of Rights state constitutional amendment to be launched in Ohio and across the nation in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.  Her initiative aims to provide concrete rights to voters that would extend access to polls, protect voters against voter intimidation and disenfranchisement, and ensure citizens’ right to vote.

Ohio State Rep. Reece has been a strong advocate for voting rights since her days at Grambling State University.  She has fought against voter intimidation and suppression in Ohio and she has championed numerous voting rights bills.  Rep. Reece is a national board member of the National Action Network, and has been asked to participate as a speaker at the March on Washington at the Mall on Saturday, August 24th.You can learn more about Rep. Reece’s work on voting rights here. A high resolution photo of the Cincinnati lawmaker is attached.

Gov. Kasich, Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor chose to do nothing when faced with opportunity to craft a state solution
August 19, 2013

In 2011, Ohio was faced with a choice: We could either establish our own customized, state-run health-insurance exchange where Ohioans could purchase health insurance, or we could use a one-size-fits-all federal exchange. During that pivotal time, I asked Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, director of the Ohio Department of Insurance, to come to the Ohio House Health and Aging Committee to discuss the choice, but my request was met with silence.

Voices from across the health-care system — physicians, health insurers, insurance agents, consumer advocates and hospitals — thought that a state-run exchange would be better for both Ohio insurers and consumers by encouraging more insurers to participate. So Rep. Nickie Antonio of Lakewood and I introduced legislation that would create a state-based exchange. Still, Taylor refused to appear in front of the committee to discuss the bill and ignored all offers to work collaboratively to establish a state-based exchange.

Gov. John Kasich and Taylor opted to do nothing and settle for a one-size-fits-all approach to offer affordable health care to Ohioans. Now, Taylor is claiming that, because fewer insurers are participating in the federal exchange, costs will go up for Ohio's consumers.

Controversial agency's internal procedures should show conflict-of-interest determinations
August 5, 2013
Members push to refocus committee on matters pertaining to state government
August 2, 2013
Columbus lawmaker reacts to latest JobsOhio controversy
July 31, 2013

In response to today’s Dayton Daily News investigative report on potential conflicts of interest at JobsOhio, Rep. John Patrick Carney (D-Columbus) released the following statement:

“The latest revelations in this ongoing controversy at JobsOhio are disturbing at best.

"It is problematic when you see that a majority of individuals who direct economic development in our state also have personal financial interests in the companies that received state incentives.

“It is beyond problematic when it is exposed that Governor Kasich worked to set up a secretive economic development system that would go on to benefit his recent employers.

“Economic development in our state should be based on best practices and evidence-based projects. It shouldn’t be about who you know, or what your powerful friends can do with taxpayer dollars.”

Recent investigative report underscores importance of higher standards
July 31, 2013

In response to today’s Dayton Daily News investigative report on potential conflicts of interest at JobsOhio, Rep. Matt Lundy (D-Elyria) released the following statement:

“The veil of secrecy over JobsOhio creates fertile ground for possible corruption.

“Even the perception of conflicts of interest needs to be taken seriously. JobsOhio should be subject to all of the ethics laws that government officials must adhere to.

“Using taxpayer money to reward cozy relationships at JobsOhio and the Governor’s office is appalling.

“It is more apparent now than ever before that we need to account for every dollar used in the name of economic development-- instead of having a ‘take care of your buddy system’.”

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