State Senator Nickie J. Antonio Holds Virtual Town Hall

Ohio General Assembly members from Cuyahoga County discussed COVID-19 updates via a virtual town hall. (Pictured left-to-right:Representative Michael Skindell, Senator Nickie J. Antonio, Cuyahoga County Board of Health Commissioner Terry Allan, Representative Bride Rose Sweeney, Representative Jeffrey Crossman).

COLUMBUS- - Last month, I hosted a virtual town hall to provide Covid-19 updates to her constituents. We was joined by Cuyahoga County Board of Health Commissioner Terry Allan and state Representatives Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland), Jeff Crossman (D-Parma), and Michael Skindell (D-Lakewood).

The state legislators and Commissioner Allan discussed the work their offices have been doing to help ease the brunt of this unprecedented pandemic. Each legislator highlighted issues that are of great importance to them including but not limited to small businesses, keeping Ohioans safe, helping seniors, K-12 education, election safety, and unemployment.

It is so important for Ohioans to come together as a community during this crisis. Check on your neighbors, call your family, see if there is someone you can help. I know this situation is scary, but there is never an acceptable time to be racist, hateful and anti-Semitic.

I am proud of community members who are going above and beyond to support one another at this time, like the Parma Fire Department which recently saluted fellow first responders at UH Parma Medical Center, through firetrucks and bagpipes to show their appreciation.

Legislators aim to get Ohio businesses and industries back to business as usual, but recognize the need for safety protocols like social distancing, testing and contact tracing, especially in high-risk places.

“We have been doing targeted testing with our preventive medicine physicians in high risk places like nursing homes, correctional facilities, homeless shelters, adult care homes [and] a range of other congregate settings,” Commissioner Allan said about the need to increase testing throughout Cuyahoga County. “We are working to address these hot spots by detecting them through testing and suppressing outbreaks to prevent further community spread.”

While in many ways, Ohio has led the nation in efforts to prevent further spread of the virus, Representative Sweeney expressed disappointment regarding the late changes to Ohio’s primary election date, stating,

 “The chaotic process that ensued not only did a disservice to our constituents but to the 11.7 million people across Ohio, and to a certain degree irreparably damaged voter confidence.” Sweeney shared her future policy goal that “would establish a contingency plan when any future disaster or unforeseen circumstance arises that would prohibit in-person voting on Election Day. The holes in our election laws are now clearer than ever, and it is my hope to work in a bipartisan fashion to fill those gaps.” 

Representative Crossman also looked toward the future, responding to the cancellation of in-person schooling this year. Crossman said, “I think we’re going to have to be prepared to think about education in a distancing learning environment like we are now,” after commending teachers, parents and students for their work during this time. “There are some challenges we have to overcome relative to technology and other resources that students make sure [they] have access to the same materials that any other student in the state has.”

From education, to economic assistance, to public health concerns, my office has fielded many constituent cases since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. These cases include connecting constituents with Ohio Jobs and Family Services after they’ve faced technical issues and setbacks for weeks and supporting small businesses by connecting them with assistance opportunities.

Just know that we are all working for you. You deserve us to work for you…remember that while we’re dealing with COVID-19, there are a lot of other things that are contagious, such as kindness, compassion and reaching out to the people around you so they know you care. We are all in this together, Ohio!

Members reiterated their commitment to their constituents in Cuyahoga County as well as Ohioans across the state. For me, this includes several legislative priorities related to COVID-19. I am a primary sponsor on and Senate Bill 255, which would protect vulnerable Ohioans by allowing video cameras in nursing homes and SB 297, a moratorium on evictions, as well as legislation to aid nonprofit unemployment issues.

The  entire virtual town hall can be viewed here.  I encourage constituents to contact my office at 614-466-5123 or for additional questions, concerns or assistance, or Ohio’s COVID-19 hotline 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (18334275634).

Nickie Antonio

State Senator Nickie J. Antonio is honored to be serving in her first elected term in the Ohio Senate District 23, following 8 years of service in the Ohio House of Representatives, 13th House District with 5 of those years serving in leadership as Minority Whip. Antonio has also served as Lakewood City Councilmember, Executive Director of an outpatient drug/alcohol treatment program for women and teacher for children with special needs. Antonio serves as Highest Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Transportation and Joint Medicaid Oversight Committees. She also serves on the Finance Subcommittee on Health, and Ways and Means Committees. She is also a member of the Ohio House Democratic Women's Caucus—previously serving as chair—and is the State Director for the Women Legislators’ Lobby. She has been a dedicated champion of workers’ rights, high-quality education, our local governments, equal rights for women and the LGBT community, healthcare for all and fighting the opioid crisis. Antonio is recognized as a leader who reaches across the aisle to get things done. As a result, she has worked to pass legislation such as Ohio’s historic adoption open records law (SB 23/HB 61) and a step therapy reform law (SB 265/HB 72). During each of her four terms in office, Antonio has introduced the Ohio Fairness Act (now SB11), to provide civil rights protections for members of the LGBT community, as well as an end to Ohio’s use of the death penalty and an array of other bills focused on improving the lives of all Ohioans. Antonio continues to be an established expert in health policy in the General Assembly. The first in her family to graduate from college, she holds both MPA and B.S.Ed. Degrees from Cleveland State University and was named a CSU Distinguished Alumni in 2013. She is also an alumnus and Bohnett fellow of the Kennedy School Harvard Leadership Program (2011). Daughters Ariel and Stacey have made Antonio and wife Jean Kosmac, very proud as the girls engage in their adult life journeys.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 8:56 AM, 06.01.2020