Senator Antonio Shares Budget Priorities
As we embark on the new 134th General Assembly, I look forward to all that can be accomplished over the next two years. The first item on the agenda is the biennial state budget. Totaling nearly $70 billion, the state budget makes two-year appropriations for healthcare, early child through higher education, workforce development, local government, and more. During this process, I plan to prioritize funding programs which promote Ohioan’s health, education, and job security.
Advocating for the health and safety of all Ohioans has always been a priority of mine, however, this became more essential given the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Our state budget needs to include increased funds for PPE, testing, and vaccines, in order to expand access and quantities throughout our communities. Simultaneously, funding public education programs regarding the virus and vaccination process will be necessary in mitigating the continued impact of Covid-19. Another dangerous side effect of the pandemic was the surge in domestic violence cases due to stay-at-home orders across the United States. Providing funding to support domestic violence survivors’ services is critical, especially now.
While many Democratic legislators have been working to correct the inequalities in our education system, Covid-19’s virtual schooling has further highlighted these inequities. Throughout the pandemic, students with poor internet access struggled, and so increasing broadband support across the state is a budget priority this year. We must also establish a fair funding formula to better support our public education. And finally, teachers are the backbone of our education system, so we must guarantee a livable wage for all, including early childhood educators.
Over the past year, my office has connected dozens of constituents to unemployment benefits assistance as the pandemic continues to affect Ohioans economically as well. Commitment to the economic success of Ohio’s workers will continue to be a priority for me. This includes increased funding resources for our small businesses and women-owned businesses in the state’s budget.
As we begin working on the state budget, I will be meeting with mayors, city council members, constituents, and stakeholders in the following weeks to work on these budget priorities. Email me with your budget priorities at Antonio@ohiosenate.gov to be a part of the conversation. I look forward to working for you and with you to do all that we can for Ohioans, and specifically, Ohio’s 23rd Senate District.
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.