COLUMBUS – State Reps. Paula Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo), Mike Sheehy (D-Oregon), and Lisa Sobecki (D-Toledo) expressed disappointment today after Governor Mike DeWine decided to issue a waiver of his public health orders for political rallies, including an upcoming presidential rally in Toledo on Monday.

“It is unfortunate that just days after Toledo Express Airport's name was officially re-dedicated to honor a man of science, NASA Mission Control legend and Toledoan Eugene F. Kranz, our Governor ignores science and sound judgment by waiving the COVID-19 guidelines,” said Rep. Paula Hicks-Hudson. “On balance, our right to life and liberty requires implementing safety standards and rules with the cooperation of all.”

While the Representatives all agree that protecting the First Amendment right to freedom of speech is of the upmost importance, it seems inconsistent to say that mask mandates and social distancing undermine that right. The DeWine administration has previously issued a mask mandate on church attendance, as well as limitations on the size of other gatherings, presumably also protected by the First Amendment. The Representatives also believe that these science-based orders do not fundamentally hinder a campaign’s right to freedom of speech.

“Since the pandemic began, Lucas County has confirmed the fifth most COVID-19 cases in Ohio. Fortunately, the precautions outlined in the Governor’s public health orders have worked, and coronavirus cases in Lucas County have trended downward since the end of July. It is disappointing that the Governor has waived the statewide public health orders for the upcoming presidential rally,” said Rep. Sheehy.

“Over the past few months, Lucas County residents have practiced social distancing, worn masks outside of the home, and slowed the spread of COVID-19. Doing so has allowed us to be downgraded from red to orange on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System. Unfortunately, now the upcoming rally next week, without appropriate health guidelines in place, threatens all of that progress,” said Rep. Sobecki. “I’m disappointed that the Governor waived requirements to wear masks in public, maintain social distance, and cap the number of attendees allowed inside the venue. Throughout the country, there have been Americans who have gotten sick, or died from COVID-19 as a result of attending political rallies without reasonable precautions. It’s a shame that the Governor, who led early on in this pandemic, is faltering and jeopardizing people’s health.”

Reps. Hicks-Hudson, Sheehy, and Sobecki call on Governor DeWine to reconsider the waiver he granted to political rallies given that it is clear in this instance that campaigns will not be universally enforcing COVID-19 precautions, such as mandatory mask wearing and social distanced attendees, on their own recognizance.

In addition to the event in Toledo, there will also be a stop in Montgomery County, which Governor DeWine has said he will attend. Montgomery County is presently listed as red on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System, and has the tenth most cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 statewide.


Featured Posts

Rep. Sobecki Calls On DeWine To Veto Bill Dems Say "puts All Ohioans In Danger"


Rep. Lisa Sobecki (D-Toledo) today sent a letter calling on Governor Mike DeWine to veto Senate Bill (SB) 311, legislation Democrats say will slow the state’s coronavirus response, ultimately leading to more deaths and further destabilizing Ohio’s economy. Statehouse Republicans fast tracked SB 311 last week, voting along party lines to pass the controversial bill that would strip executive power from the state’s Health Director during public health crises.


Rep. Sobecki Announces Open Application Period For BroadbandOhio Connectivity Grant Program


State Rep. Lisa Sobecki(D-Toledo) announced Ohio schools may begin applying for the new BroadbandOhio Connectivity Grant beginning today, Monday, August 10. A total of $50 million will be allocated to expand high-speed internet access for Ohio students utilizing remote learning during the COVID crisis by providing hotspots and internet-enabled devices to students.


Rep. Sobecki Announces $300 Million To Help Colleges, Universities, And K-12 Schools Prepare For Fall Semester Amid COVID-19


State Rep. Lisa Sobecki (D-Toledo) announced Monday the state Controlling Board approved another round of federal funding to support Ohio’s efforts to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, including $300 million in federal funding to offset Ohio’s K-12 schools and colleges and university’s costs of keeping students and staff safe in the fall.


Democratic Veteran Caucus Members Call For Reversal Of "hard Stop" Orders For National Guard


House DemocraticMembers of the Veteran Caucus today sent a letter to Governor DeWine calling on him to urge President Trump to rescind his orders ending National Guard deployments. The letter, signed by state Reps. Lisa Sobecki (D-Toledo), Casey Weinstein (D-Hudson), Erica Crawley (D-Columbus) and Mike Sheehy (D-Oregon), notes that the “hard stop” for deployments falls one day short of the 90-day threshold where National Guard service members would qualify to receive early retirement, education, among other benefits.