State Rep. John Boccieri (D-Poland) sent a letter to Governor Kasich urging him to take action and set aside $50 million from the Budget Stabilization Fund—which currently holds over $2 billion—to create a Disaster Preparedness Contingency Fund. The new disaster relief fund would be available to local counties and communities to exclusively plan, prevent and respond to mosquito-borne diseases.
“Now, more than ever, we must act quickly to provide the necessary tools for communities to respond to Zika outbreaks in Ohio,” said Boccieri. “Our neighboring state Pennsylvania has reported nearly twice as many cases of Zika virus than Ohio, and Florida is reporting its first mosquito borne-case transmitted within the border. We must prepare our local communities to respond to a public health crisis.”
Rep. Boccieri has continued to push for more state-wide and national efforts to combat Zika virus. Last June, federal legislation that reached the Senate floor appropriating $1.1 billion to fight the mosquito-borne Zika failed due to Republican lawmakers inserting several last-minute provisions that forced their Democratic colleagues to block its passage. Recently, two Mahoning County residents tested positive for the virus.
Rep Boccieri is a pilot and Squadron Commander for the 757th Airlift Squadron, the Department of Defense’ only large area aerial spray squadron. The unit has conducted aerial spray missions combating West Nile virus and Dengue fever.
*Editors Note: A copy of Rep. Boccieri’s letter to Gov. Kasich is attached.