House Democratic Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) today joined Democratic lawmakers to unveil the Ohio Promise, a blueprint to renew the Buckeye State’s promise of better jobs and brighter futures.
“For many, Ohio’s promise of good-paying jobs and the opportunity to get ahead has faded,” said Leader Sykes. “Democrats are committed to restoring Ohio’s promise of better jobs and brighter futures by working together to expand opportunity and create an economy that works for everyone.”
The Democratic blueprint to restore the Ohio Promise includes a five-point compact to build opportunity for working people, to strengthen families and the communities they live in, and to hold government accountable to taxpayers.*
“The promise of Ohio is our promise to you,” said Rep. Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington). “It’s an framework for the future that puts families first, giving them the tools they need to get ahead. We do it by lowering taxes, making education attainable and promoting job growth by making it easier for Ohioans to start and grow a business.”
The announcement comes amid declining quality of life metrics in Ohio, which currently ranks 44th in unemployment and 41st in population growth. Working Ohioans continue to fall behind, seeing $147 less in wages than the average American at the end of each week. In addition, Ohio has fallen from fifth to 23rd in education and ranks among the worst for both infant mortality and overdose deaths.
“Years of broken promises have rigged the system against everyday Ohioans. They are working harder, but seeing less at the end of the day. They can’t get ahead,” said Rep. Phil Robinson (D-Solon). “To restore Ohio’s promise, we need to keep our promises and work together to make sure that if you work hard you can get ahead in Ohio. It’s about creating good jobs and an economy that works for everyone—not just those at the top.”
The plan includes a number of bipartisan priorities, including plans to protect healthcare and Medicaid expansion, invest in education, expand public transit and improve children’s services, in addition to reforming the state’s tax system and reducing the price of prescription drugs.
“We are committed to working together to deliver real results for taxpayers,” said Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire). “Better lives and brighter futures begin with good-paying jobs, a growing economy and the chance to get ahead. That’s the Ohio Promise.”
Democrats plan to expand on their policy priorities in the coming weeks as the House debates the governor’s first two-year budget.
Here is what other House Democratic lawmakers are saying about the Ohio Promise:
"We need to make Ohio an opportunity state again. That will happen if State Government focuses on helping to grow good paying, community building, middle-class jobs. When the Ohio middle class is healthy, the economy grows for everyone." – House Democratic Whip and state Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid)
“Everyday Ohioans see an economy that’s rigged against them, where they work hard and do everything right, but still can’t get ahead,” said “We need to restore the Ohio promise, that if you work hard, you can get ahead. We’re committed to working together to build opportunity so that every Ohioan has a real shot at the American Dream.” –Assistant Democratic Whip and state Rep. Paula Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo)
“It is up to the legislature to fulfill Ohio’s promise as we look to attract new residents to Ohio and keep our families, friends, and neighbors in this great state. We need diverse opportunities that help hard working families thrive, not just survive, investment in education that supports our youth from cradle to career, and fair treatment and access to services for all Ohioans.” – Rep. Erica C. Crawley (D-Columbus)
“My husband I moved back to his hometown because of the promise Ohio offered for quality fair-wage jobs to help grow our family, the beautiful landscapes especially overlooking Lake Erie, and outstanding opportunities.
Sadly, we’re stuck as a state and we haven’t lived up to the promise for thousands of Ohioans. Potential is there for Ohio to be a place where someone can live the American Dream, work hard to get ahead and retire comfortably. Everyday my colleagues and I are focused on ensuring Ohio is a brilliant place to work, live, raise a family, and we pledge a new promise to all Ohioans to help craft a better tomorrow.” –Rep. Lisa Sobecki (D-Toledo)
“I am delighted that Democrats in the Ohio House are speaking in a unified voice as this decade draws to a close. We stand proudly to offer this Ohio promise because we believe you have the right to a good education, good jobs, secure housing, access to affordable health care, and the ability to save for retirement.” – State Rep. Mary Lightbody (D-Westerville)
"Ohio's Veterans and military families understand the importance of making and fulfilling promises. As service members, we promise our families we will do whatever it takes to secure their safety and freedom.
“We promise our spouses and our children that we will return when we are called to duty. As legislators, we promise Veterans that we will ensure the benefits they have earned are there when needed. I am very pleased to see the Democratic Caucus adopt the Ohio Promise with the same sense of duty and purpose that Ohio's military families make every day.” –State Rep. Adam Miller (D-Columbus)