Democrats stop in Springfield to discuss working families

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Democratic state lawmakers kicked off a statewide bus tour in Clark County on Wednesday morning to call attention to their local Statehouse candidates and share their vision for Ohio.

Ohio House Democratic Leader Fred Strahorn said the bus tour will focus on opportunity and accountability.

“We want to create a space where there’s more opportunity for working people,” he said. “We want to make sure there’s accountability for the things we’re doing in government in Columbus.”

That includes focusing on the economic health of working families, Strahorn said, and issues such as college affordability, paid family leave, education, local government funding and creating an environment for wages to increase.

Many of those issues are connected, he said.

“When (the state) cuts local government funds, we put more pressure on local communities, resident’s property taxes go up to fund schools or essential services,” he said. “That makes it harder for that location to be appealing for people who want to locate businesses there.”

And education is critical to having a good workforce, Strahorn said.

“So if we’re not doing a good job in education or making sure college is affordable in Ohio, we’re doing a disservice to the workforce that business needs,” he said.

Lynda Smith, chairwoman of the Clark County Republican Party, questioned how the Democratic state lawmakers would pay for their proposals.

“We do want more jobs and affordability of college is important, but the way I think we’re going to get to a better economy is to job growth, not piling on more debt,” she said. “Paid family leave is great but you have to figure out how you’re going to pay for that in this economy.”

As to local government funding cuts, Smith said local agencies need to look to share more services to save money.

“If they could cooperate and find ways to work together that would save them money and it wouldn’t be so bad … But it’s hard to get people away from the territorial aspect of it,” she said.

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