Antonio: Vetoes Of Two Bills Necessary
The phrase “lame-duck” describes the period of time after an election but before the end of the General Assembly – November and December of an election year. During this time, there is a rush to pass pending legislation before the end of the year
This year, amongst the dozens of bills rushed through, the legislature passed two such bills – Senate Bill 329 and House Bill 554 – that I did not vote in favor of, and as a result of much public pressure, the Governor vetoed just after Christmas.
House Bill 554 would have changed our state’s energy efficiency standards to unenforceable “goals” through 2019. Without standards, little investment or progress can be made toward the full development and use of renewable or cleaner sources of energy. Instead of moving Ohio forward, this bill would have left us all in the dark ages with high energy prices, a dirty environment, and no high-tech advanced manufacturing jobs. To grow our economy and provide more people with good jobs and affordable energy, we should pass laws that look to the future. Other Democrat lawmakers and I, business groups, environmental groups, and countless others called on our Governor to veto this misguided bill, and I am glad that he did.
Senate Bill 329 would have allowed lawmakers to single-handedly not renew entire state departments. Imagine a winter in Cleveland without ODOT salt trucks for state roads because lawmakers decided not to renew the Department of Transportation, or used the department as a bargaining chip – seems like a bad idea, right? Something that happens in Washington, DC, not Columbus, Ohio. Not only was SB 329 a bad bill, but it was a waste of taxpayer dollars. State departments are already reviewed every two years with the state’s budgeting process, which is a collaborative effort between branches of government and includes many public hearings. The veto of this bill was necessary, and I will continue to work to create a government that better serves us all, I will not work to make government dysfunctional.
State Representative Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) is honored to be serving her third term in the Ohio House of Representatives, where she was elected by her collegaues as Minority Whip for the 131st General Assembly. House District 13 includes the city of Lakewood in its entirety and parts of Cleveland’s West Side including the Detroit Shoreway (Gordon Square Arts District), the Stockyards, West Boulevard, Cuddell, the Village of Linndale, and a section of Ohio City neighborhoods. Representative Antonio is a civic minded public servant who is concerned with the quality of life of those around her and has been a social justice advocate working for human rights and equality for all people for more than two decades. Antonio began her public policy service when she was elected to Lakewood City Council in 2005 and was re-elected in 2009. During her tenure on Lakewood City Council she chaired the Economic Development, Housing, and Human Services committees and served on the Public Works and Finance Committees and was the council representative for the Lakewood Hospital Board and Community Relations Boards. She brought successful strategies for economic development through proactive policies such as the first ever sidewalk dining legislation, the results of which can be seen today in the vibrant outdoor dining scene throughout the city. Ever concerned about environmental policy and practice, Antonio also shepherded through legislation to reduce toxic emissions through a reduced idling ordinance. Antonio also exercised leadership by developing opportunities for diversity appreciation and understanding and civic engagement through the Lakewood Community Relations Advisory Commission of which she was a founder and promoted citizen human rights by expanding protections in the existing municipal intimidation laws. She also championed the push to retain funding for senior programs and services. Antonio is an alumni of the Harvard Kennedy School Senior and Executive Leadership program for State and Local governments. The first in her family to graduate from college, Antonio holds a Master of Public Administration Degree from the Maxine Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education, also from CSU. She is a graduate of Lutheran West High School located in Rocky River, Ohio. A former Special Education teacher and non-profit Executive Director for a women’s outpatient drug/alcohol treatment program, she also served for nearly two decades as a consultant to non-profits and governmental agencies throughout Northeast Ohio and served as administrator for a multi-County HIV/AIDS regional planning group. During this same period she was an Adjunct Professor at CSU teaching courses in Women’s Studies and Public Administration policies and practice. She continues her civic involvement through membership in numerous community groups and serves in an advisory capacity for Spaces Art Gallery and on the board of the non-profit Cleveland Tenants Organization. Antonio currently serves as Ranking Member of the Health and Aging Committee. She also serves on the Finance and Appropriations Committee, Finance Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, the Joint Medicaid Oversight Committee, and the Joint Legislative Committee for Unified Long-Term Servics and Supports. Rep. Antonio is a member of the Ohio House Democratic Women's Caucus. Because of her social justice advocacy and activity, Antonio is known as a collaborative community builder and organizer. She is an enthusiastic proponent of the arts and civic engagement as some of the best tools available to develop local and statewide viability and economic success. She is also a certified coach and advocates the benefits to the world when people are valued and encouraged to rise to their highest potential and purpose. Daughters Ariel and Stacey, both Lakewood High School graduates, have made Rep. Antonio and wife Jean Kosmac very proud as the girls engage in their post-secondary pursuits.