State Senator Nickie J. Antonio Holds Virtual Town Hall

COLUMBUS- Last week, state Senator Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) hosted a virtual town hall to provide Covid-19 updates to her constituents. She was joined by Cuyahoga County Board of Health Commissioner Terry Allan and state Representatives, including Representative Michael Skindell (D-Lakewood).

The legislators and Commissioner Allan discussed how their offices have been working to help the people in Northeast Ohio during this unprecedented pandemic. Each legislator highlighted different issues that Ohioans are dealing with including small businesses, keeping Ohioans safe, helping seniors, K-12 education, election safety, and unemployment.

Senator Antonio started the Town Hall by condemning recent anti-Semitic statements made by a Republican Senator and increased incidents of hate and discrimination directed to Ohioans who share Chinese, Asian-American or Asian Pacific Islander heritage.

“It is so important for Ohioans to come together as a community during this crisis. Check on your neighbors, reach out to family members, see if there is someone who may need your help. I know this situation is scary, but there is never an acceptable time to be racist, hateful or anti-Semitic,” Antonio said.

Antonio is proud of community members who are going above and beyond at this time, like Western Reserve Distillers, a Lakewood brewery that started producing hand sanitizer in light of COVID-19. Legislators aim to get Ohio businesses, like Western Reserve Distillers, and industries back to business as usual, but recognize the need for safety protocols like social distancing, testing and contact tracing, especially in high-risk places.

“We have been doing targeted testing with our preventive medicine physicians in high-risk places like nursing homes, correctional facilities, homeless shelters, adult care homes [and] a range of other congregate settings,” Commissioner Allan said about the need to increase testing throughout Cuyahoga County. “We are working to address these hot spots by detecting them through testing and suppressing outbreaks to prevent further community spread.”

Representative Skindell discussed the importance of funding local governments saying, “From Lakewood to Cleveland to Brook Park, all over, they [our local communities] are losing a significant amount of money… they pay the wages and healthcare benefits for our police officers, our firefighters, our first responders. We need to make sure those local communities get the funds that are needed to pay those salaries and wages.”

Senator Antonio’s office has fielded many constituent cases regarding economic adversity since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. These cases include connecting constituents with Ohio Jobs and Family Services after they’ve faced technical issues and setbacks for weeks and supporting small businesses by connecting them with assistance opportunities.

“Just know that we are all working for you,” Antonio concluded. “You deserve us to work for you…remember that while we’re dealing with Covid-19, there are a lot of other things that are contagious, such as kindness, compassion and reaching out to the people around you so they know you care. We are all in this together, Ohio!”

Members reiterated their commitment to their constituents in Cuyahoga County as well as Ohioans across the state. For Antonio, this includes several legislative priorities related to COVID-19. Antonio is a primary sponsor on and Senate Bill 255, which would protect vulnerable Ohioans by allowing video cameras in nursing homes and SB 297, a moratorium on evictions, as well as legislation to aid nonprofit unemployment issues.

The entire virtual town hall can be viewed here. Senator Antonio encourages constituents to contact her office at 614-466-5123 or for additional questions, concerns or assistance, or Ohio’s COVID-19 hotline 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (18334275634).

Nickie Antonio

State Senator Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) is honored to be serving in her first elected term in the Ohio Senate District 23, following 8 years of service in the Ohio House of Representatives, 13th House District with 5 of those years serving in leadership as Minority Whip. Antonio has also served as Lakewood City Councilmember, Executive Director of an outpatient drug/alcohol treatment program for women and teacher for children with special needs.

Antonio serves as Highest Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Transportation and Joint Medicaid Oversight Committees. She also serves on the Finance Subcommittee on Health, and Ways and Means Committees. She is also a member of the Ohio House Democratic Women's Caucus—previously serving as chair—and is the State Director for the Women Legislators’ Lobby.

She has been a dedicated champion of workers’ rights, high-quality education, our local governments, equal rights for women and the LGBT community, healthcare for all and fighting the opioid crisis.

Antonio is recognized as a leader who reaches across the aisle to get things done. As a result, she has worked to pass legislation such as Ohio’s historic adoption open records law (SB 23/HB 61) and a step therapy reform law (SB 265/HB 72). During each of her four terms in office, Antonio has introduced the Ohio Fairness Act (now SB11), to provide civil rights protections for members of the  LGBT community,  as well as an end to Ohio’s use of the death penalty and an array of other bills focused on improving the lives of all Ohioans. Antonio continues to be an established expert in health policy in the General Assembly.

The first in her family to graduate from college, she holds both MPA and B.S.Ed. Degrees from Cleveland State University and was named a CSU Distinguished Alumni in 2013. She is also an alumnus and Bohnett fellow of the Kennedy School Harvard Leadership Program (2011).

Daughters Ariel and Stacey have made Antonio and wife Jean Kosmac, very proud as the girls engage in their adult life journeys.

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Volume 16, Issue 9, Posted 8:02 PM, 05.19.2020