Senator Antonio Looks Ahead

We are still a long way from normalcy as we grapple with the ever-changing tides of Covid-19, it is important to continue looking and moving forward. I am happy to report that Senate bills I introduced this General Assembly have moved forward, passing out of the Ohio Senate last month as amendments. Senate Bill 18, which would prohibit the shackling and solitary confinement of pregnant inmates, was amended into S.B. 3, important legislation to reform drug sentencing laws. The passage of this legislation is especially important as we identify ways to reform our criminal justice system and lower our infant and maternal mortality rate. Another piece of legislation to increase access to life saving naloxone, the opioid overdose antidote, S.B. 59 was amended into House Bill 341. Together, these Bills will help save lives and provide much needed criminal justice reforms to get those who need it into treatment and offer pregnant inmates safer conditions to maintain their health and that of their newborn babies.

Many legislators and public officials are looking to the future as they work to ensure that every Ohio voter has safe and fair access to the upcoming general election. To achieve this goal, I have introduced S.B. 323, with Senator Sandra Williams (D-Cleveland), which would require that every registered voter in Ohio receive an absentee ballot application, streamline the request process online and provide updates to Election Day procedures. One problem we have yet to overcome from the 2020 primary election is the shortage of poll workers. Many of our older Election Day volunteers will be unable to help in November due to Covid-19 related vulnerabilities, so it a great time for young people to sign up as a paid poll worker. We are in danger of the Secretary of State reducing polling locations without enough workers. You can help by signing up to be a poll worker through the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.

Finally, I know we are all anxiously waiting for the day we can once again travel, hug a friend, or visit our favorite restaurant, but we will only get there if we remain committed to each other’s health and safety. This means wearing a mask whenever you are in a public area where safe social distancing is not possible. Additionally, if you wear reusable masks, it is important to wash them to ensure maximum effectiveness. This simple ounce of prevention will go a long way in protecting our families and neighbors, so that we may soon return to normal. If you know someone who needs a mask, visit the Giving Tree Project on Facebook for the Lakewood location where you may find a free mask or donate for others. It’s a project I’m proud to be involved with Kira Krivosh who has done a fantastic job of organizing and getting hundreds of facemasks to people who need them.

As always, my office is a resource to our community. My staff is always happy to help, so please call us at 614-466-5123 or email us at antonio@ohiosenate.gov.

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 14, Posted 4:19 PM, 07.15.2020