Ohio’s Senate Democratic Caucus Shares Priorities For 2024

Leader Antonio providing sponsor testimony in the South Hearing Room of the Ohio Statehouse.

With 2024 underway, the Ohio Senate Democratic Caucus has set our priorities for the upcoming year. Our focus is to continue to support hard-working families in the state and make Ohio a great place to live, work, and raise a family. In order to achieve this goal, we are committed to prioritizing healthy and safe Ohio communities. Some of the key priorities that we will focus on are: access to healthcare, community safety through strategies to reduce gun violence, increasing access to affordable housing and advancing policies that promote job growth and job creation.

Improving access to affordable, quality child care:

We are also focused on improving access to quality child care that is affordable and convenient, extending financial aid to early childhood education programs for children with special needs, and supporting the future of generations to come by setting them up for success. This will alleviate the financial burden currently placed on working families through a lack of child care programs.

Increasing access to affordable housing:

Ohio's housing crisis is worsening, with a quarter of all renters in Ohio[1] spending at least half their income on housing and a statewide shortage of over a quarter million homes. Our caucus is committed to finding solutions. Some of these are currently being explored by the Senate Select Committee on Housing, whose aim is to ensure safe, decent, and affordable housing for everyone in the state. We hope to provide relief from the exponential increases in property taxes for those most in need. Additionally, we are collaborating with housing organizations and interested parties to update property tax laws through the Joint Committee on Property Tax Review.

Maintaining safe and healthy communities:

Our caucus recently introduced a comprehensive package of gun legislation that seeks to reduce gun violence in communities by providing incentives like income tax breaks for safe gun storage and handling, as well as removing the ability of convicted domestic abusers to possess guns and allowing individuals who have expressed suicidal ideation to be able to waive their right to gun ownership. Far too many Ohioans lose their lives to gun violence each year. It drastically affects victims, their families, and our communities, and disrupts and obstructs the safety and security of Ohioans. We are confident our package of legislative solutions will make our state safer while respecting the rights of law-abiding Ohioans.

Promoting job growth and creation:

Finally, the Ohio Senate Democratic Caucus aims to promote job and business opportunities in Ohio through capital and One-Time Strategic Community Investment Fund (OTSCIF) projects, including supporting local, female-owned and minority-owned businesses. The Ohio Fairness Act would provide protections for LGBTQ+ workers and also improve Ohio's economy, attracting businesses and investors to the state by providing workplace protections for LGBTQ+ employees, leading to more job creation and the attraction of potential talent and families to Ohio.

These are certainly lofty goals but achievable when we work together. It is with great enthusiasm that we look forward to continuing our service to the state of Ohio through 2024 and working together with you!

[1] https://cohhio.org/state-report-shows-more-ohioans-struggling-to-stay-housed/#:~:text=In%202021%2C%2025%20percent%20of,a%20shortage%20of%20270%2C399%20units.

Nickie Antonio

State Senator Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) is honored to be serving in the Ohio Senate, representing District 23, and in leadership as the Minority Leader. Antonio, who was elected to the Senate in 2018, previously spent eight years in the Ohio House of Representatives, where she served District 13 and was also a member of leadership. Antonio has served as a Lakewood City Councilmember, Executive Director of an outpatient drug and alcohol treatment program for women, Adjunct Professor, and a teacher for children with special needs.

Antonio serves as Highest Ranking Member on the Senate Health, Transportation, and Rules and Reference Committees. Additionally, she is a member of the Ohio House Democratic Women's Caucus, previously as chair, and is the State Director for the National Women Legislators’ Lobby.

She has been a dedicated champion of workers’ rights, high-quality education, local governments, equal rights for women and the LGBT community, health care 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 championed Ohio’s historic adoption of open records law (S.B. 23/H.B. 61) and step therapy reform law (S.B. 265/H.B. 72). Last General Assembly, Antonio passed legislation to abolish the shackling of pregnant inmates (S.B. 18/H.B. 1) and to require pharmacist education for dispensing life-saving naloxone (S.B. 59/H.B. 341). During her tenure in the Ohio legislature, Antonio introduced the Ohio Fairness Act, which would provide civil rights protections for members of the LGBTQ community. She continues to work to remedy and end Ohio’s use of the death penalty, as well as on 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 an MPA and a B.S. Ed. from Cleveland State University, and she was named a CSU Distinguished Alumni in 2013. She is also an alumnus and Bohnett Fellow of the Kennedy School Harvard Leadership Program (2011) and has been the recipient of numerous awards as legislator of the year from various organizations during her tenure.

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

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Volume 20, Issue 3, Posted 12:29 PM, 02.07.2024