Your Voice In Ohio Policy, A Series - Part 1

Fast and furious is how many of us could describe our daily lives. Between juggling work and getting kids to soccer practice, taking care of elderly parents, and barely finding time to sit down and pay bills, most of us don't have time to understand how our state legislature affects our daily lives. Most of the news we randomly catch amid our busy lives centers around what’s happening on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., obscuring how our state legislature touches our community and daily lives.

In the Ohio Legislature, where your local state rep serves as your voice in state government, many decisions are made that improve or worsen our lives. 

For many hard-working Ohioans struggling to make ends meet, laws passed by the state legislature can improve working conditions in the state, raise the minimum wage, affect your hours and shifts at work, and also impact what benefits you are entitled to, like paid leave, sick time, and unemployment.

Laws that make it easier to obtain and carry high-powered weapons used in school shootings, restrict reproductive rights even in cases of rape, put up roadblocks to the legalization of marijuana, make life difficult for LGBTQ+ communities, and impact climate change often begin in our state legislature in Columbus. 

Your state legislators must adhere to their oath to uphold the Constitution of Ohio and authentically represent those who elected them. They have a moral responsibility to lead with compassion, accountability, and transparency; whether they take those responsibilities seriously is another question. From fighting for worker’s rights, public and bike transportation, accessibility, a cleaner, safer environment, and gun safety to fighting for rights and protections for the LGBTQ+ communities, they are your voice in state government. 

Unfortunately, too often, they serve other, less moral, and even corrupt interests, like the big utilities and the radical right groups who fund their elections in exchange for restricting reproductive rights and big cash bailouts. 

The "House Bill 6" bribery scandal is a cautionary tale of how $61 million in bribes enabled FirstEnergy to manipulate the statehouse into passing legislation that served corporate rather than public interests, effectively raising your electric bill to bail out unprofitable dirty coal and nuclear plants. This bribery scheme highlights a critical failure in the democratic process, where elected officials, compromised by corporate money, neglected their duty to the public. 

The scandal underscores the importance of transparent and effective communication between state representatives and their constituents. Vigilant oversight, clear communication, and active participation in the electoral process ensure representatives advocate for their constituents' interests and prevent future misconduct. 

In a world where powerful interests often shape government policies, ensuring transparency and maintaining a dialogue through platforms like this one is crucial. By being informed about legislative actions in Columbus that impact your everyday life, you can better engage with and hold your representatives accountable. This dialog is vital for preserving a democracy that truly serves its people, not just the interests of a wealthy few.

In future issues of the Lakewood Observer, I will expand on the role the Ohio Legislature plays in worker’s rights, health care, public education, voting rights, LGBTQ+ rights, public transportation, and more while explaining how your state representative can positively impact your daily life, and what you can do as a citizen to stay informed and get involved.  

I welcome your perspective. I would love to hear your take on how the state legislature has or can impact your life or how you would like it to. You can write me at tristan@tristanrader.com

Tristan Rader is a Lakewood City Councilman and Ohio Director for Solar United Neighbors. He is currently the Democratic Nominee for State Representative in House District 13. He lives on St. Charles Ave. with his wife, Caitlin.

Tristan Rader

Tristan Rader is a Lakewood City Councilman and Ohio Director for Solar United Neighbors. Tristan is currently the Democratic Nominee for State Representative in House District 13. A of Kent State grad and holds a Master's of Public Administration from Cleveland State. He lives on St. Charles Ave. with his wife, Caitlin.

Read More on Other
Volume 20, Issue 9, Posted 2:53 PM, 05.08.2024