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Advocate,

Thank you for taking action with the state Senate to prioritize vital public services for vulnerable Ohioans. The response to our two-week push for phone calls and emails has been tremendous!

Since last Monday, we have emphasized how poverty in Ohio is growing because of job loss in the Great Recession, stagnating wages, and low-paying jobs. This shift has made more of our children, families, seniors, and people with disabilities vulnerable and insecure.

Scott Britton, Gayle Channing Tenenbaum, and I have also highlighted stories from our neighbors who are struggling through no fault of their own. Click here to read the stories of Joe Fabiano, Jennifer Guthrie, Jayney Wooley, and Shelly Papenfuse. In short, every story illustrates how health, human service, and early care & education programs offered hope and a greater sense of security in a time of need.

Thank you for helping us elevate these stories and our message to prioritize investing in basic human needs for people.

As a result of hundreds of calls and letters from advocates in the field, like you, and the work of our partner organizations, Senate leaders are reexamining programs such as PASSPORT, behavioral health, and Help Me Grow, as they prepare for a vote. The bill is expected to be voted out of the Finance Committee on Tuesday, June 7 and on the Senate floor either June 8 or 9.

But we still have work to do.

Will you help us build more support in your community by writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper? Since you have taken the time to write an email to your senator, I thought you might be interested in doing even more. The best way to build support locally, influence your elected officials, and get the conversation going is by writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. Click here to use our Letter to the Editor online system, find local newspaper(s) in your area, and send your letter directly to the editor.

If you would like another set of eyes to proofread your letter before you send it out, feel free to send me a draft and I am happy to look it over and share my feedback.

Finally, if you are interested in next week's tentative Finance Committee schedule, it is available here.

If you wish to testify during public testimony, you are asked to submit a witness slip to the Chairman’s office as soon as possible. Witnesses are asked to limit prepared remarks to 2-3 minutes and bring 40 hard copies of testimony with them on the day they testify. You may direct questions and witness slips to Daniel Hurley in the Chairman’s office, daniel.hurley@senate.state.oh.us. Please also note that amendments to the substitute bill are due to the Chairman’s office no later than 12:00pm on Friday, June 3, 2011.

Again, thank you for making the last two weeks so successful. We have been gratified by the response, and we will continue to keep you informed as the budget process moves ahead. I hope you enjoy the holiday weekend!

Sincerely,

Will Petrik, Outreach Director

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