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Strong Communities. Better Lives.

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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.

Over the last two weeks, hundreds of our supporters have helped us elevate these stories and our message to prioritize investing in basic human needs for people.

As a result 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 call your senator and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chris Widener (614-466-3780) and send the following urgent message?

  • Along with new jobs, this budget should prioritize workforce supports for those who, despite working hard every day, still fail to provide adequate food, health care, and security for themselves and their families.

  • Any new revenue identified during the budget process must be prioritized for health, human service, and early care & education programs. If revenue projections increase, then those additional funds should be used to improve vital services for Ohio’s most vulnerable.

Prefer to send an email rather than call? Click here to email your senator and Senator Widener.

Next week's tentative Finance Committee schedule 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.

Today’s message concludes our two-week push to make a difference. Enjoy the holiday weekend, and thanks for advocating for strong communities, better lives, and Ohio’s future!

Will Petrik, Outreach Director