My life experience informs why I am running to represent you at the Statehouse. I know what it is like to struggle and believe that one has a responsibility to pay it forward when they are in a position to do so. That is why I have dedicated my entire adult life to public service. In Columbus, I plan to collaborate with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to work on the important issues and use the power of state government to improve the lives of all Ohioans.
It all begins with education. An educated population spurs job creation and retention, good wages, lower crime rates, an improved quality of life, and a sense of civic pride, among many other benefits.
I have been an educator in the public schools for nearly 30 years, serving at both the middle and high school levels. My areas of expertise are in American Government and Law, American History, World History, and Economics. I have always focused on teaching the State of Ohio approved curriculum. I have happily served thousands of students in my career. Nothing excites me more than when my students achieve success in the classroom, especially my students with disabilities. What an honor it would be to serve every student in Ohio at the Statehouse.
It is my belief that in order for students to reach their potential, they require a safe and quality learning environment that promotes a growth mindset and 21st century skills. Every student can be successful, regardless of ability-level, but they must be provided with the correct tools. The state has a responsibility to ensure that students are provided with these tools regardless of zip code, property values, or socioeconomic status. I will be a constant advocate for students and families. I will also advocate for seeking a funding formula that relies less on property taxes. But, serving students in primary and secondary schools is not where my work will stop. We must also ensure that our vocational schools, colleges, and universities are accessible and affordable.
I will advocate for my fellow educators and paraprofessionals. The state must commit to attracting and retaining the best and the brightest for our kids. This means that salaries and benefits must be commensurate with their required high levels of education and expertise.
The state should no longer impose partially or unfunded mandates onto our schools. It is not fair to add expenses without providing the funding, as this requires them to go back to the local taxpayers to make up the difference. All schools receiving public funding should be held accountable on a level playing field.
*Every child deserves a quality educational opportunity regardless of zip code.
*The state needs to seek a school funding formula that relies less on local property taxes.
*Post-secondary education must be accessible to all students.
*The state must compensate educational professionals properly - our students deserve the best and the brightest.
*No more unfunded mandates on our schools, costing local property owners more.
After my dad left us, my mom lost almost everything and she struggled to make ends meet. For a time we were even on food stamps. One of her happiest days was when she no longer accepted them. She made menial wages at her non-union job in the children’s department at The May Company, working every hour of overtime she could to help make ends meet. Mom never gave up and, in doing so, taught me the dignity of work.
I know my mom would be proud that her son has the potential to go to the Statehouse to help pass laws that will have a positive impact on Ohioans who are struggling to keep up with rising prices and stagnant incomes. Over the decades, real per capita personal income in Ohio has grown at an annual rate of 2% - ranking 46th in the nation. Rest assured that my experience as a child has made me an advocate for the underdog, for the poor, and for the middle class. The state must work to increase the standard of living, give our young people opportunities here in Ohio, and reduce poverty. I will support legislation that leads to creating, attracting, and retaining jobs that pay fair wages, as well as a tax structure that does not unfairly burden the poor or middle class.
*Every worker deserves a living wage and quality benefits.
*Reform existing state programs to create jobs by investing in roads, water and sewer systems, bridges, clean energy, high-speed internet, and 21st century manufacturing.
*The state tax structure should not unfairly burden the poor and middle class.
Having served my beloved community of Parma as a ward councilman from 2004-2011 and as president of city council from 2011 to the present, I am happy to say that Parma has passed a balanced budget every year that I have served on city council. This has been challenging at times due to economic downturns and inconsistent state funding.
Unfortunately, I can attest that the state’s inconsistent funding of the local government fund has presented a challenge to our communities. The state made a commitment to cities years ago to send some of the tax dollars our residents send to Columbus every year back to help fund local services. Cuts to the local government fund has meant a loss of tens of millions of dollars to the cities in our district. These are dollars that could have been used to hire more police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical service heroes, as well as address our aging streets, sewers, and other infrastructure needs, not to mention the other services provided by your local governments.
*The state must keep its commitment to our cities. We expect more of our dollars back from Columbus to be used to address our community’s needs.
*The state must keep its funding commitment to our local communities to take the burden off of local taxpayers.
Sadly, I lost my mom to breast cancer. After she passed, I found that she had thousands of dollars in bills from medical care providers. Like any good mom who does not want to worry her son, she did not tell me about this. I have shed many tears thinking about how stressful this must have been on her already weakening body. My mom’s job as a bartender did not include a health care plan. No one should have to go through what my mom went through. State leaders must work together to find creative ways to ensure that our residents are not burdened with healthcare debt and high prescription drug prices. High quality healthcare must be accessible to all.
*I will advocate for affordable, quality health care for all Ohioans.
*The state must use its leverage to lower prescription drug costs.
*Drug addiction and mental health should be top public health priorities.
As a child, my grandparents meant the world to me. In fact, from seventh grade on, my beloved grandmother raised me. I owe much of my success to her love and guidance. As a result, I have always had a great respect for my elders.
As a councilman, I have had the honor of serving hundreds of seniors. For instance, over the years I have put a lot of effort into connecting senior citizens to helpful programs. I am most proud of putting together several community events that connect seniors to various local, state, and federal organizations that offer services and benefits to them. Rest assured that as a State Representative, I will continue to serve our seniors, many of whom are on fixed incomes.
*The state must do a better job of connecting seniors to benefits programs.
*Bolster the Homestead Exemption to ensure that it is not discriminatory.
*The state must use its leverage to reign in prescription drug prices.
*Seek a school funding formula that relies less on property taxes, which unfairly often pits our seniors against our schools.
*The state has a responsibility to ensure that all nursing homes provide quality care.
The success of a community hinges primarily on one main factor – safety. If residents feel safe, they will stay and invest in their properties. A safe community also attracts new residents. This all hinges on solid police, fire, and emergency medical services. In my years on city council I am proud to say that I have been a constant supporter of the Parma Police and Fire Departments. In fact, my father-in-law proudly served as a career Parma firefighter. On city council, I have never waivered in my support of hiring the best and brightest, offering quality training, and providing our safety forces with the top-notch technology and equipment they need to do their jobs well. It is imperative that the state keep its funding commitments to local communities. Unfortunately, Columbus has not consistently kept this commitment over the years, making it challenging for cities to afford the rising costs of 21stcentury safety forces. You can count on me to work hard in Columbus to advocate for our safety forces and proper funding of local governments so that they can provide quality safety services to residents.
*The state must be a partner with local government to ensure the best safety forces.
*Our safety force heroes deserve quality pay, benefits, and protections – we need to attract and retain the best and brightest.
As a child I spent a lot of time in the woods by my grandparents’ home. As a result, I have always had great respect for nature. Nowadays I spend a lot of time in our beloved Metroparks, our local and state parks, the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and around Lake Erie. I am a member of the West Creek Conservancy, on the Advisory Board for Big Creek Connects, and was named Environmentalist of the Year by the Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District. As a member of Parma City Council, I advocated for and voted to support the creation of the West Creek Reservation – one of the newest jewels in the Cleveland Metroparks’ Emerald Necklace. In Columbus I will advocate for our parks, our watersheds, and our air. I will also call for the repeal of the corrupt House Bill 6, which I never supported.
*I will always advocate for our parks and recreation at the Statehouse.
*The state must ensure that our environment is secure for posterity.
*Lake Erie and its watershed are important assets that we must protect.
As a member of Parma City Council for many years, I have worked with hundreds of small business owners and understand their challenges. Small business owners are the backbone of our local economies. They provide jobs and income for families, taxes for government services, and often give back to the community philanthropically, among many other benefits to our local communities. The state must be a partner with our small business community by providing them with tax incentives and loans so that they can grow and thrive and afford to provide their employees with good wages and health care packages.
*The state must be a partner with small business owners.
*Reform existing programs and the state tax structure to incentivize small business creation, success, and growth.
*I will support legislation that helps small business thrive, create jobs, and support their workers with quality pay and benefits.