Open Ohio and protect most vulnerable

Over the last seven months, our community, state, nation, and world have been dealing with the novel coronavirus.

At the beginning, our state made bold decisions because we didn’t know all the risk associated with COVID-19. So we stayed in our homes to protect our community until we gained knowledge about the pandemic risks.

As months have gone by, thankfully the virus is not as deadly as was once predicted.

My push, after the initial panic, has been to open Ohio and protect the most vulnerable. The Ohio House, in fact, has passed a dozen measures designed to support small businesses, first responders, health care workers, our schools and more. This includes SB 1, legislation to limit orders issued by the state health director to only 14 days without legislative extension approval. Governor DeWine vetoed this bill.

The legislature must change state law in order to provide checks and balances upon the power of the executive branch during a public health emergency.

Long-term consequences of the economic shutdowns for many have become worse than the virus itself.

Over the next several weeks, we will be seeing a large rise in COVID-19 cases across our state and nation. This will be due to more testing, more people congregating inside as the weather gets colder, and the normal ebbs and flows of a virus.

As a community, we do not let fear rule our lives. We must protect the most vulnerable among us. We must work to contain the virus while continuing to live our lives.

The CDC and Governor DeWine have changed the COVID guidelines many times over the past year.

As I have said repeatedly since April, the secondary effects of the coronavirus are proving to be far worse than the coronavirus itself. This will continue being true. Consider the following:

· We’ve had huge increases in suicide, mental illness, and opioid overdoses. We have seen a 178% increase in drug overdose calls to the Troy Fire Department. The House, Senate, and Administration have worked hard combating the opioid epidemic over the past five years, but now one epidemic is causing the rise of another.

· We are seeing a rise in suicide in our community. Troy alone has experienced a 267% increase in suicide calls this year.

According to a summer CDC survey, 24.7 percent of 18-24 year olds and 19.5 percent of 25-44 year olds started or increased substance use to cope with pandemic-related stress or emotions. The same survey, taken at the end of June, found that 25.5 percent of 18-24 year olds and 16.0 percent of 25-44 year olds had seriously considered suicide in the past 30 days.

The secondary effects for many are far worse than the virus itself. I will continue pushing against the government overreach that the executive branch has taken during this time of crisis. They expanded their own agenda instead of 1) allowing people to choose for themselves and 2) letting the legislature have a voice. We must change state law in order to limit the powers of the executive branch during an emergency, improve legislative oversight and protect the rights of all Ohioans. We will continue to work on legislation that will provide key checks and balances to the Administration.

We must protect the most vulnerable among us while restoring the freedom of the people of Ohio.