COLUMBUS - Today, State Senator Sean O’Brien (D-Bazetta) responded to Ohio Governor John Kasich’s annual State of the State address, held this evening in Sandusky, OH. Speaking after the address, the Senator expressed frustration with the Republican Governor’s track record on combating the recent opioid epidemic and state funding for education and local communities.
“Ohio has led the nation in opioid deaths in recent years,” said Senator O’Brien. “My district in northeast Ohio has been hit especially hard, but the Governor still refuses to declare a state of emergency. There have been cases in Ohio where county coroners were forced to rent refrigeration trucks to store the bodies of overdose victims, but majority Republicans continue to block attempts by Democrats to address this crisis.”
According to recent estimates, during the Kasich administration, fatal overdoses in Ohio have nearly doubled from 1,772 in 2011 to 3,050 in 2015, the most recent year for which data is available. At the same time, more than half of Ohio’s public schools would see a funding cut or no additional money for fiscal years 2018 and 2019 as a result of the Governor’s recent budget proposal. Much-needed Local Government Funds would see a mere 0.4% increase in fiscal year 2018.
“Our children are the future of Ohio,” continued O’Brien. “Not giving our public schools the funds they need to educate students as best we can is detrimental to the future of our entire state. While the Governor’s speech tonight painted a rosy picture of the future of the Buckeye State, his cherry-picked facts fail to represent the real future we are facing with failing schools and local communities with no money.”
For his part, Senator O’Brien is currently working on legislation to address all the issues he raised with Governor Kasich’s speech. With several pieces of legislation set to be introduced shortly that would provide additional funds for the treatment of opioid addiction, create a statewide program for education of students with dyslexia, and restore additional funds to local governments, the Senator remains committed to giving all Ohioans a fair shot at a healthy, successful future.