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Out & About in Cleveland

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4th of July Celebrations; July 5th Rally in Columbus

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On Tuesday the 4th of July we marched in the Lakewood parade with our friend, Ohio State Senator Michael Skindell (District 23). Marching very near to us was another dear friend of ours, Ohio State Rep. Nickie Antonio (District 13).

As we marched, we chatted with Senator Skindell about how glad we were (as was he and Rep. Antonio) that the state budget for workers compensation passed without the controversial provisions that would have denied benefits to undocumented workers.

The day was beautiful and the weather for the parade could not have been more appropriate; thus it seemed to us that there were more people in attendance than there were in 2016.

For the second year in a row we got to carry the banner for Senator Skindell as we marched and this we did with the help of Mr. Peter Costin who immigrated to the United States from Romania quite a few years ago. We just might see if we can interview him for "I, Foreign Born" in the next couple of weeks.

 

On Wednesday, July 5th, we decided to participate in a rally in Columbus on behalf of preserving the Medicaid expansion in Ohio that Governor Kasich wisely (in our opinion) opted to accept back in 2013 as part of the ACA.

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Even though most of what we have read indicates that it is a very successful program, the Ohio legislature recently passed a bill that was vetoed by Governor Kasich that would have frozen enrollments in expanded Medicaid after July, 2018. The purpose of the rally at the State House in Columbus was to urge our legislators to vote against a proposal to override the governor's veto.

Accordingly, the Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation donated the funds to obtain two buses for Clevelanders (organized by Mr. Larry Bressler of "Organize Ohio" and Ms. Yvonne Oliver of "Uhcan Ohio") to utilize in order to travel to Columbus for a noontime rally and even provided sandwiches and snacks.

We arrived just as the rally, which lasted for an hour, was starting. We are glad to report that it was attended by people of all ages and faiths as well as former Governor Ted Strickland and his wife, Frances.

The rally was coordinated by Reverend Timothy Ahrens, Senior Pastor of First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ in Columbus and featured as speakers Dr. James Misak from the MetroHealth system in Cleveland; Mr. Chuck Oliver, a counselor from "Compass Community Health Center" in Portsmouth; Ms. Natalie Skilliter, owner of the "Corner Kitchen" in Dayton; and Ms. Regina Hillman who has a family member undergoing medical treatment for psychological disorders.

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All of them gave moving testimonies as to what they have personally witnessed as to how the Medicaid expansion has either helped them personally or the people they have known. We learned that keeping the Medicaid expansion in place as it is now makes sense from both an economic and humanistic standpoint. As the owner of a business that employs 20 or so people, Ms. Skilliter was particular effective because she made a case for Medicaid that people from the chambers of commerce that we attend could very much relate to.

Prior to leaving Cleveland, we were given a list of approximately twelve legislators to call an urge them to vote against overriding the governor's veto. So impressed were we by what we heard, we called them all on our way back to Cleveland and either talked to their staff members or left an impassioned plea on their answering machines.

 

By:

Michael Patterson

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC