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Out & About in Cleveland

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20th Anniversary Legislative Breakfast of the Lake County Development Counil

On Monday, February 23rd, our only event for the day was the 20th Anniversary Legislative Breakfast of the Lake County Development Council which was La Malfa on Heisley Road in Mentor. Several hundred people turned our for this event and the ballroom was almost entirely packed. We got to hear U.S. Congressman David Joyce, Ohio State Senator Kenny Yuko, Ohio State Senator John Eklund, Ohio State Rep. Ron Young, Ohio State Rep. John Rogers, and Lake County Commissioner Judy Moran all talk about what is happening on their own levels of government and upcoming legislation that might affect the lives of their constituents, if not all of us. Congressman Joyce talked about a changes we can expect to see regarding the Affordable Care Act and his wish to revise or eliminate the regulations that he contends are hampering business.

Senator Eklund said that there is upcoming legislation to preserve Lake Erie as well as returning control over the roads (and responsibility for their maintenance) to the counties they are located in.

Senator Yuko mentioned that East Cleveland and Maple Heights are really in economic trouble so he is doing his best to work with the city officials to help resolve their problems. He was very critical of the PARCC testing that is taking place in the schools and believes that it "does not move kids forward" and 50% of the school superintendents that he speaks say that there is a definite need to fix these test and the other 50% say that they should be entirely eliminated. We liked it when he introduced Ohio State Rep. Ron Young by saying that he really admired him for donating a kidney to his wife.

State Rep. Young shared some statistics that contended that Ohio was below the national average in unemployment and talked about the various taxes that might be raised to balance the budget. Along these lines, State Rep. Rogers was concerned about proposals to raise the sales tax because he believed that this could adversely affect small business. He went on to talk about proposals to improve redistricting and to manage Lake County more effectively.

Commissioner Moran talked about the various services that the county provides to its residents and concluded by saying that "we must all work together to provide the highest quality of services to our constituents."

During the Q and A, Senator Eklund said that he favors Medicaid expansion and Senator Yuko expressed his doubts about fracking because, as he said, there are still a lot of unanswered questions about it. State Rep. Rogers admitted that the transfer of road care to the counties would probably be an "unfunded mandate."

During the program we sat next to Mr. Martin J. Kuula, Senior Economic Development Executive for First Energy. He recalled that during the 1990's when he was working for Centerior Energy Corporation (which later merged with Ohio Edison Company to become First Energy) the company initiated in a program involving companies seeking to do business in Mexico. Since the possibility loomed that the Mexican counterparts might want have to travel to the United States and perhaps work here, Centerior reached out to several immigration attorneys for their advice and Mr. Kuula believed that Margaret W. Wong might have been one of them.

While we were there we met Ms. Maggie Lynch, Superintendent of the Auburn Career Center, who talked to us about some immigration problems a few of their students were having but were on the way to being worked out. We were both happy, though, to exchange contact information.

Out & Aboutimwong