On The Issues:

Ohio's Opioid Crisis

A growing Ohio public health crisis is ravaging our families and our communities. Over 17,000 Ohioans died of drug overdoses from 2010-2016, many attributable to abuse of prescribed opioids. Researchers at OSU now estimate the cost of the crisis to Ohio at somewhere between $6.6 billion and $8.8 billion every year.


This crisis is killing about 14 Ohioans every day. Many others are effectively disabled by addiction, unable to function or to qualify for many jobs. The number of opioid-related deaths among African-Americans has more than tripled since 2010. Also unconscionable is the fact that 28% of children taken into the state’s protective custody over this period had parents using opioids. Of the children in state care under the age of one, 70% had opioid-involved parents.


We must get illegal drugs like heroin and meth off our streets. But as many local law enforcement leaders have made clear, we cannot simply arrest our way out of this problem. Overprescription of painkillers must be restricted. Treatment and prevention efforts must also be front and center. Recent activity forcing the closure of opioid pill mills without adequate human service resources in place have undercut our efforts to address these issues effectively.


Local first responders must have the resources and tools they need for prevention, education, and law enforcement efforts stemming from this crisis. Cutting local government funding for first responders has been shortsighted and detrimental. Naloxone continues to be seen by experts as a constructive approach to preventing overdose deaths. Treatment bed availability continues to be a central challenge.


After years of inaction, state officials have only recently begun to take any steps to address this crisis that ballooned to epic proportions on their watch. Many cities and counties and states are now belatedly suing pharmaceutical companies and distributors that have directly contributed to Ohioans’ addiction to narcotic painkillers. We must have an all-hands-on-deck effort to stem the crisis plaguing our state.


What the Cordray-Sutton Administration Will Do

  1. Implement "State of Emergency" Coordination - This crisis is like a non-stop hurricane. As Governor, Rich would immediately declare a “state of emergency” requiring the strategic coordination of federal, state, and local government resources and community-based efforts - for both the short run and the long run. We will create clear, reliable channels for information flow about local needs and recommendations, supporting implementation of community-based solutions.

  2. Protect the Medicaid Expansion and Increase Local Capacity - Funding for treatment and prevention efforts is critically tied to continuing the Medicaid expansion. We cannot allow this framework and these resources to be rolled back. The state cannot dither while we wait for further guidance from Congress – we must act to protect Ohioans now. Training, data sharing, and program options that support law enforcement and first responders must be reinforced. Better mapping and statistical analysis can allow more effective use of scarce resources.

  3. Expand Access and Funding for Prevention and Treatment - We must go further to improve access to prevention and treatment services. Local government funding must be bolstered. Dozens of pending lawsuits must hold companies accountable for harming our people and our communities, and we must require industry officials to provide resources to address the devastating effects.

  4. Provide Support and Resources for Families and Improve Foster and Adoptive Services - Family and friends of those struggling with addiction are often left isolated and overwhelmed. More educational and support resources are key to their roles in helping loved ones find successful treatment and recovery. Children who are at risk due to the behavior of parents and caregivers must be protected and supported wherever possible. We must seek new approaches to increase foster and adoptive services for the growing number of children and grandchildren left behind by the opioid crisis.

  5. Replace Economic Despair with Broader Economic Opportunity - Clearly this epidemic is substantially a product of economic despair and hopelessness. Along with all of the other needed interventions, people all over Ohio must see that good jobs are available and that an alternative to addiction is a reality. Creating jobs and pathways to those jobs in communities throughout the state, not just in certain enclaves, is another critical element of confronting this crisis successfully.

The Cordray-Sutton Proven Record on Fighting Opioid Addiction


Support for Small Businesses to Grow and Spread Economic Opportunity

Since 2014, 6 of Ohio's 7 major economic areas have posted job growth that was below the national average. The Youngstown and Akron areas actually had net job loss over that period. Ohio has fewer jobs today than it had in 2001.


Another paper will examine prior and current approaches to job growth, including the past performance of the Department of Development, the current Jobs Ohio program, the Third Frontier initiative, and brownfields redevelopment. But local communities need to be equal partners in job growth strategies, including siting, community development, and workforce development. Currently, many communities in Ohio feel left out or left behind. We must be more effective in spreading economic opportunity around the state.


At the same time, we are missing other opportunities that are right in front of us. Small businesses rooted in local communities frequently create quality jobs that stand the test of time. Ohio has 939,317 small businesses (99.6% of all Ohio businesses) that employ 2.1 million people – which is almost half of our private sector workforce. It is widely recognized that small businesses produce the bulk of the new jobs created in this country. Small businesses, nurtured with appropriate resources and support, can foster sustainable economic growth and innovation in communities across Ohio.


But making this happen will require intensive focus and effort on the part of state officials who must be willing to partner closely with local communities, local businesses, and local investors and financing sources. It will require a strategy that understands and works with the capital investment markets to bring more, and more timely, venture capital and other bank and non-bank financing into Ohio communities that are in serious need of sustained capital investment to grow jobs and economic opportunity.


What the Cordray-Sutton Administration Will Do

  1. Provide Better Tax Incentives, Grants and Small Business Loans – More effective focus on job training, infrastructure, transportation, and child care initiatives can create new businesses to meet those needs as well as help existing businesses grow in our communities. We need to incentivize business growth with available job training. We will launch "Startup in a Day" to allow entrepreneurs to get all required permits in a single day. We must also allocate specific funds for small businesses and MBE/EDGE companies.

  2. More Transparency – Ohio should conduct full audits of development programs that deploy public funds. The essential value and benefit of these efforts must be documented and justified. We need to take measures to ensure accountability and appropriate contract review in these support programs for small businesses.

  3. Empower a New Small Business Chief – Laser-like focus on job growth from our small businesses requires 24/7 attention from a senior leader with a strong team. Consolidating responsibility to help small businesses grow jobs includes:

    • Business Services/Business Development Support – Ohio must directly help small businesses access quality, low-interest capital at timely moments. They also need regulatory compliance assistance (pre- and post-launch); business education resources; mentoring/networking for entrepreneurs; help with siting, in partnership with local communities; help matching job seekers with business needs; and guidance and outreach on government contracting opportunities.

    • Community Development – We need competitive grant programs for community-based organizations, training them to build capacity through storefront improvements, neighborhood beautification and revitalization, urban planning, and leadership training to build local capacity. We must spread out this support to small and mid-sized towns around Ohio. Fellowship program should support hiring of recent high school and college graduates to do community development work (an “Ohio Peace Corps for our communities).

    • Economic Empowerment – We must certify minority/women-owned businesses (M/WBE), streamline competition for public contracts; target programs and mentoring; do proactive outreach on contracting opportunities for M/WBEs; help lenders create targeted low-interest loan programs; and encourage more entrepreneurs from historically disadvantaged populations.

The Cordray-Sutton Proven Record on Small Business Retention and Attraction

Reliable Health Care for All Ohioans

Reliable access to quality health care saves lives, promotes stable and healthy lifestyles, and provides security to Ohioans across the social and economic spectrum. The Affordable Care Act (ACA), which Betty voted for in Congress, has benefited a huge number of Ohioans by providing them with greater access to affordable health care, which is a major worry for people and their families. The ACA has allowed more than 666,000 Ohioans to gain coverage and more than 80,000 Ohioans under the age of 26 have been able to remain on their parents’ healthcare plans. Yet politicians in Washington, D.C. are currently seeking to strip away the health care protections that people need. We must fight to keep our health care and help Ohioans manage any gaps in coverage.


In addition, Ohio is one of the states that has adopted and implemented the Medicaid expansion, which has expanded access to affordable health care and bolstered the key medical sector of Ohio’s economy. This has been good for Ohioans, but more still needs to be done. Our uninsured rate is the 13th highest in the nation. And the state legislature remains opposed to the Medicaid expansion, seeking to eliminate it or freeze enrollment, putting these benefits at risk. We must make sure that our most vulnerable continue to receive access to healthcare. We can reduce inefficiencies in cost management, but access and affordability problems cannot be wished away. The coverage gaps are real, and we must assure basic health care rights to all Ohioans.


In 2016, more than 103,000 Ohio children went without health insurance. We cannot claim to be invested in our children’s futures if they are denied access to doctors and treatment. Betty co-sponsored the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and has been a leader on children's health issues for years. We need leadership to ensure that no Ohio child is left behind without essential access to health care.


What the Cordray-Sutton Administration Will Do

  1. Protect the Medicaid Expansion to Keep Our Health Care - Maintaining Ohio’s Medicaid expansion is crucial to protect healthcare services for families in our cities and rural communities, reduce infant mortality, and battle opiate addiction. Changes to current law must not be allowed to hurt seasonal workers, veterans, or the disabled. And we must reject punitive new cost-sharing proposals. 

  2. Improve the Exchanges to Provide More Choice, Reduce Costs, and Ensure Access Across the State - Last summer, 19 Ohio counties lacked insurers in their individual exchange market. Medicaid filled in, but lack of competition means higher costs and higher rates. Insurers need incentives to enter rural counties and providers on the exchange must cover the entire state. This will help limit closures of local hospitals and clinics that create community health care vacuums. Other states are having better performance on their exchanges and we need to learn from them and improve Ohio’s performance accordingly.

  3. Expand Children’s Health Insurance Coverage in Ohio - We can expand coverage under the CHIP program in Ohio in a cost-effective manner. Ohio is one of the the worst states on infant mortality. Central Ohio’s Celebrate One campaign and other local initiatives address this challenge and should be taken statewide. Health care must be a certainty for children - and for mothers with young children.

  4. Tackle Ohio's Opioids Addiction Crisis - Opioids have caused a growing Ohio public health crisis that is ravaging our communities. Rich and Betty’s plan for the appropriate treatment, education, and law enforcement tools needed to tackle this epidemic is addressed in a separate issue paper on the Opioid Crisis.

  5. Focus Resources for Women and Children - The state legislature has pursued a narrow ideological agenda that has hurt women’s health programs in Ohio. It defunded Planned Parenthood’ programs for women’s health. It rolled back the rule requiring employers to provide contraceptive coverage, which had sharply reduced birth rates among teenagers. It has not invested sufficiently in pre-natal care, post-natal care, infant mortality programs, mammograms and other women’s health screenings. Rich and Betty will set a new direction in this key area.

  6. Investing in Ohio's Health Care industry - Health care is one of our strongest areas of job growth. We will invest in pathways to these high-demand careers.

The Cordray-Sutton Proven Record on Health Care


Universal Pre-K

The evidence is crystal clear. Preschool educational and developmental programming improves school readiness. It lays a critical foundation for children to succeed. It measurably enhances their ability to master language, literacy, and math skills central to navigating our society. We must immediately take steps to implement Universal Pre-K. Simply put, kindergarten isn’t what it used to be. Today, well-prepared children arrive knowing the alphabet, able to count, to recognize colors, and to distinguish rhyming words. Early development of these learning and knowledge characteristics mesh with the development of key social skills. Pre-K children learn to wait their turn, persist with tasks they find difficult, work with others, and control their impulses. These attributes and the benefits of Pre-K education are documented in both local and national research studies.


Where available, pre-school has also become our most reliable outside-the-home opportunity to identify health issues and learning disabilities among young children, allowing earlier interventions that better mitigate their effects. Yet these important Pre-K opportunities should not be determined by a child’s zip code. High-quality education is the foundation of our democracy, and of opportunity in our economy and our society.


In 2010, Ohio public schools ranked #5 in the nation in Education Weeks' annual Quality Counts rankings. In 2015, we fell to #18 and last year we slipped down to #22. In Ohio and across the nation, parents of young children say the main reason they don’t send their kids to preschool is that they can’t afford it. It’s time to address that need.


In 2017, the legislature crafted a biennial budget with only 0.6% of that money committed to Early Childhood Education. We need to help the legislature "connect the dots" so we can implement a common-sense approach to Universal Pre-K for Ohio’s young children.


What the Cordray Sutton Administration Will Do

  1. Create a Statewide Pre-K “Hub” to Help Local Educators “Connect the Dots” and Build More Comprehensive Programs - From Cincinnati's passage of Issue 44 in 2016, to Montgomery County's Pre-School Promise initiative joined by Dayton’s leadership in passing its own levy, to Cuyahoga County's Invest in Children Universal Pre-K program, communities across the state are getting smart about this critical need. In growing numbers, they are now investing in the future of our youngest children to give them a better chance to succeed. The Cordray-Sutton Administration will establish a Local Educator Support Hub, led by practical education problem-solvers from Ohio’s school districts with support from their colleagues across the state. The Hub will support Pre-K expansion and quality by providing help and support with needs assessment, planning, multi-sector coordination, system capacity-building, fund development and allocation, research and evaluation, public policy development, quality assurance, financial aid system management, public awareness, and advocacy. Opportunities will be maximized by the Hub identifying cutting-edge approaches to Universal Pre-K and joining public and private sources to bring them to fruition.

  2. Guarantee Adequate Funding for Universal Pre-K Through Combined Public/Private Efforts - We cannot assure Universal Pre-K in Ohio unless we identify the public and private funding sources needed to finance this effort. The Hub will be the focal point to generate and develop a funding plan that supports:

    • High-Quality Early Care and Education Programs, including center-based programs (preschools, child care centers, Head Start, and church programs); home-based programs (family child care homes and family child care group homes); and family support and education programs.

    • Pre-K System Infrastructure, including state and community-level entities that are linked to carry out coordination and basic infrastructure functions, with planning and oversight support provided by the Hub.

    • Access to Resources, including outreach and information about child development, early learning, health, community resources, linkages and access to health and other community services, parent and family education and support, consumer information on early care and education programs and providers, referrals and program quality ratings, and a consolidated tuition assistance application and convenient one-stop process for all sources of aid.

The Cordray Sutton Proven Record in Support of Universal Pre-K


Clean Energy

Ohio is tragically missing out on the clean energy revolution. We could be creating more good-paying jobs, revitalizing rural communities, reducing energy bills, and improving our air and water quality. Instead, we rank #38 in renewable energy production and #31 for energy efficiency. This is simply unacceptable.


Cleveland’s own Charles Brush created the world’s first electric wind turbine in the 19th century to power his home. We cannot allow other states to keep gaining a competitive advantage with companies like Amazon and Apple, which want to expand their operations in places with renewable energy sources to power their businesses.


In addition to being a jobs engine, clean energy and energy efficiency are key to addressing climate change that threatens the Great Lakes and Ohio farmland. Ohio should be leading the way, not losing jobs to Michigan and Minnesota. Renewable energy and energy efficiency can play a key role in creating manufacturing jobs and revitalizing rural Ohio. We need to tell companies that Ohio is open for business once again in wind energy, solar energy, distributed generation, and cogeneration.


What the Cordray-Sutton Administration Will Do

  1. Strengthen Ohio’s Renewable Portfolio Standard - In 2008, Ohio adopted one of the nation’s most ambitious renewable energy programs. An OSU study found the program was an economic success, spurring $160 million in annual GDP growth and creating over 3,200 jobs. Consumers also saved over $1.7 billion in electric bills, reducing electricity use by 2.6% and overall energy demand by 2%.

    In a handout to special interests and a sharp turn away from our future, in 2014 the Ohio legislature passed the first nationwide law to halt renewable portfolio targets. The law put a “freeze” on these goals for two years despite opposition from many Ohio businesses and manufacturers such as Honda, Nestle, and Whirlpool. When that freeze was finally lifted in 2016, Ohio had fallen well behind in the clean energy race as Illinois, Minnesota, and Michigan moved aggressively forward to attract clean-energy employers to their states. As governor, Rich will double our renewable energy and energy efficiency targets by 2025.
  2. Stop Over-Regulation that has Halted Ohio’s Wind Energy Development - To protect the status quo, in 2014 the supposedly anti-regulation Ohio legislature passed the nation’s most heavy-handed government blockade to developing wind energy. This secretive, last-minute amendment doubled the property line setbacks for wind turbines and has brought new commercial wind projects to a virtual halt. Ohio lost $4.2 billion in economic opportunities. A potential 13,000 jobs were also sacrificed. The Payments In Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) revenue over the life of these projects was estimated to be $660 million - and 70% of that would have gone to schools. Another $440 million could have been available to farmers and landowners who would have hosted wind turbines. The legislature’s protection of of special interests has significantly cost rural Ohio.
  3. Support Farmers and Public Bodies Like Schools as Sites for More Clean Energy – Many farmers could locate one or more wind turbines on their lands without impairing their existing operations and providing some additional steady income or reduction of costs. Schools and other public bodies could add solar panels to their buildings or wind turbines on their property to add income or reduce costs. The state should use bond financing to provide the support and expertise needed to boost construction and lower the cost of such projects.
  4. Invest in Solar Power to Create More Local Jobs - Even with public policies that have undermined the state’s commitment to renewable energy, solar jobs in Ohio continue to grow. A stronger Renewable Portfolio Standard in Ohio law will support more proposals such as AEP’s project to create 400 MW of solar power in Appalachian Ohio, tied to bringing in more solar supply chain businesses. The project will create permanent manufacturing jobs in the region with a commitment to hiring Ohio military veterans. Under Rich’s leadership, the state will pursue more projects that create good construction and maintenance jobs. These efforts will also encourage related support businesses to locate here, as is true right now in other midwestern states. These initiatives will also encourage other businesses from elsewhere to locate in Ohio, both as a matter of corporate preference and because they want reliable and predictable energy bills from power sources that are based on free energy creation, such as from the sun and the wind.

The Cordray-Sutton Proven Record on Clean Energy


Agriculture and Farming

Agriculture employs one in seven Ohioans and contributes over $100 billion a year to our state economy. For years, Ohio has been a leading exporter of soybeans, corn, eggs, and cheese. Ohio farms feed the nation and the world; we must assure that our complex environmental and economic challenges don’t change that. Farmers must have 21st century tools and strategies along with support to adapt to new challenges.


When our farms and our farmers are secure and faring well, our rural communities and small towns thrive. But farm communities face one particularly daunting problem that calls for a comprehensive plan of action right now: the opioid crisis.


Half of those in rural communities report that they, a family member, or a friend have been directly affected by opioid abuse. For farmers and farm workers, it’s almost 75%. A recurring theme among those surveyed was the extraordinary lack of drug treatment facilities or programs in rural areas. We support the efforts of the “Farm Town Strong” movement to provide resources and information to farm communities and encourage farmer-to-farmer support to overcome the crisis.


These challenges are magnified by falling prices for beef, poultry, and pork. Half of our 4,400 dairy farms have been shuttered since 2006. Possible changes in U.S. trade policy pose substantial risks of retaliation that could threaten our farmers and our economy. We need to integrate resources across Ohio to help small communities create jobs and businesses around the agricultural supply chain. Farm communities must benefit from rural development opportunities to counter the challenges they face. Interest in local food eco-systems has never been higher and must be met with action. Ohio farms can continue to feed our state and nation.


What the Cordray-Sutton Administration Will Do

  1. Appoint an Assistant Director of Food Policy and Rural Development in the Ohio Department of Agriculture - Consolidating agricultural and agribusiness functions now at JobsOhio and the Development Services Agency would help expand agricultural export efforts and address effects of possible changes in U.S. trade policy. Reconvening the ODA Food Policy Council with experts from private food businesses; food banks; farm and environmental groups; and other spheres will help build partnerships and inform focused improvements in farm policy.
  2. Support Ohio Farmers with Strategic Business and Technical Resources - Family farms often end up consolidating for lack of effective succession planning. Strategic support and increased technical resources from the OSU Extension program along with targeted planning and collaboration from ODA officials would help optimize farming operations and help maintain more small farms.
  3. Target the Disproportionate Rural Impact of the Opioid Crisis - Expanded opioid treatment and health care (as discussed in our Opioid Crisis paper) is crucial in rural Ohio. The Ohio Department of Health must identify rural public buildings that can be fully or partially repurposed as opioid treatment facilities. And we must work with USDA’s Ohio Rural Development Agency to provide Community Facilities Loans and grants to fund the conversion of these facilities.

The Cordray-Sutton Proven Record on Agriculture and Farming


Reducing Gun Violence

We are facing an epidemic of gun violence in Ohio and across our country. While horrific mass shootings have captured headlines, the leading incidents of gun violence in Ohio are the daily homicides and suicides that often escape media attention. Gang violence and gun battles have taken too many young men from our urban communities. Armed domestic abusers have too many women fearing for their lives. Too many avoidable suicides are committed with firearms.


We cannot simply stand by and watch, hoping that the situation will get better while the steady horror of gun violence affects our communities, our families, and our schools. We must work to find concrete, practical solutions that will reduce gun violence and save lives.


We must balance the rights of responsible gun owners with the demands of public safety. We must craft measures that will keep all Ohioans safe by keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and those who would commit mass shootings. We must reduce the suicides, domestic violence, and gang violence that are responsible for too many gun deaths in urban, suburban, and rural areas. And we must allow responsible gun owners the freedoms granted by our U.S. and Ohio Constitutions.


The numbers are truly alarming. Since 1999, firearm deaths in Ohio have risen 58%.  In 2016, over 1500 Ohioans were killed by a gun. Nearly 75% of Ohio homicides were committed with a gun and 1 out of 5 guns bought in Ohio is recovered from a crime scene within two years. And we are not acting as good neighbors - Ohio ranks near the top in having guns bought here used in a crime in another state.


But homicides only tell part of the story. Suicides by firearms have been rising since 2009. In 2016, Ohio had over 50% more suicides involving a firearm than homicides.


What the Cordray-Sutton Administration Will Do

  1. Require Universal Background Checks - Background checks on all gun sales would prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands, including criminals, the mentally ill, and domestic violence abusers. We should close all loopholes to safeguard Ohioans against the potential for gun violence by high-risk individuals. And we must aggressively enforce laws against straw purchases of firearms and the theft of firearms, which are the means that are commonly used to circumvent background checks and restrictions against felons possessing firearms.
  2. Ban Sale of High-Capacity Magazines and Bump Stocks - These steps would prevent legal firearms from being transformed into illegal weapons to use in mass shootings. Firearms too easily become weapons of war when they are enhanced by high-capacity magazine clips, “bump stocks,” and other potential mechanisms that have no conceivable use other than to evade legal restrictions on the sale and use of fully-automatic weapons. Any such mechanisms should be illegal.
  3. Align the Minimum Age to Purchase All Classes of Firearms - Federal law allows individuals under age 21 to purchase firearms, and Ohio law allows those under age 21 to purchase long guns, but not handguns until they turn 21. These laws were passed at different times and have never been rationalized with one another. Ohio should align these laws by raising the age for the purchase of all firearms to 21 years old.
  4. Enhance the Safety of Our Schools and Reduce Suicides - By placing certified school resource officers on-site in schools to enhance security, help spot warning signs, train personnel, monitor ingress and egress, speed emergency response times, and implement measures and protocols to enhance the physical security of our school buildings, we can save lives. We can also provide for Extreme Risk Protection Orders that would allow law enforcement to temporarily bar a person from having access to firearms where, after a court proceeding compliant with due process rights, it is determined that the person is a danger to himself or others.
  5. Appoint a Gun Violence Prevention Czar - The czar will coordinate a comprehensive statewide response to reducing gun violence by supporting local law enforcement efforts, aiding and funding tip hotlines, improving mental health efforts, and providing resources and best practices to local officials.
  6. Create Gun Violence Task Forces - These task forces will use proven tactics from Ohio and in cities around the country to target illegal gun trafficking and gang violence, and to stage early interventions to stop likely offenders from committing gun crimes, including heavy penalties for committing a crime with a gun.

The Cordray-Sutton Proven Record on Responsible Gun Ownership



Seniors and Retirement


Ohio is a great place to live and make a home: to raise a family, go to school, work, and grow a business. And it can be, and should be, a great place to age with dignity and respect and to retire securely, surrounded by family and friends and with strong support from community programs and resources.


Investing today in the well-being of our seniors is the right thing to do and will help us retain and attract more retirees to live here. Ohio’s senior population is expected to double by 2040. Their diverse needs require planning and appropriate support. OSU researchers have shown that connecting more seniors to resources already available directly raises their quality of life and reduces costs of chronic illness and long-term crisis intervention. Too many seniors lack this support, and we need to change that.


We must focus on developing and training a high-quality workforce in the medical and helping professions. We need to support the caregivers who treat our seniors with the dignity and respect they have earned and assure the kind of broad support that our growing and increasingly diverse community of seniors demands. We should invest strategically to assure access to affordable places to live and other critical resources.


AARP estimates that about 2 million Ohioans work in jobs with no retirement plan. We will explore and adopt new approaches to provide more retirement planning and investment options to them, providing comfort that their futures are more secure.


What the Cordray-Sutton Administration Will Do

  1. Establish a “Retire as a Buckeye” Initiative - Seniors deserve affordable housing in accessible communities with robust transportation options. Ohio should design a focused and tangible effort to partner with local communities to:
    • Boost outreach and Increase awareness of the programs and services that are already available for home-based living and care.
    • Improve investments in caregiver support, including respite care.
    • Expand Meals on Wheels and other mobile services for healthcare support.
    • Provide for senior financial management education and fraud protection.
  1. Create a Retirement Savings Plan Option for Those Who Lack Access Through Their Employer - Many Ohioans lack access to any retirement savings plan option at their workplace. This includes self-employed; seasonal, temporary, and contract workers; part-time workers; and employees who are excluded from eligibility for their company retirement programs. We will explore tax incentives for more employers to provide a framework for retirement planning and investment. We will also adapt reform measures from other states to create a retirement savings plan option for those who lack access to one in the workplace - setting a framework that will enable all working Ohioans to secure their own futures.
  2. Launch a Life Expectancy Improvement Task Force - The Ohio Department of Aging should leverage its resources to maximize equity in life expectancy for all Ohioans. The Task Force will  focus on improving health and longevity, with crucial attention to those facing shortened life expectancies based on race, ethnicity, and poverty. In addition, the Task Force will work with local communities to conduct outreach and awareness campaigns to assure that seniors across Ohio know more about the services and support systems that are already available to them but are not currently being utilized. And it will focus the resources of state government on supporting caregivers and developing and training a high-quality workforce in the medical and helping professions.
  3. Lower Benefit Age Thresholds in Health Care Systems - Ohio health care providers will be encouraged and assisted to provide wellness information earlier than at the typical ages of 60-65. An individual who is turning 50 should receive comprehensive information, in a form that is easily understandable, to identify available programs, eligibility requirements, contact information, and supportive resources to prepare for the changes and challenges of aging into senior status.

The Cordray-Sutton Proven Record on Seniors and Retirement



Free Community College


Ohio needs to make a substantial reinvestment in community colleges so every student can get a post-secondary education and be ready for the workforce. For far too long, state government has failed to properly invest in higher education, pushing the skyrocketing costs of college onto students and families. Ohio now ranks 45th in college affordability. To solve this problem, we should provide free community college.


In the absence of affordable options, students are turning to for-profit higher education institutions, which prioritize profits over education, and often exploit students who are simply trying to get a good education and build a future. The hole growing in Ohio’s higher education system is leaving students with mountains of debt and with useless degrees, which don’t allow them get good-paying jobs to pay off their student loan debt.


Investing in our community colleges will benefit everyone - students, families, businesses, and our economy. Thousands of unfilled jobs could be filled with Ohioans who are prepared to join the workforce, if we only make the necessary investments in educating students. By 2020, 64% of jobs in Ohio will require at least an associate's degree, but today, only 37% of our working-age adults have a degree. Providing more access to affordable education and training won’t just help businesses, it will improve the quality of life across our state - a worker with a community college degree will earn hundreds of thousands of dollars more than a person with a high school diploma or G.E.D. over a 40-year career.


What the Cordray-Sutton Administration Will Do

  1. Make Community College Free – Community colleges are a gold mine of opportunity for many people, both young and older. The infrastructure of community colleges already exists, so we just need to use them more effectively and deploy the necessary resources to provide Ohioans with the training they need to succeed in the modern workplace. Every student in Ohio who gets into a community college should be able to pursue their higher education free of tuition.  The initial investment in each student is an investment in Ohio’s future, and it’s an investment that we can and should be making more aggressively and effectively. It is estimated that this would increase Ohio’s college attendance rates by 20-35%.
  1. Expand the Adoption of “Preferred Pathways” – Columbus State Community College’s “Preferred Pathways” program guarantees students admission and 100% credit transfer to a dozen four-year colleges and universities across the state. The program pairs regular academic and career counseling with a set and sequence of classes for each course of study. This reduces choice paralysis for students and helps lead them on a more focused path to settling on a specific career. Ohio should offer challenge grants to community colleges to incentivize adoption of guided pathways.
  2. Help our Community College Students Graduate in a Timely Manner – Too often, advisory and support services have been the first programs to be cut when funds are short. We need to provide the appropriate resources to lower the student-to-advisor ratio to help ensure that students who enter college have the support they need to graduate. We should also expand implementation of the Accelerated Study in Associate Program “ASAP,” which offers scholarships, intensive advising, a stipend for transportation, and other services. It is currently being implemented at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, Cuyahoga Community College, and Lorain County Community College.

The Cordray-Sutton Proven Record on Free Community College


Veterans and Servicemembers


Veterans and servicemembers deserve the highest gratitude and respect our country and state can offer. Our government must ensure access to opportunities and tools that provide a high quality of life to those who have risked their lives to protect and preserve our democracy, our liberty, and our freedom.


Veterans, servicemembers, and their families face distinct challenges that require attention and resources to address. In particular, the government should be ensuring that veterans have access to adequate health care coverage, potential job placement options, employment protections, the opportunity to pursue additional education, and a streamlined state certification and licensing process to simplify and expedite their transition to civilian life, where their leadership and skills enhance our communities.


In addition to providing resources and support, the Cordray-Sutton Administration will be an active advocate for veterans, servicemembers, and their families, just as Rich was at the Consumer Bureau. While there, Rich had an entire department focused on identifying and stopping scams and frauds that target servicemembers and their benefits - such as educational support and insured home and car loans. With state officials who respect and value the challenges and achievements of those who serve our country, Ohio’s servicemembers, veterans, and their families can rest assured they have allies in the Statehouse who have their backs and look out for them.


What the Cordray-Sutton Administration Will Do

  1. Protect and Maximize Health Care Coverage and Other Services:
    1. Help veterans submit medical claims and keep preferred doctors by providing adequate resources for our Veteran Services Commissions.
    2. Provide a voluntary “I’m a Veteran” check box on Ohio tax returns so the Cordray-Sutton Administration can identify and follow up with individuals to match them with available benefits and services.
    3. Support veterans with mild traumatic brain injury with employer tax breaks and other incentives to hire them and provide on-the-job support.
    4. Expand suicide prevention and community engagement programs to help veterans coping with civilian transition issues, especially mental health issues.
    5. Support and strengthen the VA system and Ohio veterans’ access to it. And maintain Ohio’s medicaid expansion, which is critical to veterans who are not eligible for VA care.
  1. Support Job Placement and Employment Protections:
    1. Increase job opportunities by permitting private sector employers to offer a hiring preference for veterans and the families of servicemembers.
    2. Help veterans start civilian job searches with “veterans preference” personnel/desks at county JFS, Veteran Services Commission, and library job search centers.
    3. Streamline state certification and licensing for veterans and military family members seeking jobs with those requirements.
    4. Mandate job projection during state-sponsored national guard activation.
    5. Permit military spouses to be eligible for Ohio unemployment compensation and other services when they must leave a job due to a military transfer.
  2. Bolster State Support for Veterans, Servicemembers and Their Families:
    1. Renew the fight against predatory payday lenders, especially those that target veterans, servicemembers and their families.
    2. Expand Ohio National Guard Assistance to military families.
    3. Provide homeless veterans with better VA and veterans court coordination.
    4. Support the military community, especially those newly arriving in Ohio, by requiring all state agencies to regularly report on the support they provide to veterans and the special needs of military families.

The Cordray-Sutton Proven Record on Veterans and Servicemembers