WILMINGTON — In a legislative update delivered in Wilmington on Thursday night, Ohio House Minority Leader Allison Russo (D- OH 24th) addressed the state’s abortion bans, redistricting, and the importance of the upcoming Ohio Supreme Court races.
Russo said Ohio’s current and proposed laws restricting access to women’s reproductive health care, sponsored and passed by the Republican-controlled legislature, are “more extreme than bans in Mississippi and Alabama,” and do not represent the views of the majority of Ohio voters.
Citing the inability of doctors to deliver care without consulting panels of attorneys, life-threatening delays in care, and the necessity of going out of state for services, Russo said, “Experts testifying before the House Health Committee warned us about the consequences patients, their families, and health care providers are now experiencing.”
A ranking member of the Redistricting Commission, established after voters approved a ballot initiative that called for redrawing the state’s house and senate maps to create fairer districts, Russo noted that the Ohio Supreme Court has struck down five state maps and two redrawn congressional maps on the grounds that they violate the Ohio Constitution, because they give Republicans control of districts far in excess of the state’s partisan breakdown.
Russo called the commission’s failure to produce fair districts “lawlessness,” and attributed the present stall in the redistricting process to Republicans’ hope that the November Ohio Supreme Court elections will produce justices who will approve state and congressional maps that do not remedy gerrymandering.
“Supreme Court races matter,” she said. “We must elect justices who put the law first. Redistricting is in the Ohio Constitution, and the Ohio Supreme Court is the authority on the State Constitution.”
About the work of the Ohio House Democratic Caucus, Russo said, “We are making sure we have Democratic candidates everywhere. Ohio is not scarlet red. We’re fuchsia, and our local and state elected officials need to reflect that.”
She also said, “Attacks on democracy are happening in state legislatures, like ours. People in Ohio are saying enough is enough. We can trim the GOP margins by voting Democratic in down-ballot races. This also helps boost the top of our ticket: Nan Whaley, Tim Ryan, Samantha Meadows, Jeffrey Crossman, and the state supreme court candidates.”
Samantha Meadows, the Democratic candidate for Ohio’s 2nd Congressional District seat, which now includes Clinton County, attended the town hall-style meeting, held at the Wilmington Savings Bank Aging Up Center, and in brief remarks stressed the urgency of voter participation, both at the voting booth and in volunteering for pro-democracy candidates.
Russo’s appearance was sponsored by the Clinton County Alliance for Compassion and Truth (A.C.T.), a women-led, pro-democracy coalition that encourages political engagement on critical local, national, and global issues that affect the lives of people in their own community and beyond.