Nan Whaley

Ohio’s true power and vibrancy comes from its communities, and those communities must be at the center of state policy and budget priorities. Appalachian Ohio has not seen investment at scale for over 50 years and has suffered population losses throughout the region. As Governor, Nan would make it a priority to build a true partnership between the state and local governments, so that we can finally give Appalachia the investment it deserves.

Fulfilling The Broadband Promise: Universal Broadband In Appalachia By 2028

We’ve known for 30 years that access to broadband is fundamental to participation in the 21st Century economy for the Ohio River Valley. Ohio was one of the first states in the country to actually measure the poor quality of its phone lines in rural regions of the state, but we’ve fallen short in delivering results since then. The past two years of the pandemic have made it crystal clear how urgent a priority it is to put our Appalachian and other rural Ohio regions on an equal footing with urban areas of the state. Kids should not have to sit at a McDonald’s or in the parking lots of libraries to get their homework done online. Four governors — Republican and Democratic — have attempted to address the broadband crisis in Appalachia, but have done so without providing the resources, the technology, or the data to take on the challenge. Nan will be different.

  • Nan is committed to providing universal broadband across Appalachia by 2028. To do this, she will convene an Appalachia Universal Broadband Action Team with the mission of building out and executing a plan with commitments from local leaders and leveraging public, private, and non-profit resources to ensure affordable access to quality broadband.
  • First, the Appalachia Universal Broadband Action Team will conduct an accurate statewide assessment of broadband connectivity to demonstrate the deep need in rural Ohio.
  • Second, the Team will leverage expertise and resources from the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, OARnet, K-12 Education Network, private sector, community-based cooperatives, universities, local government, PUCO, and money from the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to identify gaps in broadband and set a strategy moving forward. This is an ideal target for American Rescue Plan and Infrastructure investments that Nan will make sure are available for Southeast Ohio. The bottom line? We need to stop talking about expanding broadband and actually get it done.
  • Third, understanding the burden that supporting modern learning imposes on our schools, Nan will boost the K -12 Connectivity Subsidy to provide adequate support for a technology expert in every rural school, as well as Wi-Fi hotspots for every Ohio student available 24 hours a day.
  • Today, the ODE connectivity grant is only $150 per building per month, while the average family cable bill is $217 per month.

Addressing The Opioid Crisis

The opioid crisis is still a major danger to our communities — Ohio saw a 26.6.% increase in overdose deaths from 2020 to 2021 — and we need to work aggressively to stop the harm of substance use disorder in our communities. Nan and the City of Dayton led the fight against the drug manufacturers, bringing together many of Ohio’s communities to sue the drug companies and hold them accountable. This led to a landmark settlement that established a foundation to oversee spending of the proceeds in November 2021. But nearly six months after the settlement, work has barely started to move the settlement funds to the communities that need it.

While Ohio’s communities have little insight as to when they’ll arrive or how they can access them, beyond the standard schedule in the settlement, we do know what works: a majority of individuals can successfully overcome addiction with treatment, stable housing, a job, and strong family, and community support systems. That’s what a governor can help with. Nan will instruct her Director of Human Services and their staff to actively support and encourage community-based efforts to secure local funding from the Ohio Opioid Settlement Proceeds when the OneOhio board is established and the enterprise begins operations. Additionally, she will:

  • Recommend that Appalachian counties jointly propose that OneOhio provide funding to assure that there are 30 day recovery beds available in every county in the region.

  • Steadfastly support Medicaid expansion, which is the most significant source of coverage for treating addiction in Ohio and is a critical lifeline for rural providers. Currently, Medicaid finances nearly $40 million in behavioral health services, per month, in Appalachia.
  • Advocate for changes in Medicaid policy to allow reimbursement for counseling and other addiction services to allow for recovery services both at home and in residential recovery facilities.
  • Expand harm reduction activities like expanded syringe exchanges, maximizing the availability of naloxone, and working with law enforcement to disrupt the fentanyl supply chain.

Building A Powerful Base For Appalachian Jobs And Innovation

Appalachian Ohio has not seen investment at scale for over 50 years. We need to recognize that progress for our state requires a partnership between state and local governments — and both need to share resources to prosper. The world is changing, new industries and technologies are creating the good-paying jobs of the future. Appalachia has historically been the heart of extractive industries that, like it or not, are shrinking and leaving communities behind. As Ohio transitions into the clean energy economy of the future, Appalachia must be included in these new investments and opportunities. Nan’s “Invest in Ohio” jobs plan for the 21st Century will finally give the Appalachian region the resources and attention it deserves. This includes supporting small businesses, raising wages, and investing in clean energy jobs.

Fulfilling The Broadband Promise: Universal Broadband In Appalachia By 2028

  • Boosting investments in innovation funds managed by JobsOhio to ensure that Appalachian communities get their fair share.

  • Building close links between community colleges, vocational and career tech institutions to prepare the region’s young people for growing high tech jobs.
  • Spurring innovative farming practices to improve Appalachia’s agriculture sector.

Provide state support for equitable development for Ohio’s Appalachian communities:

  • State funds from the bipartisan federal Infrastructure Bill should be dedicated to address the 50-year investment deficit in Ohio’s rural, Appalachian economy.
  • Invest in Main Street businesses by directing the Development Services Agency to redouble their efforts on making targeted commercial corridor investment in cities, towns, and villages across the state.
  • Providing grants for innovation through her ReInvent Ohio initiative.

Raise wages for all Ohioans:

  • State funds from the bipartisan federal Infrastructure Bill should be dedicated to address the 50-year investment deficit in Ohio’s rural, Appalachian economy.
  • Invest in Main Street businesses by directing the Development Services Agency to redouble their efforts on making targeted commercial corridor investment in cities, towns, and villages across the state.
  • Providing grants for innovation through her ReInvent Ohio initiative.

Ensure Appalachian Ohio leads the new clean energy manufacturing economy:

  • Increasing the state’s renewable portfolio standard in a way that balances jobs and climate change goals for the state.

  • Developing and implementing a statewide strategy for workers whose jobs may be impacted by fossil fuel industry contraction. We cannot leave these workers or their communities behind.
  • Work with the legislature on a revenue-sharing plan that supports and sustains local governments.

  • As more and more work can be either done remotely or in a hybrid environment, communities throughout our state will feel the impacts. We need to address the impact of these changes on the fiscal status of our communities and their ability to continue to deliver the services that Ohioans need.

Supporting Our Veterans

Today, Ohio veterans are forced to choose between receiving quality care at an often distant veterans’ home or staying close to their family and community. For example, a new assessment from the Department of Veterans Affairs is recommending the closure of the Chillicothe VA Medical Center. No veterans in Southern Ohio want to travel hours for service and that’s what this current assessment proposes. This would result in an increased burden for veterans and their families, not to mention numerous jobs leaving the region if the facility closes.

That’s why Nan has already released a plan to support our veterans in their right to live in health and age with dignity. Ohio’s two state veterans’ homes — located in Georgetown (southwest Ohio) and Sandusky (northern Ohio) — only provide 750 of the 2,184 beds that are allocated to our state by the federal VA. Federal funds are available to pay for these additional beds, but Ohio is leaving this money on the table. Currently, more than 100 veterans are waitlisted for beds in these distant facilities. Until new beds are added in these veterans homes or more homes are built, Ohio will not receive its fair share of VA construction or operating support for aging veterans.

In order to take full advantage of available federal funding and ensure that Ohio’s veterans are able to age with dignity — while living close to their families — Nan will:

  • Allocate capital and operating funding to establish at least 15 additional small-scale veterans home facilities, adding at least 1,000 new beds. Ohio veterans and their families live in all 88 counties. Establishing these additional homes throughout the state — so that they are accessible to all Ohio veterans, and provide the home-like, intimate environment that aging veterans prefer — prevents families from having to choose between quality of care and proximity to loved ones. These homes will be built either by using the VA’s small-scale options model or by repurposing Ohio’s vacant nursing home facilities as veterans’ homes.
  • Secure Ohio’s fair share of matching funding from the VA to support these facilities. Because Ohio does not have the full number of authorized veterans beds, it is not able to take advantage of federal funding that is allocated to the construction and operation of these homes.
  • Build multi-generational links between young Ohioans and aging veterans by partnering with Ohio National Guard community centers. Ohio’s aging veterans can and should be a great resource for our state, connecting with and serving as mentors to young people.

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PAID FOR BY WHALEY/STEPHENS

PO Box 2815, Dayton, OH 45401