Community Leaders Present Senator Portman with Improvement Plan for Silence on HEROES Act

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July 8th, 2020

Contact: Neil Bhaerman, Ohio Federation of Teachers Communications Director, 412-266-4899


Community Leaders Present Senator Portman with Improvement Plan for Silence on HEROES Act


COLUMBUS, OH — Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and representatives from the NAACP Ohio Conference, Children’s Defense Fund Ohio, Ohio Federation of Teachers, Ohio Nurses Association, and AFSCME Council 8 held a press conference today to virtually present Senator Rob Portman with an “Individual Development Plan” to highlight issues of concern due to the Senator’s lack of support for the HEROES Act.

  • Video of the press conference can be seen on Facebook here (full press conference) or downloaded here (missing the first couple minutes). 
  • Fact sheets about the details of the HEROES Act are available here

The speakers highlighted funding needs — including healthcare, K-12 and higher education, hazard pay and paid leave for essential workers, public safety and other local government services, and more —  and provisions of the HEROES Act that would address those needs.

“We are still experiencing the worst of this pandemic, yet too many people in the federal government are acting like it’s over and done with. In Dayton, we need help from the federal government to be able to maintain the level of city services that our residents need and deserve,” said Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley. “That’s why we’re calling on Senator Portman to step up and deliver the resources that our cities and towns need to keep our residents safe and to continue providing essential public services.”

“As the country re-opens, our nurses are more concerned than ever. There are still serious problems that our federal government has yet to address and the HEROES Act is a ripe opportunity to fill the gaps that still exist, such as the lack of personal protective equipment,” said Bob Cousins, Deputy Executive Officer of Labor Relations with the Ohio Nurses Association. “Politicians must stop expecting healthcare professionals to be martyrs in times of crisis and instead, do what is right to protect those who save others.”

“"COVID-19 is a pandemic within a pandemic for Black people, where the disparities in healthcare and employment that have been ignored for too long are staring us right in our face and demanding action. We need the Senate to pass the HEROES Act, which will provide the resources needed to keep our communities safe and keep families from economic ruin during this pandemic," said Tom Robert, President of the Ohio Conference of NAACP

“It will be impossible for school districts around Ohio to reopen safely without additional funding for the staff, technology, sanitation, and protective equipment needed to meet the Governor’s recommendations,” said Melissa Cropper, President of Ohio Federation of Teachers. “We’re monitoring Senator Portman’s performance to see whether he stands up for his constituents by bringing $3.2 billion dollars to Ohio for education alone.”

“Sen. Portman has been at the forefront in a bi-partisan manner in support of broadband to rural communities, increased support for child welfare, and for the expanded use of telehealth – especially as Ohio battles the opioid crisis,” said Tracy Najera, Executive Director of Children's Defense Fund Ohio. “As so many Ohioans have lost employment and with it – health insurance for themselves and their families, we ask Sen. Portman to continue his record of leadership and offer a lifeline to struggling Ohioans by increasing federal funding for Medicaid and increasing flexibility in how federal funding is used.”  

“Front line workers have always been willing to provide the vital public services their communities need for fair pay. But I do not recall a single public service job description that included the requirement of doing those jobs at great risk of serious illness or death, not only to the service worker but to their family members, in existence before this pandemic. Front line workers deserve to be paid for continuing to work under that risk,” said Sean Grayson, President of AFSCME Ohio Council 8.