Modernize

If our state was a house we would have leaky gutters, a cracked foundation, dirty water, and spotty electricity service. The level of deferred maintenance in Ohio is staggering. We have billions in roads and bridges that need rebuilt, a stalled energy economy, and waterways that are being polluted at alarming rates. Additionally, we have large areas of the state that have yet to be connected to the internet with reliable high speed service. If Ohio wants to lead in the 21st century we are going to have to invest in building the infrastructure needed to power the economy of the future.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

In recent years Ohio has become a leader in distribution and logistics. Our location is an advantage for companies wanting to serve the East Coast, Upland South, and Mid-West. The infrastructure that underpins our state is in poor shape and you don’t have to take my word for it check out the most recent┬áReport Card from the American Society of Civil Engineers. Ohio’s grade is a C-, we wouldn’t be playing video games after school if you grew up in my house. Investing in our multi-modal systems just makes good business sense and will create thousands of living wage jobs for Ohioans in the process.

Energy

We are totally backward on our energy policies. We have frozen our phase in of renewable power sources because our leaders are heavily funded by the utility industry who conveniently argue the cost to consumers of transitioning to clean energy would be too high. Yet the Public Utilities Commission is currently considering proposals from AEP and First Energy to hike rates in order to subsidize their oldest and dirtiest coal plants, by threatening grid insecurity if they are forced to shutter them. We must let the free market run its course. We can not subsidize the past to hold back the future.

Power companies are rightfully scared because the energy grid of the future doesn’t rely on large base load power plants like the coal fired plants of the past. Their assets have reached the end of there useful lives at a time when you and I as individuals can now own our own energy assets. Whether they are solar panels, windmills, batteries, or geothermal systems we are now producers not just consumers. Networked distributed energy generation is far superior to the system of the past because it is more secure, allows for independence, and creates an income opportunity for everyday Americans.

We need an Energy System that works for all of us, creates thousands of new jobs, and provides us with protection from outside threats that may wish to damage our infrastructure. Taking down 1,000 solar arrays is a lot harder than one coal burning power plant. It is our patriotic duty to demand quite literally power for the people.

Power companies will be a part of this future and are going to need to invest alongside the people. These companies are run by smart people who have made a lot of money from the system we have. I have faith they will continue to be able to make money as we modernize.

Waterways

Toxic Algae is a result of high phosphorous levels in our waterways and is a serious danger to our drinking water. Just this past fall a bloom over 650 miles long happened on the Ohio river and in Toledo we recently had a disruption in water service as a result of a bloom in Lake Erie. There are three primary sources of runoff; agricultural fertilizers and manure, overflowing septic systems, and wastewater treatment lines. Agriculture is the biggest of these sources and our farmers are not to blame. Farming is big business and like most other industries has viewed success as a growth in size, more bushels per acre having always been viewed as a good thing. Farmers have been forced into a commodity driven system which banks use to determine credit and the government props up with subsidies. This over reliance on a narrow variety of agricultural products has driven up the levels of fertilizers being used in the industry. If we want to have cleaner waterways it is time to rethink our agricultural system. Tastes in America are changing and there are increased opportunities to grow a wider variety of food closer to home. We need to capitalize on these trends and grow a new generation of farmers in Ohio.

Internet

Do you think people in rural areas would have electricity and telephone service if the government had not required utility companies to build it? I don’t either, we need to classify high speed internet as a utility and support communities that want to build their own infrastructure and require providers to extend service to rural areas or work to form rural co-ops. If we want to build a 21st century economy we need to have the power of the web available to everyone everywhere in our state.