Expressing thoughts on loss of state funding
To the editor:
My name is Emily Wright. I am 36 and have been a resident of Columbiana County for nearly a decade. Much of my life has been spent in the Ohio Valley. I lived seven years in East Liverpool alone. I am writing you today as a resident of this county and the Secretary of the Columbiana County Young Democrats.
To say I am surprised would be a lie. But to say I am ready for change would be the truth.
In early 2018, I sat in the office of former Mayor Ryan Stovall. I was there as a campaign representative of an Ohio gubernatorial candidate. We were discussing visiting the city with an event. Inadvertently, Mr. Stovall and I began to discuss the traffic ticket cameras in East Liverpool.
I admittedly said to him that they seemed to be an overreach in my opinion, but I was all for the cash revenue it could create for the city. He was kind and open to my thoughts. I instantly mentioned infrastructure and how I felt it could fix the roads and tear down the abandoned buildings. Mayor Stovall then shared that tens of thousands of dollars had come in just in the first month.
I thought about it when I went home. I appreciated the mayor’s candor. But I could not stop thinking about what a $100 fine would do to a struggling single mother. I really could see both sides of the issue. And I sincerely hoped that the money would be put to immediate and good use…
Here we are two years later. Columbiana County has lost nearly $1.2 million in state funds for 2021. Not only because of the implementation of traffic cameras, but because of a bill our State Representative, Tim Ginter, voted for. A bill that would take funding from any place that decided to use traffic cameras. Ginter voted for this bill knowing that we had townships and cities using these cameras.
In this article, Tim is asked about why he would vote for a bill that would so heavily penalize our county. He basically says that he did not understand the bill’s impact. When he is confronted on this being an incompetent move, he throws it back on Prosecutor Herron saying that he should have been aware about legislation that could involve the county.
So, in saying that, he is saying that it is OK that he had no knowledge of ramifications but a county prosecutor should have.
Sounds like a huge dose of literally passing the buck. However, Representative Ginter voting to essentially cut our state funding is only one aspect of this news I am troubled by.
We also must consider where all that traffic ticket money went. Do you drive around East Liverpool and feel like we are better off than we were a few years back? Minimal progress has been made. The streets are still laced with potholes and treacherous issues in general. Our roads and bridges are being shut down because we do not have the funds to repair them. Our abandoned houses continue to rot and be a safety hazard for those in the community. And the whole of Southern Columbiana County’s infrastructure needs updates at best.
So where did the money all go? The money that cost every township, village, and city in this county in 2021. I think the East Liverpool Township Trustees and East Liverpool City Council need to provide an account of where the fines went.
I would also like to address the local papers. Local media is essential to our democracy. I thank you for writing this article. And I thank you for reaching out to all sides for comment.
However, I would challenge you during this election season to give all candidates a spotlight. The (East Liverpool) Review recently wrote an article about Representative Ginter and his rising star in Columbus. But it seems to me as his star rises, ours falters.
That is why I am voting for Daniel Winston for the Ohio House 5th District on Nov. 3 and hope you will also give him a voice at the table. Because this is not the first time my tax dollars have been misused in the Ohio House. Representative Ginter has sponsored and/or voted for ultra-conservative “blitz” like bills that were not properly read through, such as this one, on more than one occasion. This was highlighted by international news outlet The Guardian back in early 2020.
One bill he co-sponsored called for the “abortion murder charges” for any doctor who would not attempt to re-implant an ectopic pregnancy. I am a registered nurse with my Masters in Health Administration. I can firmly tell you that this procedure is impossible. And a simple Google search could have told him that. I am also bewildered at a self-touting, pro-life candidate calling for the death of a medical professional.
Coupling this with his lack of presence at city/village councils and town halls is why I am voting for change.
This is not about Democrat or Republican. I may be a Democrat, but I am not immune to the problems on all sides. To quote my friend Daniel Winston, “I have lived through five presidents and Columbiana County is still the same. Some were Republican and some were Democrat, but the county remains the same.”
This is about establishment versus imperative change. And how our poverty-stricken county is in desperate need of leaders who will take our interests to the state and beyond.
Emily Wright RN, BSN, MHA,
Secretary of the Columbiana County Young Democrats, Campaign Manager/Admin for State Rep Candidate Daniel Winston