MCAF: What is unique about protecting the resources in your district?
My district is unique in that it includes an urban neighborhood, a highway, a river, and one of the Great Lakes. It is very important to us that we keep our air and water clean. Pollution from the heavy number of cars driving down I-90 daily and boats riding past Lakewood Park in the summer is of great concern. Additionally, toxins have been found in Lake Erie that make the water undrinkable. Thanks to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, we have been able to combat these issues. However, if we cannot keep our resources healthy, they will certainly not sustain their continued use.
Are you worried about the effects of climate change on Ohio’s children?
In order for our children to grow into healthy adults, their basic needs must be met. Without clean drinking water and breathable air, they will not be able to attend school, let alone pursue their goals and aspirations. Instead, they will be dealing with various health concerns.
Without clean water, farmers cannot cultivate their crops in a way that is safe for us to eat. This affects our children’s access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
Polluted air is equally concerning. Recently, the Health and Aging Committee on which I serve has been working on legislation to help children with asthma. In urban areas, this could be of greater concern, as the pollution makes it even more difficult for these children to breathe.
Why is a bipartisan effort so important and how can these efforts be achieved in our politically polarizing culture?
The issues pertaining to Lake Erie are time-sensitive. In order for us to preserve one of Ohio’s most precious resources, legislators on both sides of the aisle must work together to give the appropriate professionals and experts the funding they need. Organizations such as the Lake Erie Commission who are doing their part to relieve our treasured water source of invasive materials should have our unwavering support. With increasing awareness of the state of Lake Erie and its widespread effects on our state, I am confident politicians of all backgrounds will work with me to advocate for Lake Erie.
Is there anything you’d like to share that is important for Moms Clean Air Force members to know?
I appreciate so much the information and advocacy with which you provide us. When major problems such as climate change arise in a democracy, we need citizens to step up and demand change. Your work is promoting the health, well-being, and success of all Ohioans.
State Representative Nickie Antonio is currently serving her 3rd term in the Ohio House, having been re-elected to represent Lakewood and parts of Western Cleveland in District 13. She was selected by her colleagues to be the Democratic Caucus’ Assistant Minority Whip for this General Assembly and also serves as Ranking Member of the Health and Aging Committee. In the House Finance Committee, which has the responsibility of overseeing the passage of the Governor’s biennial budget, Representative Antonio serves on the Health and Human Services Subcommittee. She is also Chair of the House Democratic Women’s Caucus and maintains memberships on the Rules and Reference and the Joint Medicaid Oversight Committees. With a background in nonprofit work, Representative Antonio has been a social justice advocate promoting human rights and equality for decades. She came to the House from Lakewood City Council and has championed legislation improving environmental protection, health services and human rights. Representative Antonio holds an MPA from the Maxine Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University and a B.S. in Education, also from CSU.