In honor of Father’s Day, Moms Clean Air Force’s Ohio team interviewed State Representative Casey Weinstein (District 37) about climate action, fatherhood, and why he fights for clean air and a stable climate for Ohioans in his district and across the Buckeye State.
This has been a challenging year for clean energy and climate action in the Ohio legislature. What opportunities do we have for comprehensive energy solutions that would reduce pollution and improve health in our state?
House Bill 6, which Vox called the worst energy bill of the 21st century, has cast a long shadow over the Ohio General Assembly since it was passed in 2019, but the sun is finally starting to peek out from behind the clouds. Just this week, members of the Ohio House came together in a bipartisan fashion to expel the former Speaker Larry Householder, who orchestrated a $60 million bribery scheme to get the legislation passed.
This recent momentum gives me hope legislators can come together and repeal the Ohio Valley Electric Corporation (OVEC) coal subsidies included in House Bill 6, which are the last remaining pieces of that law still on the books. The continued use of coal is contributing to climate catastrophe, and repealing those subsidies will allow Ohio to move forward with more comprehensive energy solutions.
How has being a father influenced your work around climate and clean energy?
My experience as a father has been a core component of my advocacy for clean energy and the climate. Seven years ago, my eldest daughter, Nora, was born with pediatric asthma. Our pediatrician said the poor air quality in the Greater Cleveland Area would exacerbate Nora’s asthma. In those early months, my wife, Amanda, and I spent many a sleepless night watching Nora sleep, making sure she was able to breathe. My son, Brady, now also suffers from the same disease. This is a diagnosis no parent should ever have to endure.
How important are equitable climate solutions for Ohio and your district?
There are over 50,000 children in the Greater Cleveland Area who live with pediatric asthma. That’s more children than in any other of Ohio’s metropolitan areas, and the American Lung Association’s 2021 State of the Air Report found that the Greater Cleveland Area ranks 14th in the nation for year-round air particle pollution.
That means equitable climate solutions are more than a solution to a minor nuisance in my district. Instead, they represent a cure to a potentially deadly threat. 3.5 million Ohioans live in the Greater Cleveland Area. Of those 3.5 million, over 900,000 individuals living with asthma, COPD, and other health conditions are at risk from exposure to unhealthy air particle pollution levels.
Is there anything you would like Moms Clean Air Force members in Ohio to know about you and your climate priorities?
I started a “Save the Earth” club at my school when I was seven years old. At the time, I was inspired by the Jewish concept of Tikkun Olam—repairing the world—which I had learned about in Hebrew School and took very literally. Now that I have a seven-year-old, I’m inspired by my children and the children of my district to make saving the Earth a priority for them. We can do that by embracing a new vision for the future of energy in Ohio.
State Representative Casey Weinstein is a member of the Ohio House of Representatives representing the 37th House District in northeast Summit County. He first won the seat in November 2018. He currently serves as Ranking Member of the Ohio House Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
A graduate of the United States Air Force Academy and the Ohio State University Fisher School of Business, he previously served as a member of the Hudson City Council. Before entering into elected office, Weinstein served on active duty at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton.
He and his wife, Amanda Weinstein, a professor of economics and fellow graduate of the Air Force Academy, live in Hudson, Ohio, with their three children, Nora, Emilia, and Brady.