COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — In one month, there will be new legislators at the Ohio Statehouse. Two of those new faces include Senator-elect Bill DeMora (D-Northeast Ohio) and Representative-elect Dr. Anita Somani (D-Franklin County), who said they are ready to hit the ground running in January.
“We have to work as a team,” Somani said. “We have to be unified.”
DeMora, who has worked in politics for years, said while he has a list of things he wants to accomplish, one of his biggest priorities will be fighting for fair districts.
“We don’t have fair districts now, and we won’t until we have an independent commission who’s drawing them,” DeMora said, referencing the maps approved by the Ohio Redistricting Commission that were rejected as unconstitutional by the Ohio Supreme Court.
DeMora said other areas he thinks need work are childcare and senior care, two sectors he described as being in “crisis.” He also said he wants to address gun violence.
“I think we need responsible gun control, we need universal background checks, we need to end assault weapons,” DeMora said.
DeMora said he will also do what he can to ‘protect a women’s right to choose in Ohio.’
Somani, an OBGYN with OhioHealth, said while women’s healthcare is a top priority, using her background in medicine goes further than that.
“There’s a lot of public health issues that are coming up with some of the vaccine mandates that have come and gone,” Somani said, pointing to the measles outbreak spreading among mostly unvaccinated children in central Ohio. She said it’s imperative that the legislature close vaccination loopholes, particularly for longstanding immunizations that have proven to be effective.
“[The] MMR [vaccine] has been proven to be effective,” Somani said. “We have a generation of doctors who have never seen measles cases, who have never seen mumps or rubella.”
As far as considering the state budget, Somani said if the legislature decides to further restrict abortion access, it ought to promote robust resources for new mothers and their babies.
Somani was clear in her opposition to Senate Bill 178, legislation supported by Gov. Mike DeWine that would strip the state board of education’s regulatory power and move it under the purview of the governor’s office.
“Education should be independent from the governor’s office,” Somani said. “We need people in education who are nonpolitical.”