An agenda

of Progress

As a working mother, Michelle understands the lived experiences of people in our community, and will to continue to be a voice for family needs.

During this unprecedented time of economic and health crises, the people of Butler County must elect someone with an agenda worth fighting for.

COVID-19

In Ohio today, people are worried about their health, safety, and ability to financially survive. In order to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, we need smart and responsive representation in the Statehouse. As an Assembly member, Michelle would support bills that:

Make COVID-19 and Influenza testing free-of-charge in the state of Ohio, regardless of a positive or negative result.

If one person cannot get tested due to financial barriers, they have the potential to infect hundreds of other Ohioans without even knowing. In other words, the only way to overcome this virus is as a community, leaving nobody behind. In addition, Michelle is in favor of also making Influenza A and B tests free-of-charge, so that anyone experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 does not hesitate to get tested.

Adequately fund the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services

Michelle is aware that her constituents have had difficulty getting financial assistance in these tough economic times. Ohioans are facing long wait times on the phone with the Ohio Bureau of Unemployment, as well as experiencing technical difficulties with their online portal. In order to make sure that all families are taken care of during the pandemic, it is important that these departments are well-funded and well-staffed.

Provide a Universal Basic Income (UBI) to all workers facing hardship due to COVID-19 economic decline.

Currently, the Ohio Unemployment System leaves many unemployed Ohioans out to dry. For example, independent contractors such as truck drivers, hair stylists, and tattoo artists are often ineligible for Unemployment Benefits. A UBI system in Ohio would ensure that no worker is left behind during this pandemic. As an alternative to receiving state unemployment or cash assistance benefits, it also lowers administrative costs experienced by many state bureaucratic institutions.

Healthcare

Today, the healthcare system in the United States is a profit-driven system which leaves many millions of people either uninsured or underinsured. As we wait for the federal government to fix this broken system, Ohio must be in the position to assist working families who have been left behind by our dysfunctional healthcare system. As a member of the General Assembly, Michelle Novak will fight for a just healthcare system by:

Supporting the Ohio Medicaid Expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

Michelle opposes any effort to roll-back the existing ACA Medicaid expansion, because expanded Medicaid in Ohio has been a resounding success. The 2013 Medicaid expansion has cut the number of uninsured Ohioans in half, reduced healthcare cost for Ohioans, and has received the support of both Republicans and Democrats.

Providing universal coverage for all people under the age of 18 in Ohio.

Michelle is a firm believer in educating our children and knows that a sick child cannot properly learn. In Middletown, where Mrs. Novak serves as a School Board member, an in-school clinic has been established so that children have easy access to a healthcare provider. As a member of the General Assembly, Michelle will advocate for the all uninsured children in Ohio so that they can be healthy and happy during their learning experiences.

Advocating for a single payer, ‘Medicare for All’ system on the federal level.

Today, Americans pay twice as much for healthcare than the citizens of other industrialized countries. When it comes to prescription drugs, Americans pay up to six times more than our Canadian neighbors. The inequities in our healthcare system cannot be solved by any one state alone. Michelle believes that access to quality healthcare is a right that should be afforded to all people. As a legislator, Michelle Novak would support measures that urge the federal government to adopt a single-payer healthcare system.

Ohio’s Opioid Crisis

The Opioid Crisis has taken too many lives in Butler County and throughout the United States. Decent, honest people have been sucked into addiction due to emotional and financial despair. Families across our region of the country have been torn apart due to this public health crisis. To combat the opioid epidemic, Michelle would support legislation to:

Create a commission of the Ohio Department of Health to monitor the overprescribing of opium-based pain relievers.

Big pharmaceutical companies have been strategic and successful in pushing opium-based pain relievers to Americans. From 2006 to 2014, 204,518,690 opiate pain relievers were distributed legally throughout Butler County. In an effort to stop pain-reliever addiction, a known gateway for addiction to stronger opiates such as heroine, Michelle believes that a panel of doctors and Public Health experts should be commissioned to determine where opiates are being overprescribed and how we as Ohioans can stop it.

Decriminalize drug-use offenses in exchange for mandatory rehabilitation.

In our community, we all know that addiction is a disease which cannot simply be thrown in jail. By putting drug users in jail only for them to be released back into the same environment they left, we do a disservice to both those struggling with addiction and our wider community. By decriminalizing these offenses, we can begin to address the issue of addiction for what it is: a public health crisis.

Introduce drug and alcohol education to Ohio students at a young age.

To combat the generational crisis of addiction, it is important to educate young people about drugs and provide strong social and emotional supports through our public education system. This must be done in a meaningful and realistic way, with a focus on safety rather than the ineffective “Just Say No” campaigns. Children should be aware of the direct and indirect costs of drugs with a greater emphasis in education on critical thinking.

Education

As a School Board member for Middletown, an urban Title I district, Michelle has had the opportunity to see the inequities in our public education system first-hand. Today, public education in Ohio is under attack by corporate lobbyists looking to defund our children’s public schools. Michelle will support the following measures to defend our public education system:

A full repeal of EdChoice, returning money that has been stolen already from local taxpayers— and redirected to uses that those funds were never intended to support.

The EdChoice voucher program is a program designed to take money from underserved, supposedly underperforming districts in the form of vouchers to private schools. For schools that the state deems underperforming, this program makes a bad situation worse. Michelle believes that all public schools need to receive enough funding to adequately educate each student. She believes that the responsibility for the state is only to provide a free, quality, public school option for families and that funding private schools is beyond the scope of the government. If a family desires to send their children to a private school or to homeschool them, this choice that should be available. However, that desire should not undermine the choice of other working families to send their children to the local public school.  If public tax dollars are used to fund private or charter school institutions, they should be subject to the same accountability and transparency standards of public schools.  If these schools have an advantage in any way, it would only be due to exemptions that they receive from the state mandates and rules that public school institutions are subject to.  If state lawmakers are not satisfied with the condition of public schools in the state, it is their responsibility to provide adequate support to improve their existing institutions instead of throwing money toward corporate lobby interests.

Increasing funding to K-12 Public Schools.

Currently, Ohio is 35th in the United States when it comes to education. As a community, the best investment we can make is an investment in our children. By providing adequate funding to Ohio’s public schools, we can give Ohio students a competitive edge by introducing them to cutting edge science, technology, engineering, art, and math.  We can also improve supports for social and emotional education and improve critical thinking skills for lifelong success. Funding and updating an outdated educational system will attract talent to our communities and economic investment into our state. It creates a cycle of success instead of the current system, which supports only cycles of poverty

Universal Pre-K and early childhood education in Ohio.

Michelle Novak supports non-mandated, universally accessible pre-kindergarten learning for all of Ohio’s children. Pre-K education makes a huge impact on the rest of a child’s academic life. Early childhood education must be made accessible to all families.

A Fair Economy

For most Ohioans, ensuring economic stability is at the top of their concerns. Michelle believes that the government has a responsibility to ensure that opportunity exists in Ohio’s economy. To maximize opportunity in the Ohio economy, Michelle would support:

Raising the Minimum Wage to a Living Wage.

Currently, the Minimum Wage in Ohio is $8.70 an hour for non-tipped workers, and $4.35 an hour for tip earners. Simply put, this is a starvation wage. The last increase to the minimum wage was enacted in January 2020, and was only 15¢. It is long past time that we raise our minimum wage to a living wage of at least $15.00 an hour. Nobody should be working full time and still make so little that they qualify for welfare benefits. Corporations need to support their employees at a minimum basic level so that they do not have to rely on taxpayer support to get by. Raising the minimum wage moves the responsibility for employee compensation back to employers where it belongs taking it off of the shoulders of the state and Ohio’s taxpayers. Paying employees enough also increases our tax base allowing the state to provide additional benefits to citizens such as universal healthcare.  This would allow us to disconnect healthcare from employment which is better for employees by giving them flexibility to change jobs.  It better for employers giving them the flexibility to not have to incur higher costs when they offer full time employment to people with families.

A tax policy that makes wealthy people and corporations pay their fair share.

Corruption in the Ohio State Legislature has given tax giveaways to wealthy donors and their companies. Seen most blatantly under the tenure of House Speaker Larry Householder, this corruption must come to an end. It is time to enact a tax policy that puts the working people of Ohio ahead of wealthy donors by demanding corporate responsibility.  Michelle will close tax loopholes and subsidies that only benefit the ultra-wealthy and will invest tax savings in building our economies by investing in people through education, training, small business development support, and debt relief programs.

Expanded funding to career centers throughout the state of Ohio.

Our state economy and democracy will prosper only if we can create and maintain an educated workforce. By expanding funding to career centers and increasing access to technology for our residents, we will be able to have an empowered workforce at the forefront of an economy that rewards innovation, bold action, and creativity. As a State Representative, Michelle will advocate for workers to have access to high-quality training for career advancement and business development.

A Clean Environment

Ohio has a proud history of industrial development. For generations, Ohio has supplied the world with steel, airplanes, cars, paper products, and so much more. As the world continues to combat the crisis of climate change, Ohio must lead the United States in environmentally-stable development. In order for that to be possible, Michelle supports:

A moratorium on Coal Power and Fracking development.

It’s time to begin focusing on clean and safe ways to power Ohio’s economy. Today, clean and cheap methods of energy creation are widely accessible. Fracking is known to cause man-made earthquakes and burning coal is known to emit harmful CO2 gases into the atmosphere.  With so many clean energy options available today, Ohioans do not  need to rely on dangerous and dirty power sources to keep our lights on.

A review commission for Industrial-Residential areas.

Many neighborhoods throughout Ohio are in the center of industrial areas with high rates of pollution and contamination. Michelle would advocate for a commission led jointly by the Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to ensure citizens living in industrial neighborhoods are safe. This commission would identify health risk factors of industrial activity, as well as ensure that the families of these neighborhoods have their industry-related healthcare needs taken care of adequately.

Encouraging manufacturing of Solar and Wind energy materials.

Though Michelle supports a moratorium on coal and fracking development, she still supports energy production in Ohio. Companies who wish to produce energy in Ohio should be made eligible for certain tax breaks, subsidies, and grants if they choose to develop innovative environmentally-friendly methods of energy production.

Agriculture and Farming

Michelle is the granddaughter of Frank & Adele Novak, proud family farmers from upstate New York. So many families across Ohio make a living operating a family farm, and it is important that those families are well taken care of. It is also a matter of national security that we have direct access to food production.

Property valuation methods that don’t over-inflate land values.

Property taxes for farmers, especially in areas where there are new developments can become a heavy burden. Michelle will advocate for property tax valuation methods that will keep taxes reasonable for family farms. Public school funding is one of the largest expenditures of property tax revenues.  Michelle intends to move the overreliance of school funding off of property taxes. This will significantly decrease the burden felt by family farmers and homeowners.

Farming subsidies exclusively to non-corporate farms.

As a legislator, Michelle would fight to end corporate giveaways in the form of farming subsidies. If Ohio wishes to subsidize farms, we should subsidize the family farms of Ohio residents, not the farms of large out-of-state corporations.

Grants for farmers who agree to have wind or solar energy on their lands.

Farmers who recognize the need to care for our environment should be rewarded. Michelle understands the cosmetic and logistical issues that farmers face when opening their land to green energy development. To incentivize clean energy creation in Ohio, Michelle wants to make farmer’s land sacrifices worthwhile in the form of a yearly cash subsidy.

Reducing Gun Violence

In the fight to reduce gun violence, we face a delicate balance between upholding every American’s right to bear arms and ensuring that our communities are safe. In finding this balance, it is important to find solutions that are both sensible and lawful. To reduce gun violence, Michelle will support:

Safe schools.

Teachers do not get paid enough (or trained enough) to serve as both educators and armed security. As we continue to combat gun violence in our schools, it is important that we act on logic and not fear and rely on experts. That is why Michelle supports providing districts and municipalities with the funding for safety initiatives. This can be done first by fully funding our schools.  This will give schools the flexibility to decide how they can most effectively provide the safety their students need given their environment and circumstances. Arming teachers is not optimal for any district. Most would choose to hire trained safety personnel to monitor schools if they were in a position where they had adequate resources to fund those roles. It is the state’s responsible to provide a framework for the best practices in school safety and guidance and when imposing limitations, it is important to make sure that adequate funding is provided for alternatives.

Allowing a judge to review and possibly re-instate gun rights of felons who have served their sentence.

The Second Amendment to our United States Constitution affords all citizens the right to keep and bear arms. One of the reasonable restrictions of the Second Amendment is prohibiting potentially dangerous felons from possessing firearms. Rather than revoke someone’s Second Amendment right permanently, Michelle is open to allowing judges to reinstate a convict’s gun rights if they are found to not be a threat to a safe society.

Opposing the Ohio “Stand Your Ground” law.

The proposed “Stand Your Ground” law in Ohio subverts due process in favor of a person who uses a firearm in alleged self-defense. It is important that our court system is allowed to administer justice in matters of life and death. No law should be passed that encourages or makes it easier for people to use firearms against one another.

Seniors and Retirement

One of the most important responsibilities in a community is taking care of its elders. To many senior citizens across our state, senior services are increasingly unavailable. As the former Operations Manager for the Alzheimer’s Association, Michelle has extensive knowledge of many issues facing senior citizens and their families. As a General Assembly member, Michelle Novak will fight for seniors and veterans by:

Increasing funding to senior centers across Ohio, and providing funding to create new centers in rural areas.

Many senior centers across Ohio are reliant on levies and municipal funding to continue operating. Michelle would support sending more funding to existing senior centers, as well as constructing new centers in areas where municipalities are unable to afford them. People are now living longer, and socialization opportunities have a significant impact on long-term health.

Funding efforts at Ohio universities and research facilities to find a cure for Alzheimer’s.

From Cleveland Clinic to the University of Cincinnati, Ohioans work in some of the most prestigious and awarded medical research facilities in the world. Michelle believes that the state should be a firm partner in medical research and would support the creation of grant programs for the development of cures to horrific diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Expanding Medicaid to include long-term professional care at no cost.

Senior citizens should not be expected to sign over their entire life savings in the event that they become in need of assisted living. There is no working or middle class family in Ohio who is unaware of the financial struggle that end-of-life care presents to a family. Michelle will advocate for fully-covered assisted living facilities through an expansion of Medicaid, ensuring that all seniors can both live and pass with dignity.

Marijuana Legalization

Too many people in Ohio have been wrongfully jailed for use, possession, and distribution of marijuana. It is time to bring an end to the era of prohibition in our state. As a State Representative, Michelle Novak will fight for marijuana justice by:

Commuting the sentences of people serving time in state prisons for marijuana-related charges.

When marijuana is finally legalized, every person serving time for charges related to the drug should be freed immediately and without delay. Too many fundamentally innocent people sit in jail today because of our old-fashioned prohibition laws.

Allowing recreational dispensaries to open and generate tax-revenue for the state of Ohio.

As seen in Colorado, Washington, California, and many other states: Marijuana has the potential to raise hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue. Right now, whether we like it or not, marijuana is being sold and bought all throughout the state of Ohio. The legalization of marijuana and opening of dispensaries will allow not only for a safer, more regulated product; It will also allow for the state to generate millions in much-needed taxes.

Using a portion of marijuana-generated tax revenue to provide reparations for those wrongfully jailed under past unjust marijuana laws.

Ohioans have made clear that they do not want the marijuana industry to be turned over to large corporations who will hoard profits and fix prices. To ensure we have an open market, Michelle supports the creation of capital start-up programs.

Criminal Justice Reform

The criminal justice system in Ohio is one that has disparaged working-class communities, specifically communities of color. It is important that our system becomes a system of justice and self-reformation rather than a system of punishment. To remedy our broken criminal justice system, Michelle would support bills that:

Prohibit the operation of for-profit, Private Detention Centers in Ohio.

In Ohio, business should not be allowed to make millions from the incarceration of our fellow Ohioans. Jails exist to enforce justice and keep our society safe— Not to make money. Michelle believes that all detention centers in the state of Ohio should be publicly owned and operated, removing any incentive for companies to keep people incarcerated for profit.

Promote reasonable sentence and parole reform.

Today, Ohio’s jails are overcrowded and in need of renovation. If a person presents no present threat to society, they should be released. Michelle is in favor of creating a sentencing review board in the State of Ohio that would have the ability to release non-violent prisoners who have served their debt to society.

Providing funding to organizations that assist sex-workers.

By treating sex-workers as criminals, we do no service to the betterment of our society. Today, sex workers engage in the act of prostitution for a variety of reasons— economic, social, and emotional— that cannot be solved with incarceration. Michelle is in favor of increasing state funding to women’s shelters, relocation programs, and other organizations that support sex workers in rehabilitation efforts.

21st Century Infrastructure

It is time to rebuild Ohio’s crumbling infrastructure. Right now, our public roads and water systems are far behind public infrastructure in other states. Michelle will bring our infrastructure up-to-date by supporting:

Increased funding for Interstate and State Highway construction.

Ohio’s roads and highway system have been neglected for far too long. Michelle Novak would support increased funding to the Ohio Department of Transportation so that our roads can be properly repaired.

Creating a municipal grant system for cities seeking to repair their roads and water lines.

Many cities across Ohio have crumbling roads and water systems and no financial ability to bring their infrastructure up-to-date. Many cities in Ohio still have lead pipes. By creating a municipal grant system in Ohio, the state can supply cities with adequate funding for safe infrastructure projects.

Veterans Affairs

As Ohioans, it is our duty to care for those Veterans who answered their call of duty by protecting and defending the United States abroad. Michelle has a son in the United States Navy and has utmost respect for those who defend our country. Also through her experience at the Alzheimer’s Association, Michelle supported the efforts of a veteran’s task force to provide additional supports for veterans who had experienced traumatic brain injuries. On a state level, Michelle will advocate for veterans by:

Creating a state-wide housing guarantee for Ohio Veterans.

Many thousands of Veterans across Ohio have reported facing homelessness or housing insecurity since serving in our military. This is unconscionable. As a State Representative, Michelle would lead an effort to create a state-wide housing program for Veterans, ensuring that no person who bravely defended our country is left behind to sleep in the streets.

Providing financial support for senior memory care housing specific to Veterans.

If we really support the sacrifice that our veterans have made to keep our communities safe, we would do everything that we can do to care for them when they return home to our communities. Many have lasting injuries and impacts from their service. We need to provide the support resources to give them the dignity and respect that they deserve.

Women’s Rights

As a mom, sister, daughter and woman, Michelle knows the importance of standing up for women’s rights. In a state where women’s rights are under attack, Michelle will be a staunch advocate for women everywhere. As a State Representative, Michelle will advocate for:

A full repeal of the Ohio “Heartbeat Bill.”

The “Heartbeat Bill” is an unconstitutional attempt to restrict reproductive rights for women in Ohio. As a member of the General Assembly, Michelle would support a full repeal of this radical legislation and ineffective. After the repeal is complete, Michelle will continue to be a staunch advocate for women’s reproductive rights in Ohio while also addressing the underlying issues impacting women that lead to abortion from healthcare access, social and emotional support services, educational services, and fear of poverty. By addressing the underlying factors impacting women’s health, we will see a significant decline in unwanted pregnancies and abortion. The “Heartbeat Bill” and outright banning abortion is an empty attempt to put vulnerable women at the forefront of political discourse, while simultaneously not listening to and respecting the voices of those same women.

Expanding Planned Parenthood across Ohio.

For low income communities, specifically communities of color, Planned Parenthood serves as a lifeline for women’s healthcare and family planning. To create a healthier society, we should be expanding Planned Parenthood, not defunding it. As a voting member of the Statehouse, Michelle will support expanded access to women’s healthcare in low income communities through Planned Parenthood and through other vehicles that are willing to provide nonjudgmental, quality care for vulnerable communities.

Labor Unions

Organized labor is the most effective way to ensure that workers have fair wages and decent benefits. While Ohio is among the leading states in the United States in unionization rates, there is still much to be done to support organized labor in Ohio. To promote and protect unions, Michelle will support:

Collective bargaining rights for all employees in Ohio, both public and private.

Michelle knows that employees have higher wages and better benefits when they have the ability to organize and collectively bargain. As a State Representative, Michelle Novak will always stand with workers using their right to organize and advocate for themselves and others.

Full opposition to “Right to Work” legislation in the Ohio legislature.

“Right to Work” laws, deceptively named, have been used to weaken union power throughout the United States. All workers have the right to unionize, and “Right to Work” laws have been successful in undermining that right. Michelle wholeheartedly opposes efforts to pass these sorts of laws in Ohio.

Legislation that penalizes union-busting actions by companies in Ohio.

In the United States, everyone has the right to form and join a union— this is the law. Too many companies have taken drastic measures in efforts to block unionization efforts across the state of Ohio and undermine worker’s rights. As a member of the General assembly, Novak would support the creation of criminal and civil penalties for companies who illegally try to stop workers from organizing for their rights.

Non Discrimination

Michelle is a staunch believer in equality on the basis of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and age. As an advocate for equality, Michelle will always fight against efforts to legalize discrimination in our state legislature. She will do this by:

Standing up for equal pay for equal work.

Pay disparities across race, gender, and other identifying factors are an unfortunate reality in the Ohio economy today. Pay discrimination impacts all Ohioans, and as a Representative, Michelle Novak will support legislation that prohibits and monitors wage disparities in Ohio.

Opposing homophobic adoption laws.

Many states throughout the United States have tried to undercut LGBT+ marriage equality by placing restrictions on adoption for same sex couples. As a member of the Statehouse and as a firm ally to the LGBT+ community, Michelle will lead the opposition to these types of archaic and discriminatory laws.

Butler County Issues

As a State Representative, Michelle Novak will be deeply involved in our community. She will always stand firm with our community and labor organizers to make Butler County a more just and livable community.

AK Steel Pension Cuts

Michelle believes that pension agreements are a firm commitment between an employer and employee, and that these agreements should not be subject to change over time. As a representative, Michelle would support the creation of a Pension Fund Review Commission as a part of the Ohio Department of Labor. This commission would have the ability to look into the management of pension funds and ensure that pension funds are not mismanaged for Ohio’s workers.

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