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Betty Sutton

We know that this fight isn’t over.

Our victory in defeating Issue 2 was not just a victory for public sector employees or unions across Ohio, it was a victory for the middle-class. And, it was a reminder that when we stand together, we can successfully push back on Governor Kasich’s attempts to divide and defeat us.

We all remember where this fight began. Some of you were there when we were locked out of the Capitol on that cold February day. Some of you helped collect the 1.3 million signatures we collected to put Issue 2 on the ballot. Many of you knocked on doors, made phone calls, and worked your hearts out so that we could achieve a resounding victory on a beautiful day in November.

It was your work, the work of men and women from public and private sector unions and other fair-minded Ohioans that made the difference. It was all of us joining together to stand up for fairness and the middle class that brought Issue 2 down.

At a time when all public officials at every level of government should be focused on getting Ohio back to work and enable communities to pay our civil servants what they have earned, Governor Kasich chose instead to attack them and to try to take away their rights. With Senate Bill 5, Governor Kasich and his proxies in the Statehouse tried to silence our police officers, fire fighters, teachers and other workers at the bargaining table. They made it clear that they view our civil servants as a problem. But with our victory, we showed them they were wrong. We showed them that we know our police, fire fighters, teacher, nurses, state, county and municipal workers are not the enemy. They are our heroes, our brothers, our sisters, neighbors, and friends.

Our victory did not come easy. Governor Kasich and his sidekicks thought we would quit. They thought we would fall apart. They thought we would fail to go the distance. They were wrong. They thought we would go away when they locked the Statehouse doors and they thought we would never collect the signatures we needed to bring Issue 2 to the ballot; they were wrong.

The people of Ohio showed Governor Kasich that we will stand with our workers for fairness. We made it clear that we believe our police officers, fire fighters, teachers, nurses and other workers deserve a voice at the table. We proved that we believe that whether you are a teacher or a steelworker, a plumber or a janitor, you should get a fair shake and a fair chance at the American Dream.

Most of all, in defeating Issue 2 we made it clear that when you attack working Ohioans, we will fight back. Our middle-class is the bedrock of our society. It is the middle class that makes our state and nation so great. And we will fight to protect it.

While the joy and excitement we felt on Election Day is still with us, there are new threats and new plans to continue the attack on Ohio’s working families and our middle class. We are hearing the rallying cry of Kasich allies who seek to collect signatures to make Ohio a so-called “right-to-work” state in an attempt to destroy our unions and get revenge for their loss this November, and we have even seen talk from politicians in Columbus about reintroducing parts of SB5.

We know that this fight isn’t over. We know that we must stay vigilant and on guard against those who want to take away rights and disempower working Ohioans. Yet, after defeating Issue 2, we know that no matter what is thrown at us, no matter what is forced onto the ballot, and no matter what Governor Kasich and his ilk think of next, together, we will can stand to together and not only push back, but also push forward on behalf of working men and women and our middle class.

Last Updated (Sunday, 08 January 2012 22:46)