U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) attended a forum today with African American Ministers at the Indiana Missionary Baptist Church in Toledo. Brown was joined by Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray. Pastor John Roberts hosted the forum, which focused on education, healthcare, housing, the economy, and other issues important to Northeast Ohio.
"Toledo is home to a vibrant African-American faith tradition and rich cultural heritage." Brown said. "Today, I had the opportunity to meet with members of the Northwest Ohio clergy community to listen to and discuss important concerns of the black community, including the state of our economy, housing, and education."
Brown is working to strengthen Ohio neighborhoods devastated by the housing crisis. He was recently in Cleveland to commemorate the one millionth customer served through the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program and to outline ongoing efforts to address the housing crisis. Brown is also a leading proponent of providing assistance to communities affected by the housing crisis and population loss. He fought for the creation of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 and the continuation of the program in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. In Sep. 2008, Brown announced that Ohio communities would receive more than $258 million in NSP funds authorized by the housing bill. In Sep. 2009, Brown wrote to Secretary Donovan in support of Ohio applicants to the second wave of funding through the NSP program.
Attendees discussed ways to improve education. In August, Ohio was one of ten states to receive Race to the Top Funding from the U.S. Department of Education. Ohio was awarded $400 million which will be distributed over the next four years. Brown wrote a letter of support to US. Dept. of Education Secretary Arne Duncan to help turn around persistently low-achieving schools. In July, Brown, along with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), introduced legislation to promote student achievement. The DIPLOMA Act responds to research by arming local leaders to identify and address the barriers students face so they can meet rigorous standards in the classroom and reach their full potential. More information on the bill can be found HERE.
During the State Work Period in August and September, Brown traveled around Ohio meeting with small business owners and workers as part of his "Made in Ohio Tour." With the top priority of creating Ohio jobs, Brown is fighting for a multi-pronged effort to promote economic development. The key components of Senator Brown's jobs strategy are:
* Promoting the expansion of Ohio businesses by strengthening small business lending programs and aiding President Obama's goal to significantly boost U.S. exports.
* Transitioning away from our dependence on foreign oil to a clean energy future in which jobs are centered in the small businesses, manufacturing facilities, and universities of Ohio.
* Developing Ohio's workforce so that Ohioans are prepared to fill the jobs of the 21st century and revitalizing the state's infrastructure to attract those global industries.
* Making sure that Ohio industry isn't undermined due to unfair trade by pursuing remedies to counteract China's currency manipulation and subsidization of domestic industries.