Congresswoman Beatty Outlines Constituents’ Coronavirus Concerns
WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (OH-03) sent a letter last week to Ohio Governor Mike DeWine highlighting ongoing issues of concern for many constituents in Ohio’s Third Congressional District.
“I know that you are considering many Ohioans to transition back to work on May 1, but I have reservations about the time frame of this move until several health guardrails are instituted,” Beatty wrote. Specifically, she noted the need for more testing and personal protective equipment (PPE), expansion of healthcare services and testing outside of traditional hospital settings, reducing racial health disparities, and commutation of sentences for non-violent offenders.
Beatty’s letter comes in advance of DeWine appointing members to his Minority Health Strike Force. As she mentions, “Here in Ohio, Black Americans account for 12 percent of the state’s population but 23.3 percent of Ohio’s COVID-19 cases” and “persons of color make up an overwhelming majority of Ohio’s prison populations, which has contributed to this virus’s disproportionate impact on the minority community as a whole.”
At the federal level, Beatty cosponsored a similar proposal on commutation, the COVID-19 Correctional Facility Emergency Response Act of 2020, H.R. 6414. If enacted into law, the bill would allocate funds for states and localities to test prison populations and facilitate the release of non-violent offenders. This measure seeks to address the growing number of virus outbreaks occurring in federal and state penitentiaries across the country like Marion Correctional Institution in Marion County, Ohio.
From the very beginning of this public health crisis, Beatty has worked hard to expand access to PPE and COVID-19 testing, as well as services for communities of color. In fact, her support helped earn Food and Drug Administration (FDA) full approval for Battelle Memorial Institute’s revolutionary process to sanitize and reuse up to 80,000 N-95 protective masks, and Beatty was among the first to demand that congressional leadership include federal funding for testing at community health centers and to increase the supply of PPE for hospital and healthcare workers. As the Chair of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion, Beatty took a lead role in helping to draft the proposal allocating tens of billions of dollars from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for community development financial institutions and other non-traditional lenders like non-federally-insured credit unions that have historically served communities of color as well as rural and urban areas. Moreover, she pressed the Trump Administration repeatedly to ‘ban the box,’ improve clarity around the PPP, and better coordinate the distribution of federal assistance available to minority-owned small businesses.
To read Beatty’s full letter to DeWine, please click here.
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