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Kent's Operating Principles


Kent Smith's four core operating principles support these priorities for the district:



We all do better, when we all do better.


All of Ohio's children today are all of Ohio's future tomorrow.


Ohio's economy will grow from equal parts innovation and opportunity.


I am going to show up, do the work and fight for those who sent me to Columbus.

Here’s a scary number: The last time Ohio residents had a median household income ABOVE the national average was in 2003.


For decades, Republicans have had one “solution” to Ohio’s economic challenges and it’s to cut taxes for the wealthy. If this strategy would have worked, Ohio would have recovered years ago. Ohio does two things really well: we feed the world and we build things. And it’s the middle class that does both. When the middle class is healthy, the economy grows for everyone. It generates wealth for the wealthy, and it provides ladders of opportunity for all segments of society. But the middle class has been weakened by GOP policies and that is dangerous. Because as the middle class declines, it creates an economic sinkhole that can collapse the economy and create a world that only the wealthy want to live in. We all do better when we all do better.

Education funding in Ohio needs to be increased at all three levels: Pre-K, K-12 and higher Education. 


Don’t think of education as an expenditure, think of it as a long-term investment in human capital.  Ohio’s future Fortune 500 list will be built not by corporations, but by people. The only way Ohio will compete in a global economy is with a world class workforce. Any nation that out educates us will out-compete us. Innovation grows out of the seeds of education, and we cannot leave any of our children behind. Columbus has produced decades of anti-public education policies, the worst of which has been the recent takeover of the Youngstown, Lorain and East Cleveland public school districts. After several years of state control things have only gotten worse because the “Columbus Knows Best” approach rarely works when local leaders are ignored. I believe that every Ohio child can change the world. Perhaps the next great electric vehicle inventor is currently in a Youngstown classroom. Perhaps the solution to the Lake Erie algae crisis is a Lorain student. Perhaps the next great civil rights leader is walking down an East Cleveland school hallway. These kids - our kids - can do great things and we must invest in them, because they are all our future.

History can often teach us about the future.


Just look back 30 years at what was the Fortune 500 list. Today, many of those companies are making different things, different ways. The American economy is not going to stop, but it is going to change. What we don’t know is how product innovation and process innovation will grow and change the world. Ohio leaders need to help our state grow where the economy is going. The perfect example of this is electric vehicles and clean energy innovation. The need for electricity and water will not decrease as the world’s populations expand. The economic opportunity of electric vehicles, renewable power generation, and a more flexible power grid are a huge economic opportunity. These markets should be pursued, not shunned. For example, Ohio trails our Midwest neighbors by a factor of 3x or 4x in wind power wattage. The wind industry believes Ohio has 10 times the wind energy capacity that we are currently producing. Studies suggest that’s $3 billion dollars' worth of paychecks NOT being cashed in Ohio today. Future Fortune 500 lists will be powered by clean energy. Ohio needs to embrace the opportunity of clean energy innovation or risk being left in the smog age.

I am going to show up, do the work and fight for those who sent me to Columbus.

Let me give you an example of the fourth principle, during my third term, there were 421 votes cast on the Ohio House Floor. I was present for and cast my vote for all 421 votes. I also never missed a vote during my entire first term and I haven’t missed a vote during this term (my fourth).

And that is what I do. During my 12 years on the Euclid School Board, I never missed a meeting. Which means I never missed a vote in twelve years of elected service before I joined the Ohio Legislature. That’s important because now is not the time for lazy or uninformed legislators. Democrats are outnumbered in the Ohio House and it’s worse in the Ohio Senate. We can’t waste any seats; the stakes are too high. This State Senate District needs to send someone to Columbus who will not just vote the right way, but who will fight for those who they are supposed to represent. And you can only fight for those who sent you – if you are there.

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