Ohio Gubernatorial candidate Betty Sutton proposed Wednesday that Ohio create a new Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity.  Sutton’s proposal would put Ohio workers at the center of economic policy and planning, while streamlining state bureaucracy focused on training, worker safety and job growth, a release said.

“I believe that when workers are at the center of our policy we will increase jobs and wages and prosperity. As governor, I will make Ohio the ‘Opportunity State’ — a place that creates opportunity for everyone,” Sutton said.

Sutton announced her new proposal at a rally at the Iron Workers Local 17 Hall in front of more than 100 supporters and union members, the release said. Sutton’s Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity is the cornerstone of her gubernatorial agenda called Opportunity Blueprint for Ohio’s Future, it added.

“We’re going to rekindle the spirit of innovation that drove Thomas Edison, the Wright Brothers, and John Glenn to change the world,” Sutton said. “Remember, a few short years ago, there was no Silicon Valley, no Microsoft or Apple, there were just some guys working in their garage. At this very moment, there’s someone working somewhere on the next big thing—I want it to take flight in Ohio.”

Sutton’s Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity will have the following goals and objectives:

  • It will be the mission of the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity to strengthen our economy by facilitating the growth of good jobs, while enhancing the well-being and economic security of Ohioans by increasing the earning and spending potential of Ohio workers and families. The Department’s director and staff will actively seek, develop, advocate for and implement initiatives that will benefit the safety, security and economic well-being of Ohio’s workers, while enhancing our business climate.

  • The Department will be charged to work with other state agencies and engage educators, educational institutions, along with the business community to streamline efforts and cut red-tape when necessary.

  • The Department will evaluate the effectiveness and cost-efficiency of workforce and economic development programs and break down barriers that make it difficult for state government to work collaboratively and effectively together. It will focus on worker safety, security and economic well-being and strengthen existing programs that provide pathways to training, support and jobs.

  • The Department Director and staff will consult with experts and academics at our state universities to develop positions on national economic issues. Past experience teaches Ohio’s leaders that they can’t remain on the sidelines when critical decisions that affect workers are being made in Washington.

  • Ohio will approach Congress and the White House with facts, and vigorously oppose trade deals and policies that will kill jobs in Ohio and we’ll fight for initiatives and programs that create them.

“This new department will build a new foundation in Ohio based on creating opportunities that will benefit workers and businesses,” she said. “Workers will no longer be an afterthought. The well-being of workers will be at every table.  And, I believe we as a state and a people will be all the stronger for it.”