FirstEnergy / Ohio Utility Bailouts

State Rep. Nino Vitale offers ignorant assessment of the poor and media in bizarre email about energy bill: Mark Naymik

Nino Vitale represents Ohio House District 85.

CLEVELAND – “A recent story about State Rep. Nino Vitale of Urbana deserves more attention because it offers insight into the warped thinking of a potentially influential lawmaker.

The story by my colleague, Jeremy Pelzer, highlights an email Vitale wrote to fellow conservative Republican lawmaker, John Becker of Union Township, about House Bill 6, the controversial energy bill being debated in Columbus.

…Vitale’s analysis of the charge and other elements is just plain bizarre. In his email, he sounds like he’s fallen down a rabbit hole and landed in a right-wing wonderland. It’s a place where energy assistance programs, which are paid for by the energy efficiency charge and include helping low-income residents insulate their homes, is just another government handout that makes poor people lazy. You know, just like food assistance programs. In Vitale’s world, being a little hungry and cold is good motivation to work harder.

…Vitale, whose work could affect all Ohioans, doesn’t sound like he knows all Ohioans. He proves this when he uses so many veiled stereotypes and myths about poverty, such as the one that if the poor just worked harder, they wouldn’t be poor. Or the one that suggests the poor are solely responsible for their circumstances. (Tell that to the many children whose only decent daily meal comes from a lunch program at school or a Boys and Girls Club.) I could also introduce Vitale to a host of working poor people who pay the same energy efficiency charge he and everyone else pays.”

— Mark Naymik, Cleveland Plain Dealer

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