Columbus — A Democratic state lawmaker has drawn the ire of a business group for backing a series of billboards focusing attention to wage disparity issues.
Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) is supporting the signs displayed near airports in Columbus, Cleveland and Dayton as part of a campaign by UltraViolet, a national women’s rights group.
“Welcome to Ohio,” the signs read, adding, “Ohio women are paid 77 cents to every man’s $1.”
The billboards also note that “18 percent of women in Ohio live in poverty” and mention abortion restrictions instituted by Statehouse Republicans.
The signs prompted quick criticism from the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, which said they could hurt tourism.
“… I was shocked to learn today that some radical, out-of-state group has decided to make our travel & tourism industry the target of a misleading propaganda campaign that can only serve to undermine [the tourism industry],” Andrew Doehrel, president and chief executive officer of the chamber, said in a released statement. “This is nothing more than a misguided effort to use Ohio’s hospitality industry as leverage in order to advance a litany of job-killing public policy ideas. And it’s especially shameful that Rep. Kathleen Clyde would directly participate in such an effort.”
But Clyde, who participated in a conference call earlier in the week announcing the billboards, defended her involvement.
“I work night and day to promote tourism in Ohio,” she said in an e-mail response to the chamber’s comment. “I work night and day to promote the Ohio economy. I also adamantly believe that the women of Ohio deserve equal pay for equal work.”
Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.