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Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes promises big investments in Northeast Ohio

Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes talks with Doug Oplinger at Akron Roundtable.
Abigail Bottar
Ideastream Public Media
Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes spoke at Akron Roundtable on Feb. 3, 2023. The discussion was moderated by former Akron Beacon Journal reporter and editor Doug Oplinger.

Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes is promising big investments in Northeast Ohio’s infrastructure and manufacturing industry. She spoke about her goals in Congress at Akron Roundtable on Friday.

Strong Sykes sits on the Science, Space and Technology and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committees.

"That means you have someone there who is going to be advocating for this community, specifically this community, our state and our region," Strong Sykes said, "and it's better to do it on the committee rather than asking someone else to do it on your behalf."

She’s hopeful her influence there will bring money and jobs to the region, especially in regard to the state’s infrastructure. She wanted to be on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to advocate for infrastructure support for the state.

"With Ohio having so many miles of highway and byway as you all have seen, our infrastructure has been crumbling, and really you can get anywhere in the United States through Ohio," Strong Sykes said. "And that is where the freight usually goes through, but our infrastructure is crumbling and needs some support."

Strong Sykes said being on the committee will hopefully mean more money to the region to fix and improve infrastructure.

“It’s going to be a big committee, and then remember we just passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law," Strong Sykes said. "And there are billions of dollars that we’ll have oversight from that committee, and I’m going to sit on it.”

Strong Sykes’ role on the Science, Space and Technology Committee will include allocating funding from the CHIPS and Science Act passed last year, which she hopes will bring more manufacturing jobs to the region.

“What we will hope to benefit from the CHIPS and Science Act is more manufacturing, more making of things in the United States, so we don’t have the supply chain crises as we saw during the pandemic," Strong Sykes said. "I know that Kent State University is already one of our Northeast regional hubs for some of that work.”

Strong Sykes hopes to get more universities in Northeast Ohio involved in this work, particularly the University of Akron. UA is working to become a hub for polymer innovations.

“And also considering our polymer science and potential to have a hub here and wanting to be an ally for that," Strong Sykes said.

With Democrats in the minority in the House, Strong Sykes is eager to work across the aisle with her Republican colleagues.

You can hear Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes speak at Akron Roundtable next Friday at 8:00 pm on WKSU.

Abigail Bottar covers Akron, Canton, Kent and the surrounding areas for Ideastream Public Media.