April 30, 2024

Candidates Conference for Ohio's 6th Congressional District

The ACAA is partnering with the Alliance Area of Chamber of Commerce to host a Candidates Conference for Ohio’s 6th Congressional District on Thursday, May 16th from 4:30 – 7:00 p.m. at the University of Mount Union. We’re holding this event ahead of the June 11th Special Election, during which Michael Kripchak (D) and Michael Ruilli (R) will face off to see who will fill this currently vacant congressional seat. The 6th Congressional District includes all of Mahoning, Columbiana, Jefferson, Harrison, Belmont, Monroe, Noble, and Washington Counties, as well as portions of Stark and Tuscarawas Counties.

This unique event will provide members with an opportunity to connect directly with two congressional candidates, learn about each ones’ priorities, and share their perspectives.

With two back-to-back “fireside chats,” each candidate will have their own timeslot to provide opening and closing remarks, respond to predetermined questions related to the business community’s top policy priorities, and answer questions from audience members.

Register here

Update on the Reconnecting Canton Recompete Pilot Program Application

In recent months, the ACAA has been working with the Stark Economic Development Board, the City of Canton, and a broad set of Stark County partners on securing $20 million for the “Reconnecting Canton” Recompete Pilot Program application. As one of 22 finalists in the country (and the only finalist in Ohio) this once-in-a-generation opportunity will lay the foundations for community well-being and self-sufficiency. Reconnecting Canton will reduce the prime-age employment gap by connecting 400+ workers aged 25-54 to living wage jobs and small businesses that support them.

The Social Determinants of Work are several challenges that workers experience daily and is a huge focus of this initiative. Reconnecting Canton acknowledges that these challenges contribute to poverty and economic distress and is addressing these issues through several projects, such as connecting workers to good jobs, providing infrastructure support and wrap around services, and creating entrepreneurial, transportation, and technology connections.

As advocates for the Akron-Canton region, the ACAA has been working closely with the Reconnecting Canton team to generate political support and strategically build public awareness. Throughout these efforts, we held multiple individual meetings with U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, Congresswoman Emilia Sykes, Congressman Max Miller, Lt. Governor Husted, Governor DeWine’s D.C. and Columbus policy teams, and many state legislators.

The Phase 2 application was submitted last week on April 24th. The grant winners will be announced in the summer when Canton hopes to begin its 5-year implementation work.

Dwayne Groll Letter to the Editor – HR 7024

Recently, ACAA Co-Chair Dwayne Groll, CEO of Environmental Design Group, published a column in the Akron Beacon Journal regarding the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act of 2024. 

This legislation will extend several provisions from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, such as 100% bonus depreciation and increased interest deduction. This bill restores the immediate expensing option for R&D expenditures, which would encourage businesses of all sizes to improve competitiveness through R&D. Additionally, this bill increases the maximum refundable Child Tax Credit for parents and increases the availability of affordable housing through the enhancement of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit. 

This bill is incredibly important for economic growth and innovation in Ohio. With bipartisan support from Ohio lawmakers, House Resolution 7024 incentivizes businesses to develop cutting-edge technologies and solutions on a global scale and will provide much needed childcare support to ensure workers can return to and stay in the workforce. 


Read more from the Akron Beacon Journal.

Senate Bill 166 – Allow Certain Minority Business Direct Loans for Working Capital 

Senate Bill 166 is cosponsored by Ohio State Senators Vernon Sykes and Michelle Reynolds and would expand ODOD’s Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) Loan Program to allow loans to be used for working capital. It would use money already allocated to the Ohio Department of Development and cap loans at $500,000. Eligible uses include: 

  • Improving real or personal property for the establishment, location, or expansion of industrial, distribution, commercial, or research facilities in the state. 
  • Increasing working capital. 
  • Contract financing. 
  • Providing funding to community development corporations that benefit minority businesses. 

The Akron-Canton Advocacy Alliance views this legislation as a continuation of previous advocacy the Greater Akron Chamber and Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce have done around Senate Bill 105 in the 134th General Assembly, which greatly improved the MBE, WBE, and VBE certification program/process (this legislation was drafted by the GAC and sponsored by Senators Kirk Schuring and Vernon Sykes – it became law in June 2023). Senate Bill 166 is a direct response to what the statewide MBE community identified as a top barrier to growth during early conversations around Senate Bill 105, and so we’re very supportive of this legislation and encourage all our partners to express their support to legislators. 


Click here to review a letter of support provided by the ACAA to members of the Senate Financial Institutions and Technology Committee, which is where Senate Bill 166 resides. There will be plenty of time to weigh in on this legislation but right now, our goal is to motivate leaders of the Committee to begin substantive work on the bill and place it on an upcoming agenda. 

Key information related to the legislation: 

Canton AI Tech Innovation Summit

The Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce hosted its inaugural Canton AI Tech Innovation Summit earlier this month, where leaders and innovators explored the transformative potential of AI. With compelling keynotes, panel discussions, and demonstrations, leaders and innovators focused on AI’s ability to drive innovation, social progress, and economic growth in Northeast Ohio.

Lt. Governor Jon Husted was one of the keynote speakers, who discussed re-embracing AI and its impact on industry advancements and humanity overall. For more information about AI literacy and its integration into Ohio’s K-12 schools, click here

For more information, contact John Rizzo, Vice President, Akron-Canton Advocacy Alliance, at jrizzo@akroncantonadvocacy.org.