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Ohio House bill would make Feb. 26 'Dr. Amy Acton Day'

A new bill introduced in the Ohio House would make Feb. 26 'Dr. Amy Acton Day' in the state of Ohio.

Dr. Amy Acton may no longer be serving as the director of the Ohio Department of Health.

But that hasn't stopped some in the state from attempting to honor her contributions to Ohio's fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19).

On Monday, Democratic representatives Kent Smith (Euclid) and Mary Lightbody (Westerville) introduced House Bill 174, which would make Feb. 26 "Dr. Amy Acton Day" in Ohio. The bill is co-sponsored by representatives Erica C. Crawley, Tavia Galonski, Michael J. O'Brien, Michael Sheehy and Lisa Sobecki.

Feb. 26 marks the day that Acton was hired by Governor Mike DeWine as the Ohio Department of Health Director in 2019.

One year later, the Youngstown native would become a household name in the Buckeye State as she became one of the faces of Ohio's response to the coronavirus pandemic. Acton received praise both locally and nationally for her calm demeanor and measured approach, with a New York Times video column calling her "the leader we wish we all had."

But while Acton was lauded by many, she also faced criticism from those who believed the state's response to the coronavirus, which included a stay-at-home order that lasted throughout April, was too severe. In May, the Ohio House of Representatives passed legislation that would curb Acton's ability to issue orders longer than 14 days (the bill failed to pass in the state senate), while some protesters demonstrated outside of her personal residence.

On June 11, Acton resigned from her role, although she has since remained an advisor on the coronavirus to Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, who said last week that he still speaks with Acton on a daily basis. Asked why she chose to resign, Acton said she couldn't do justice to what had become performing three jobs at once during the state's continued coronavirus response.

Bexley, Ohio, where Acton resides, named her its Citizen of the Year during a Fourth of July celebration earlier this month.

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