Created on Saturday, 09 August 2014 Written by NATE SMITH
Ohio has come a long way in the four years since Gov. John Kasich was elected, he told about 100 local constituents Friday, but there remains plenty of work to do in a second term.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich speaks to Logan County Republicans during a campaign stop in Bellefontaine on Friday morning. EXAMINER PHOTO | JOEL E. MAST)
The governor made his pitch for re-election Friday during a campaign stop at the historic Canby Building, 144 S. Main St.
The governor will be opposed by Democratic candidate Ed FitzGerald in the Nov. 4 General Election.
Mr. Kasich’s appeal includes a budget surplus, growth in excess of 260,000 jobs since he assumed office and development in industries such as information technology, energy and financial services, he told local supporters.
“We’ve only scratched the surface of what Ohio can be,” Mr. Kasich said.
The state boasts a capable workforce, but a greater emphasis needs to be placed on education and job readiness, he said.
The governor cited a 65 percent graduation rate in Cincinnati Public Schools as an example of the need for education reform.
“There’s a disconnect between the number of available jobs and the number of people qualified to fill them,” the governor said. “When you consider the diversity of our workforce and how many people are still unemployed, there’s potential for growth.”
The governor called the goal of a trained and educated workforce a, “moral purpose,” adding it’s the, “most important mission we have.”
Mr. Kasich spoke of the need for accountability in the welfare system, and the need for job training for people on public assistance.
“We need to say to people on welfare, ‘We’re going to hold you accountable, but we’re going to train you until you’re back on your feet,’” he said.
Mr. Kasich’s visit to the Canby Building was the first in a series of campaign stops slated for this weekend. Friday, he was to address supporters in Lima, Bowling Green and Bryan; with stops today scheduled in Port Clinton, Tiffin, Marion and Delaware.
When he assumed office, Ohio had amassed an $8 billion deficit. Today, the state budget is $1.5 billion “in the black,” “Mr. Kasich said.
In addition, the $3 billion in tax cuts offered by the state are among the highest in the country, the governor said.
He said he wants education and social services reform to be priorities in a second term and told supporters Ohio has set aside $10 million to be used for matching grants to local churches and not-for-profit community groups that work to provide mentors or other guidance activities in the public schools.
The governor called it a “three-to-one” grant and said it’s part of a larger effort to improve graduation rates and help positively influence today’s youth.
“We need to lower the barrier for businesses and community groups to get in the schools,” Mr. Kasich said.
A recent poll released from Quinnipiac University on July 30 showed Mr. Kasich leading his challenger, Cuyahoga County Executive Mr. FitzGerald 48 to 36 percent.