Chris Balusik | Reporter
CHILLICOTHE – Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike DeWine says that if he and lieutenant governor candidate Jon Husted win the November election and take office Jan. 14, their goals should be clear.
During a roughly 20-minute presentation for members of the Ross County Republican Party Friday at Triple Crown Sports, both members of the GOP ticket facing Democratic opposition from Richard Cordray and Betty Sutton laid out several of those goals. Those getting the most attention included providing more paths to economic opportunity, the war on drugs and creating favorable conditions for attracting business to the state.
Speaking to concerns about the skills gap and the number of available jobs across the state for which qualified candidates cannot be found, Husted said the ticket will address welfare reform that will help move people from welfare rolls to employment rolls.
“We’re going to make sure you have access to things like child care and health care, but you know what? In return for that, you’re going to go to work,” Husted said. “… When you come from a place where you don’t have those opportunities, we’ve got to help create them for you. We’ve got to get you going, we’ve got to get you in the job, we’ve got to get you those skills, we’ve got to teach you how to climb that ladder, climb that mountain, so you can be a good example for your children and you can live your version of the American dream, and we’re going to make sure that happens in Ohio. We’re going to give people hope.”
Part of that hope involves ensuring that businesses are locating in the state, something that speakers at a State of the Region conference held in May at Ohio University concluded has been particularly difficult in Appalachian counties due to a scarcity of shovel-ready development sites that have all needed infrastructure in place.
DeWine told the Gazette that attention first has to be paid to cleaning up so-called Brownfield sites, which are former industrial sites that cannot be redeveloped without addressing hazardous material or other contaminant concerns.
“So I think one of the things we want to do is look at this strategically and focus on some of those areas,” DeWine said. “Even if there’s no business that’s looking yet, some of these need to be cleaned up because when business looks, they want to move quickly, they can’t wait two or three years for it to be cleaned up.”
“We have a plan to create an incentive in Ohio’s most economically distressed areas, whether that’s Appalachia or our inner cities, to attract billions in private sector investment to our state,” Husted added. “Right now, there’s a trillion dollars in unrealized capital gains that are out there in the world and we’re going to create incentives to attract that money to our most economically distressed areas.”
Details of that plan, DeWine said, would be rolled out a bit later in the campaign.
DeWine also told the Gazette that his administration would work with elected officials at the local level to address recent reductions in local government funds, or funds allocated by the state to local government entities to help provide basic services.
“What happens at the local level is exceedingly important,” DeWine said, mentioning the fact he started his career at a county prosecutor’s level. “One of the areas we’re going to dramatically increase funding is for children’s services. Ohio is 50th out of 50 states in the union in what the state is providing for foster care, and that has to change. About half of our county do not have a local levy, and those that don’t have a local levy, it’s very difficult for them to provide the services that are really needed.
“The drug epidemic is driving a significant increase in the number of kids in foster care — some counties are having to send kids out of county and some counties are actually sending them out of state. So that’s an area that needs to be significantly increased.”
During their remarks at the event, the pair also discussed the strength of their partnership on the ticket, their accomplishments over their careers in public service, a greater focus on early childhood development and ensuring students are on educational pathways for success and a 12-point drug action plan that includes a greater emphasis on education and prevention, an expansion of treatment options and a ramping up of task force activities that result in drug and cash seizures and arrests.
Read the full article on the Chillicothe Gazette’s website here.