Kasich Calls For End Of “Mindless Partisanship”

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Ohio Gov. John Kasich (file)(Photo: ihrigmr (Flickr))
Ohio Gov. John Kasich (file)(Photo: ihrigmr (Flickr))

Governor John Kasich urged lawmakers to put aside mindless partisanship while touting the recovery of Ohio’s manufacturing industry in his annual State of the State address.  Kasich gave his annual address in the city of Steubenville because of its top-ranked elementary school Wells Academy.

Click the play button above to hear a full report from Ohio Public Radio’s Bill Cohen.

Bipartisan tone

The first-term Republican made his plea for legislators to put politics aside and focus on what’s good for Ohio.     Kasich’s fellow Republicans control the state Legislature. The GOP holds a 23-10 edge in the state Senate, and a 59-40 advantage in the House.     The governor told state lawmakers to look at the bitter battles happening in Washington. He asked: “Do we want to be like them?”     He said the country is losing faith in their elected officials.     He told lawmakers to “fight like crazy” but then be able to come together at the end of the day.

“Manufacturing is back”

The governor touted Ohio’s gains in manufacturing jobs, claiming Ohio only trails Michigan in the growth of factory jobs.  He pointed to several companies which have decided to expand in Ohio or return manufacturing from foreign countries.  Kasich claimed Ohio had the fastest job growth in the mid-west.

Kasich: State needs basic control of turnpike

Kasich also addressed the idea of privatization of the Ohio Turnpike. He said the state will never give up underlying control of the turnpike but that it would be wrong not to look at options that could earn the state millions.    He said it’s worth considering the idea of leasing the turnpike because of the opportunities for revenue for the state.

End bans on some jobs for freed felons

The governor told lawmakers it’s wrong that felons who have served their time aren’t able to work in certain professions.    Kasich said he’s pushing to reform Ohio law to allow felons to do jobs such as cutting hair and driving trucks that they’re not allowed to do now.    He and Republican lawmakers changed Ohio’s sentencing laws last year to keep more non-violent offenders out of prison, where they’re more likely to pick up bad habits that could lead to new crimes.     Kasich said the state also needs to crack down on human trafficking, calling it a scourge in the state.

Demonstrators disrupt speech

About 100 demonstrators gathered outside the school where Kasich gave his address, and some made it inside where they accused the governor of “selling out Ohio.”

Kasich’s address was the first State of the State held outside Columbus.

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