Kasich, Steubenville Ready For State Of The State Address

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Crews work to prepare a stage at Wells Academy in Steubenville, the site of today's State of the State Address.(Photo: Karen Kasler, Ohio Public Radio)
Crews work to prepare a stage at Wells Academy in Steubenville, the site of today's State of the State Address.(Photo: Karen Kasler, Ohio Public Radio)

For the first time in nearly a century, an Ohio Governor will give the State of the State Address outside of the Statehouse.

Republican Governor John Kasich will give the annual speech to a joint session of lawmakers at Wells Academy, a top-performing elementary school. Kasich says he’s excited about taking the State of the State speech to Steubenville.

“It’s so great to be able to give people a lift in a part of the state where they’ve been beaten down for generations. So I think it’s fantastic and worth every dime. And you know what: if this works, I’m not sure I’ll ever a State of the State from this building again.”

Governor Kasich is expected to use the backdrop of Wells Academy to talk about his educational policies. Kasich has urged schools to share resources, cut administrative costs and put more dollars straight into the classroom.

Wells Academy serves many low-income students, yet it can boast a 100 percent passage rate on state proficiency tests in reading and math. 70 percent performed at advanced proficiency levels.

Kasich calls Wells Academy the top performing school in Ohio, and he’s likely to talk about the elements that make it successful. Smaller class sizes, lots of parent support and lots of early childhood education programs are the norm at the Steubenville school.

Kasich is also expected to talk about how Ohio’s economy is starting to recover. Reporters won’t know exactly what the Governor will talk about because he does not release a copy of his speech before the event.

“We’ll start loading the teleprompter…,” Kasich joked. “Well, there will be no teleprompter, any prepared text, or anything else. We’re going to talk about what we’ve done and what we intend to do and there will be a couple of surprises in there.”

Ohio Democratic Party Chair Chris Redfern isn’t expecting anything new from Kasich’s speech.

“The fact of the matter is that Governor Kasich’s record over the past year has been woeful and pitiful. And he might try to escape to Steubenville and avoid the prying eyes of the statewide media and those who want to ask the questions.

“He may try to give you an extended speech with little in the way of nouns, adverbs, subjects and predicates but at the end of the day, we will ask the tough questions and demand the tough answers.”

Redfern is already criticizing Kasich for taking credit for manufacturing jobs that have been returning to Ohio in recent months. Redfern says those jobs are due to the financial recovery by the auto industry with federal funds that Republicans opposed.

Redfern says the successes Kasich is touting now are actually due to policies put in place by former Governor Ted Strickland.

Protestors from different corners of the state are expected to take buses to Steubenville to lend voices to the concerns expressed by Democrats.