Ohio Gov. John Kasich said the state “will do everything that we can” to help city of Columbus land the Amazon headquarters project.
“It’s great that Columbus is in the mix. I mean, some people have described it as a surprise. I don’t. Before we get to the end of this year, we’ll have over 10,000 Amazon employees and just a few years ago we had zero Amazon employees,” he said Thursday. “So we have a good reputation with Amazon and we’ll see.”
State incentives such as grants and tax breaks would be based on what sort of return on investment those would bring, the governor said.
Amazon announced last week that Columbus and 19 other cities made the first cut to be considered for its second headquarters, which will bring 50,000 jobs and a $5 billion investment.
Amazon already has a major presence in Ohio. Amazon has launched operations at two different fulfillment centers — in Etna and Obet. Amazon also has Prime Now sites in Columbus and Valley View.
Kasich said Ohio’s success in landing Amazon and other tech company projects is in part because he travels the country, and the world, to connect with business leaders.
“We are in constant communication with all the tech companies,” he said. “This is kind of a new day and I think frankly the rest of the country in some parts of the world are beginning to discover that there is a Midwest and in the Midwest it’s not dominated by cows walking the streets. We have real capabilities here. I kind of look at it as ‘first mover’ — which is those who can capitalize on the Midwest are going to do best.”
The governor said he personally knows Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
”I know Jeff Bezos but putting in calls to Jeff Bezos, I think, is not going to be very effective. We just have to put our best foot forward and we’ll see.”
Much of Ohio’s economic development efforts is kept confidential. Kasich’s economic development non-profit, JobsOhio, is not subject to Ohio’s public records law.
One of the new organization’s biggest wins was wooing Fuyao Glass America Inc. to the Dayton area.