Gov. John Kasich pushes values in last State of the State speech


In his eighth and final state of the state address, Ohio Gov. John Kasich delivered an introspective sermon on God, faith and values such as humility, love, compassion and the responsibility to “live a life that is a little bigger than ourselves.”

“We have an opportunity to let these values I’ve spoke of come alive in all of us. It can guide our work and our lives,” Kasich said in a 55-minute address on the campus of Otterbein University in Westerville.

He celebrated whistle blowers, teachers, fallen officers, first responders and everyday heroes.

“We don’t have to go and win gold medals. We can do little things that matter,” he said. He also praised those who helped save school children and concert goers during the terror and chaos of shootings in Las Vegas, Parkland, Florida and at Chardon High School in northern, Ohio.

Related: Kasich pushes major changes to Ohio gun laws

In the speech, Kasich announced two new projects: a new $112-million mental health facility on the grounds of the Twin Valley Behavioral Healthcare in Columbus and the creation of the Jesse Owens State Park and Wildlife Area in eastern Ohio.

Related: Kasich to give his last State of the State speech. How is Ohio doing?

In his eighth and final state of the state address, Ohio Gov. John Kasich delivered an introspective sermon on God, faith and values such as humility, love, compassion and the responsibility to “live a life that is a little bigger than ourselves.”

“We have an opportunity to let these values I’ve spoke of come alive in all of us. It can guide our work and our lives,” Kasich said in a 55-minute address on the campus of Otterbein University in Westerville.

He celebrated whistle blowers, teachers, fallen officers, first responders and everyday heroes.

“We don’t have to go and win gold medals. We can do little things that matter,” he said. He also praised those who helped save school children and concert goers during the terror and chaos of shootings in Las Vegas, Parkland, Florida and at Chardon High School in northern, Ohio.

Related: Kasich pushes major changes to Ohio gun laws

In the speech, Kasich announced two new projects: a new $112-million mental health facility on the grounds of the Twin Valley Behavioral Healthcare in Columbus and the creation of the Jesse Owens State Park and Wildlife Area in eastern Ohio.

Related: Kasich to give his last State of the State speech. How is Ohio doing?

“I found the speech to be largely aspirational. What he wants for Ohio, but not so much in terms of statistics or milestones, but in the values and character we have as a state,” said state Sen. Bill Beagle, R-Tipp City. “It was a largely personal speech that didn’t just acknowledge his successes, but all the work left to do.”

State Rep. Kyle Koehler, R-Springfield, said he appreciated Kasich’s focus on values. “I hope those same values will cause Gov. Kasich to push for payday lending reform in Ohio. We cannot afford to allow hurting families to be taken advantage of because 650 unlicensed payday lending storefronts operate without a single regulation,” said Koehler, who is sponsoring a bill to place limits on payday lending practices.

State Rep. Emilia Sykes, D-Akron, blasted Kasich administration for failing to address college affordability, infant mortality, the decline of the middle class, drug overdoses, and steep budget cuts to local governments. “We are slipping, we are falling behind,” she said.

After falling short in the 2016 GOP presidential primary, Kasich, an outspoken critic of Donald Trump, won’t rule out another run in 2020. For the past two years, he has traveled the nation, appeared regularly on political talk shows and shifted his message as a common-sense moderate.

His record as governor, though, shows he is a conservative with moderate streaks.

He has signed every gun rights expansion bill and almost every abortion bill that crossed his desk. In 2011, he signed into law a measure to gut collective bargaining rights to more than 700,000 public employees — a measure voters soundly rejected that year. Kasich has pushed through more than $5 billion in tax cuts, revamped school grading systems and mandated that all third graders pass reading tests, privatized state prisons and prison cafeteria workers, and outsourced the state’s economic development efforts to a private non-profit.

“In this job, I’ve just done everything I can do. I’ve done my best.We have to run through the tape. Make no mistake about it, we’re not quitting until we turn off the lights because we have so many things to do,” Kasich said.

Republican Mary Taylor, Kasich’s lieutenant governor for the past seven years, responded the speech on Twitter with just four characters: “Huh.”

Related: Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor says she hasn’t spoken to governor in a year

 



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