In his first Dayton campaign appearance with his new running mate on Thursday Democrat Ed FitzGerald said Ohio Gov. John Kasich runs a state government that helps a few insiders while hurting cities, schools and the average working person.
“If you happen to be in the inside of the group with Gov. Kasich, if you happen to be one of his friends, or one of his contributors, these are very good years for you.” said Cuyahoga County Executive FitzGerald, who is running for governor.
FitzGerald sp0ke at Lily’s Bistro in the Oregon District, part of a two-day swing through the state with Senate Minority Leader Eric Kearney, D-Cincinnati, who is running for lieutenant governor.
Ohio Republican Party spokesman Chris Schrimpf said Kasich has overseen an economic recovery and that schools and local governments benefit as the recovery boosts their revenues.
“I think the Ohio he portrays sounds a lot more like Ted Strickland’s Ohio than the comeback we’ve seen under John Kasich,” Schrimpf said, adding that Cuyahoga County’s bond rating declined under FitzGerald.
Standard and Poor’s Rating service in October lowered that county’s rating to AA from AA+, citing concerns over the weak economy and population declines, but giving the county high marks for financial administration, according to a report by the service.
In Dayton on Thursday, FitzGerald said Kearney will bring a small business “point of view” that will help a FitzGerald administration bring jobs back. He said Kearney can work across the political aisle if Republicans continue to dominate the Statehouse.
Kearney is an attorney and founder of Sesh Communications, one of the country’s largest African-American publishing companies. He said the Dayton area - with Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Wright State University and its educational and technical expertise is an “economic driver” for the whole state.
FitzGerald said Kasich has overseen an increase in the state sales tax, cuts in funding for schools and cities, and one of the lowest job creation rates in the state. The ripple effect on communities is the loss of public safety officers and the need to ask for more local tax levies, FitzGerald said.
He also cited new findings regarding spending and ethics in a state audit of the private JobsOhio economic development office created under Kasich and denounced a lack of transparency even though its funding is through bonds guaranteed by state liquor profits.
After State Auditor David Yost subpoenaed JobsOhio records to do the audit the Ohio Legislature voted to prohibit future state audits. As a former special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, FitzGerald said “when I was an agent, they would call that a clue.”
“And that’s not a Democratic issue or a Republican issue. That’s just a good government issues,” he said “Government should be open, accountable and transparent whenever possible.”
About 70 activists from Montgomery, Greene and Miami counties attended the Dayton event. The choice of a southwest Ohio legislator and a black man is a good one, said Montgomery County Recorder Willis Blackshear.
“It’s a good ticket balance,” Blackshear said. “He recognizes how important this area is. It’ s not just the Cleveland area. You need more than that to win.”
Centerville resident Rob Pinchot, 40, said he admires FitzGerald for being willing to challenge Kasich and he thinks Kearney is a good choice.
“Get someone one from southwest Ohio. Both corners covered,” Pinchot said.
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