PDT Staff Writer
Democratic candidate for governor Ed FitzGerald addressed a group Saturday at a Holiday Inn conference room. At the beginning of the gathering, FitzGerald said one of the goals of his campaign was to visit every Ohio county.
“We wanted to get 88 counties done in 2013, and we did it, so we are working hard,” FitzGerald said.
FitzGerald did not delay highlighting what he believes were errors made by Governor John Kasich’s time as Governor for the last three years.
“John Kasich has run the state of Ohio for the last three years for the benefit of a very small group. That is what it all comes down to. You can talk about almost any issue, and what most always ends up being the problem is that the state right now is being run for the benefit of a very small group of people,” FitzGerald said.
According to FitzGerald, the heart of Kasich’s 2010 campaign was job losses in Ohio.
“The only thing he talked about, almost without exception, was that Ohio had lost a lot of jobs, 400,000 or so jobs,” FitzGerald said. “That was what the whole campaign was about, it didn’t matter what the question was, that was going to be the answer.”
FitzGerald pointed out that Kasich received less than 50 percent when he was elected in 2010.
“If you go back to 2010 when John Kasich got elected, which was only by 77,000 votes in a state of 11 million people, he got less than 50 percent of the vote. He got 49.2 percent of the vote, and Ted Strickland got 47. 2 percent of the vote.”
FitzGerald said Kasich’s administration has not been able to suitably increase jobs in Ohio.
“Now, what’s happened in the last three years is, there has been very little job creation, our unemployment rate is higher than the national average. Depending upon the survey, we are either 44th or 47th in the country in terms of adding new jobs.”
FitzGerald focused on the importance of transparency to public funds.
“The bottom line folks, is that if it is public money, it should be the public’s business, period,” FitzGerald said.
FitzGerald posed a question to the audience in regard to the economy of the state of Ohio.
“Raise your hand, anybody, if you believe the economy in Ohio is a miracle.”
No hand was raised in response to FitzGerald’s question.
“Now I have been to every county in the state of Ohio, and I have not had one person raise their hand, but when John Kasich has talked about the Ohio economy he says its a miracle how great the economy is doing. Things have gotten better for some people in Ohio, but for most people it hasn’t, and statistics tell the story.”
FitzGerald asked the group to talk with their friends and family about the issues discussed during his visit.
“We need to start having these conversations with our friends, and our family members, ‘Do you feel like you are part of this inside group that is doing very, very well, or do you feel like most people in Ohio that’s struggling and a Governor that just does not get it?’”
After addressing the group, FitzGerald held a question and answer session.
Concern came in regard to Governor Kasich’s Jobs Ohio Program, and the little impact that it has had upon the southern part of Ohio.
FitzGerald reiterated his belief in be transparent about spending the public’s money, and the need to focus more on small, local businesses as opposed to investing completely in the corporations.
He said companies should not be given assistance just for saying they will remain in an area. FitzGerald said companies should be rewarded upon their agreement to hire people and to pay them a living wage.
“I really appreciate each of you coming out on a Saturday afternoon and spending some time with me,” he said.
FitzGerald closed by encouraging the group to help make his campaign a local election.
“That is why I have been in all 88 counties, so that when I come back to Portsmouth, and Ironton and all of the places down here, in 2014, we are going to be asking the local people to stand with us and talk about local issues and the way it has effected this community,” he said.
Portia Williams may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 286 or email@example.com. For breaking news, follow Portia on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.