Lt. Gov. Husted opens SSU Appalachian symposium

By Tom Corrigan -

“I was asked speak about economic development and recovery,” said Ohio Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted as he took to the podium as the first key speaker during a three-day Shawnee State University symposium entitled “(Re)covering Appalachia.”

Husted first said he needed to put that overall discussion into context. The economy is, he said, a global economy even in Appalachian Ohio. Husted talked about a recent trip to London during which he was invited to ring the bell opening the London Stock Exchange. Husted said his trip resulted in bringing to Cleveland the U.S. headquarters of that stock exchange. He believes those connections could lead to significant development for the state down the line.

“The expertise of 46 different countries will be good for the state of Ohio … We’ve already seen some evidence that,” Husted added, presumably referring first to nations hooked into the English stock exchange.

Husted went on to say more to the point, bringing the stock exchange office to Ohio was a result of collaboration and should result in further collaboration on economic development in the future. In Husted’s view, collaboration and economic development must go hand-in-hand. Collaboration between various entities both public and private, was in fact, a big piece of Husted’s comments. But Husted first noted Ohio may face some challenges other states don’t.

“Here we are, we’re Ohio. We’ re not New York, we’ re not San Francisco. We’ re not a tech hub… We’re right in the middle of the country.” He added the central part of the U.S. has not seen the economic growth, particularly in the last 10 years, which has reached other parts of the country.

“Most of the jobs that have accrued since the Great Recession have reached 15 metro areas of the country,” the Lieutenant Governor said. “In the Midwest, we are an aging population, in some cases we are a shrinking population.”

However, Husted further contended Ohio has done some things better than some of its Midwest counterparts. Husted also argued different areas of the state have different economies: Cleveland’s economy is different from that of Columbus. Dayton is different from both. And Appalachian Ohio is an entity somewhat of its own.

Speaking to the Daily Times, after his speech, Husted stated he couldn’t point to any one thing Columbus has done specifically to help Appalachian Ohio. Instead, he pointed to various programs he and Governor Mike DeWine feel will help Ohio in general. Husted touched on a few of those during his speech.

For example, Husted mentioned helping businesses “up skill” their employees. He mentioned a program in Dayton which trains land surveyors to use drones to do their jobs. The use of drones for land surveying is pretty much standard these days, according to Husted.

This is the kind of thing that’s happening very quickly in the economy.”

He said the Dayton program is a good example of collaboration between educators, the community, business, nonprofits and so on. Husted continued on the topic of collaboration, saying all factions of a community must come together to create a place where investors want to invest, businesses want to stay, and people want to live.

“Nobody wants crime, nobody wants to live where there is crime.”

“It’s about people of goodwill coming together to look out for the community and not for themselves… Those who collaborate win, those who don’t, don’t.”

Husted’s comments were followed by a short panel discussion of various community leaders including people such as Friends of Portsmouth President Tim Wolfe. The symposium continued Oct. 31 in a somewhat social way with a music program at Wolfe’s Patties and Pints restaurant, hosted by the Boneyfiddle Project. On Friday, Nov. 1 David Bradley, executive director of the National Community Action Foundation, will conduct a workshop on the history of the War on Poverty.

Bradley is one of the nation’s premier authorities on poverty and the author of the community service block grant legislation passed by Congress in 1982. The symposium’s keynote speaker is Elizabeth Catte, author of “What You Are Getting Wrong about Appalachia.” Catte gives her address 2:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 2. Most events are free and open to the public. For a full listing of symposium sessions visit

The Daily Times will continue to provide coverage of portions of the symposium as it moves forward.

By Tom Corrigan

Reach Tom Corrigan at (740) 370-0715. © 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.

Reach Tom Corrigan at (740) 370-0715. © 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.