Created on Monday, 19 August 2013 Written by REUBEN MEES
From trying to take away public employees’ rights to collectively bargain and reducing funding of local government and schools to the privatization of the state’s economic development funding, Gov. John Kasich has made some unpopular choices that could lead to a win for Democrats in 2014, Cuyahoga County Executive and announced gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald told local party members.
Ed FitzGerald, Cuyahoga County’s executive who has announced his candidacy for the governor’s race, speaks to Logan County Democrats at a Saturday evening picnic. (EXAMINER PHOTO | REUBEN MEES)
“In 2010, we only lost by 77,000 votes and that was before people knew what (Kasich) was going to do,” Mr. FitzGerald said at the Saturday evening picnic of the Logan County Democratic Party at the Legion pavilion in Bellefontaine.
He was joined by State Rep. John Patrick Carney, who is eyeing a run for the state auditor’s office.
At the top of the list of changes Mr. FitzGerald would like to make is to return money to local sources instead of building a stockpile in Columbus.
“Balancing the state budget at the expense of local government and cutting funds to local schools is just passing the buck down,” he said in an interview before his speech. “I think that money is better spent at the local level.”
Mr. FitzGerald also spoke out against Gov. Kasich’s JobsOhio program that created a private agency to handle state money in an effort to attract business. The way the money is being spent is highly secretive, and efforts by Rep. Auditor Dave Yost to audit the agency were shut down immediately, the candidate said.
Last week it was disclosed that companies that pay Gov. Kasich and at least six of the nine members of the board that oversees JobsOhio receive money from taxpayers.
“They took public money and magically put it into a private corporation and no one is allowed to know how it is being spent,” Mr. FitzGerald told the crowd. “Whenever you take public money and say it is a secret how it is spent, you are just looking for trouble.”
He then criticized the governor’s tax policies, which he said shift the burden to middle-class families.
“In a time when we have such a huge gap between the rich and poor, how could we ever make it better by taxing people who make the most less and the people who make the least are paying more,” he said.
Rep. Carney echoed the governor candidate’s platform in his own comments, which were focused on the “decrease in access to the American Dream.”
“We’re 47th in job creation and the Kasich administration says we’re doing great,” Mr. Carney said in an interview, noting that the majority of jobs created have been low-paying.
“I think the rhetoric out of the Kasich administration is unbelievable. And we predicted this. If we want to improve this, we need to give people the skills to get good jobs. That’s good public policy.
“My feeling is they are robbing us blind of our resources,” Mr. Carney said.
In his interview, Mr. FitzGerald indicated that he is in favor of marriage equality issues, but has not formed an opinion on medical marijuana, both of which could be hot button social issues as the 2014 campaign season and the four-year governor’s term unfold.