COLUMBUS, Ohio: Ohio GOP candidate for Governor John Kasich will have a chance on Nov. 4 to tell a special gathering of statehouse insiders about his vision for the future of Ohio.
The event, which will be held at the Columbus Athletic Club but is not a fundraiser and for which no contribution is being requested for attending, was announced in a letter dated Columbus Day to registered legislative and executive agency agents and signed jointly by Bill Harris, President of the Republican-controlled Ohio Senate, William G. Batchelder, House GOP leader, and Kevin DeWine, chairman of the Ohio GOP.
Leading in with the sad state of the state today, the trio said "Ohio is facing the most significant challenges of a generation...record unemployment, a business climate that thwarts economic growth and income growth that is among the slowest in the country." In short, the troika of GOP officials said "Ohio isn't competitive, especially with our neighbors."
Expressing their strong, partisan belief that Kasich should be Ohio's next leader, they said this about the man who flirted with a run for the White House in 199 but who then quickly withdrew: "John's monumental accomplishments in Washington balancing the first federal budget since man walked on the moon, testify to his ability to work within the system to bring about meaningful and necessary reform."
Explaining why Kasich understands what makes enterprising companies successful, the letter, paid for by Kasich for Ohio, said the nine-term House candidate who made his bones in Washington as a deficit hawk and advocate for balanced budgets, said he has "worked for the past eight years with entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley to the Research Triangle to bring capital and investments to companies to realize their potential."
Kasich, who appeared in a live webcast this week from Columbus with former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee to speak about what he would do if elected governor in the General Election of 2010, is being touted by his supporters as some with "bold new thinking, powerful initiatives and restructured policies to protect the jobs" Ohio has lost during the first-term Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland, who inherited a state already on the descendant and who promised to turn it around but who hasn't been able to do that.
The letter said Kasich will "convince new businesses to locate in Ohio, and give incentives that encourage risk-taking and investment.
Separately, a report posted Thursday at the political Web site Politico, details how Kasich has used funding from his run for president to pay several campaign workers through the creation of a non-profit that one Ohio citizen watchdog said was odd but not illegal.
Despite the enthusiasm being pumped up by the GOP and its supporters for Kasich bid to defeat Strickland next year, one GOP statehouse insider expressed concern that the effervescent and animated candidate would be able to raise the $15 million or so he will need to defeat Strickland, who despite fumbling the ball on several important issues, will nonetheless have a big war chest of campaign contributions to keep Kasich, now working as an adviser to a large Columbus-based retailer, out of the Governor's Mansion.
In what Kasich will likely point to as what's wrong with Ohio, the Ohio AFL-CIO, the state's largest union, endorsed Strickland for governor in 2010. In a statement released Thursday, union president Joseph P. Rugola said, "He has been forced to make very difficult choices. Yet he has never wavered from his commitment to improve the lives of Ohioans. We are committed to Ted, his values and his vision for our state, and we want to see him back in the governor’s office for another term so he can complete his mission."