Last updated: August 25. 2013 3:21AM - 118 Views

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CELINA — Gov. John Kasich is pleased with the progress Ohio has made in the 17 months since he took office, but he's not finished yet, he told an audience of Mercer County Republicans on Monday evening at the Grand Lake Galleria Conference Center in Celina.“We have a balanced budget. We've got, I don't know, a quarter of a billion dollars in our surplus; a few odds and ends we may have to spend some money on, but we're not going to go back to tax-and-spend. That's not going to happen,” he said Kasich, the guest of honor at the Mercer County Republican Party's Reagan Day Celebration, said he wants to continue efforts to lower taxes and streamline regulations.“Now, if you want to shortcut, and you don't want to do things the right way, if you want go out and drill for oil and pollute the environment, we're not going to stand for that,” he said. “But we cannot be hassling ourselves and stopping the creation of jobs or the expansion of companies in the state of Ohio.”The bottom line is that conservative governing principles are working in Ohio, Kasich said.“Our credit rating has gone up while the nation's has gone down. We've got this extra money — when I started, we had 89 cents in the rainy day fund, and now it's about $240 million. The budget is balanced, taxes have been cut,” he said.“So what is it I worry about? Well, I worry about special interest groups getting too cozy with legislators. I worry about the fact that once you get success people want to spend,” he added.“And I'll tell you the other thing we need: We need a new president,” Kasich continued, drawing the night's loudest applause from his audience of about 200.The governor said presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney was a businessman with experience in making decisions that create jobs and save businesses from going under. By contrast, President Barack Obama and his team “are so far from understanding risk, investment, taxation, they just don't get that,” he said. “It's like they wake up on Monday and try to figure out how they're going to run an economy. Can you imagine getting on a supertanker and saying, well, I don't know where we're going to go. Let's just try to get on there Monday and we'll think about it. That's not any way to run an economy.”Companies are paralyzed over the potential rising costs of health care and prospect of new taxes under Obama, Kasich said, adding his endorsement of Romney isn't personal or partisan.“I'm sick of all the partisanship, and all the yelling and screaming and all the personal attacks. I don't have time for that,” he said. “I can fight all day long on principle and policy, I don't fight on the basis of personality. If you can't win on the record, go home.”Kasich said America needs to focus on improvements in three areas:•A much better education system. “America's falling behind,” he said. “No more excuses. Help the kids that fall behind. Help the teachers to be more successful.”•Modernize entitlement programs. “We are convinced in Ohio that we can get better health care at lower prices,” he said. “If we let Mom and Dad stay in their own homes, we're getting better care at lower prices, we can do that.”•Restore the great Judeo-Christian tradition. “This whole thing about the greatest generation: You read these stories about D-Day, about these great battles that took place,” Kasich said. “You know what the key was? People that went to war were thinking about somebody else. They weren't just thinking about themselves. We need a lot more of that in America. Life is not just about me.”Kasich said a love-thy-neighbor message from a governor might seem a little out of place.“Maybe I am giving a little bit of a sermon,” he said. “But if we can think about the greater good, no matter what we're in, whether we're in lending, whether we're in politics, whether we're in medicine, it doesn't matter what it is. If we can do a little better job of thinking about others, this country would be so much better, this state would be so much better. And I think we're on the way.”Kasich was introduced by state Sen. Keith Faber, R-Celina, who pointed out Ohio has improved dramatically in jobs creation.“Before the governor took office in January of last year, the state had just ended its fourth year of losing over 100,000 jobs a year,” Faber said. “In the 10 years before that, we lost over 600,000 jobs. Ohio was rated roughly 48th in the country in job creation.”Fast-forward to today, and Ohio is rated No. 4 or 5 nationally for job creation, Faber said. It rated No. 1 in the month of February and clearly the No. 1 job-creating state in the Midwest.“Governor, that has been a mission that you have single-handedly focused this state on” Faber said. “It has been an honor to work with you on an agenda that has focused on job creation and job growth.”

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