LIMA — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Richard Cordray visited Lima Thursday afternoon to speak about what he calls kitchen-table issues — education, health care and opportunity.
During his 30-minute speech to the Allen County Democratic Party Women’s Club., Cordray touted his past experiences as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Ohio’s Attorney General and answered questions from the audience asking for clarification on his goals if he were to be elected governor.
One issue that kept coming up before the group was economic development and fair access to opportunity.
“I get agitated sometimes thinking about how our state does economic development. It’s all about trying to bring things in from out of the state. I’m fine with that. But we got a lot of good things going on in the state. A lot of small business would be happy to grow if they just got the support they needed at the right time in the right way,” Cordray said.
Cordray said there’s a concentration of wealth in the larger cities in Ohio, and mid-sized cities like Zanesville, Chillicothe and Lima haven’t seen the same sort of growth as higher population areas. To bring that wealth back, Cordray said he would work to bring back young talent into places like Lima and make it easier for small businesses in rural areas to grow by giving them better access to capital. He would also raise the minimum wage, which would create more demand in the economy, he said.
This economic struggle between mid-sized and large cities was also reflected by some of the problems local government is experiencing with the state over issues of home rule, he said. A recent bill passed by the state of Ohio, which is being contested by Ohio municipalities, changes how local tax is collected and would charge a handling fee onto local governments.
Cordray also harped against privatization of public services and the private charter school system in Ohio. He gave ECOT’s failure as an example, which received $100 million annually in state tax dollars until its closure earlier this year.
“I think public services should be publicly run, publicly operated, publicly accountable,” he said.
“It’s a big project to win back the state of Ohio, but we intend on doing that this year,” Cordray said. “Everybody recognizes the book is closing. The chapter is finished. (It’s) time to pass the torch. It’s time for us to start talking about what we’re going to do for the future of this state.”
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.