LIMA — Standing in a hot trucking company warehouse where blue-collar workers help the company thrive, Ohio Gov. John Kasich told 250 people the state is back on the right path.
Most of the 350,000 people who lost private sector jobs four years ago are working and the $8 billion deficit has been erased, replaced with a $1.5 billion surplus, Kasich said.
“We didn’t need to raises taxes to do it,” Kasich said.
Instead, Kasich and Ohio Republicans created a business-friendly environment in Ohio that is conducive for job growth, he said.
People no longer have to return home to their families and say they lost their jobs, he said.
“Work is beyond what money you earn. It’s really a sense of dignity,” Kasich said.
Kasich, who is known for speaking his mind, spoke during a campaign rally Friday at Wannemacher Total Logistics on Hanthorn Road.
The Republican said the 10 years he spent in the private sector after leaving Congress taught him some valuable lessons. He not only used those lessons to get elected last time but to turn the state around, he said.
“I don’t know if most people believed in what I said. I think they thought it was just the rhetoric of another person running for office,” he said.
He said there was no magic in turning the state around, setting up an environment for small businesses which he called the economic engine of growth.
“People make this out to be very complicated. It’s all really very simple,” he said.
The state has put $2.5 billion toward road construction to improve on one of the state’s most valuable infrastructures. Although that means a lot of construction and orange barrels, he urged people to be patient when hitting the highways.
He said the state is investing in its bread-and-butter businesses — agriculture and manufacturing — but also is looking ahead to developing energy to lead the way toward energy independence.
He promised to continue the push for vocational training as early as seventh grade and to put more money into the schools to help students get a better education and be more prepared for college and the workforce.
Kasich said mental illness and drugs, especially heroin, is a serious concern in Ohio, as it is across the country. But Ohio is putting money toward programs that deal with those problems.
“We now have the resources to begin to help those people get the treatment and to lead a normal life,” he said.
But Kasich said it was the people, not the government, who need to keep change happening and to take back their communities. He said people should never wait for government to solve the problems.
People need to go to schools to serve as mentors and be positive role models for struggling students, where a little encouragement and help can go a long way, he said.
“We can rejuvenate America,” he said. “How about joining me? We’ll work together. We’ll get it done. We will build a stronger Ohio and a stronger America. It’s more than a political campaign. It’s a movement.”