Ohio State of the State Address 2012
STEUBENVILLE, Ohio — Feb. 7 — Following is a transcript of Gov. John Kasich’s (R) 2012 state of the state address:
Well, thank you, Mr. President, and Mr. Speaker. Thank you members of the
General Assembly, my partners in moving Ohio forward. How about that cabinet?
Thanks for coming over here today folks, and you know I love you for what you’re doing, making Ohio
a stronger and better place. The students and teachers at the Wells Academy, they’re just fantastic,
huh? They are just the best.
But they’re a reflection of the people of Steubenville and I have to tell you no one could have ever
received a better reception than I did coming into this great town. I love the people of Steubenville.
We’ll be back many times because we’re going to make this town great. And your children at Wells
Academy are a reflection of your excellence and I want to thank you for the generous reception that
you gave me. And I also want to give a nice comment about my wife, Karen Kasich. Sweetie, stand,
take a little wave, would you, okay?
I remember that cartoon that said, “Kasich will still not reveal how he snagged that hot wife.”
You know, I hope we all appreciate our spouses. They never get the glory. They never get the light.
They’re the ones that are, you know, raising the kids, taking care of the home front. I think about Bob
Sprague, who is with us today-five children. You know, think about his wife letting him do this. It’s
unbelievable. So, let’s remember our spouses, because without them, we can’t do any of what we
You know, as a governor, I promised that I was going to travel, like, all over the place and, you know,
I hope you realize that I’ve kept my word. I’ve visited many of your towns many times. And in case
you wonder about my travel schedule, you can read all about it in the newspapers about the number
of times I use the-I use the state airplane. I mean, you can nail this down pretty well. And let me-
I’ve got news for you, I’m going to continue to use it and I’m going to continue to travel. I’m going to
come to where you are.
A lot of speculating, or some people are speculating, why would he come to Steubenville? First of all,
I want to let you know I knew a year ago I wasn’t going to be in Columbus for this. I wanted to travel.
I wanted to get out. I wanted to see the folks. That’s what it’s all about. You don’t stay far away from
them. You want to touch them.
Why did I come here? It’s not very complicated. I’m sort of a common sense, straightforward guy
about things. I came for two reasons, one is Wells Academy. I came to Wells because they’ve set a
standard for the entire, rest of the state. I mean, they’re the number one school-performing school
in Ohio. And if you were to guess where would that number one school be located, you may not get
to Steubenville. But yet, here it is. And let me tell you a little bit about what they do, because it’s so
important to understand the culture.
First and foremost, the teachers and the administrators have adopted a principle. I’ve seen it at the
Frederick Douglas Academy in the middle of Harlem. I have seen it in other fine charter schools
around the state, in some of our public schools. You know what it gets down to, in the teachers’
minds and the administrators’ minds, nothing stands in the way of kids being great. Not poverty, not
broken homes. I mean, these obstacles, we want our parents to be involved, but the teachers here
have a deep commitment to the child’s future and they’ll do everything they can to move it forward.
So, one thing we have to do is ask all of our people in public education, including our parents, give
these children a chance to realize their God-given destiny, and that is exactly what is happening here.
It’s important to note that 60 percent of the children in this school are economically disadvantaged.
That’s 15 percent above the statewide average, and yet, they’re number one, and they’re number one
because of that commitment. You know, they don’t spend a lot of money on administrators and
overhead and buildings. In fact, this building they share with the high school. You may have heard
about the high school here. They’re the home of the football powerhouse, the Big Red. Ever heard of
Wells. Wells spends its money where it really needs to go and it’s something we can all learn from. It
directs its money to the classroom and the teachers work together like doctors do in an operating
room. They use data to look at the struggles and the problems that children have and as a group,
they fix it. It is very data driven. They know what works, then they apply it. They stick to it and
they’re able to lift these kids. The administrators are right there with the teachers. I’ve always
thought administrators need to teach in the classroom. Well, here they’re there all the time. I had a
chance today to spend a little bit of time with the superintendent and the principal and they get it and
they fight to give the teachers the resources they need to get the job done.
And, you know, here is the thing, at the end of the day, the students are doing so well it creates
success. The one thing I’ve learned in life is when you have success it builds momentum for more
success. And they have also successfully implemented an early childhood education program. It’s
something my wife has believed in. The whole time that we’ve been married, she talked to me about
You know, we got good news. Ohio just received a million grant. We were the fifth-best in the
country and we’re going to be able to use that money and apply it to early education, making it work
and making it better across the State of Ohio for the good of our children, and it’s fantastic news.
Secondly, I came to Steubenville, because it’s where I grew up. Oh, I didn’t grow up in Steubenville,
but when you come from an ethnic town along the river, you’re all family. Well, you may not know
each other, you may not be related, but you’re all family.
You know, some of you know my story. I’m privileged today to have my Uncle George here. Uncle
George was one of eight kids. Uncle George, I so love Uncle George. His father was a coal miner.
He died of complications from black lung. Uncle George came from a family of eight, eight children.
Uncle George graduated from high school. My dad, who carried mail on his back for 29 years,
graduated from high school and the two sisters graduated from high school. The other four boys
never got it done, never graduated from high school. But it didn’t make them anything less than
great, you know, because my Uncle Steve ended up fighting in Iwo Jima, becoming a war hero who
we honored until the day that he was put in the ground. Uncle George went on to college, became a
guidance counselor. And he was a guidance counselor, think about this, for 37 years.
How the Lord works and how families work, and, you know, the bottom line is when you talk about
Steubenville and you talk about the ethnics and you talk about people who have common sense and
you talk about people who are God-fearing, and you think about people who can get knocked down
and they never get knocked out, I mean, that was McKees Rocks. That’s where I come from, and
that’s why I came here.
You know, even this morning it became very emotional for me thinking about the fact that the Lord
gave me the chance to come here and stand up here, not Johnny Kasich, but just another kid from an
ethnic blue collar, hard-working town: people who play by the rules and get a chance to do something
to lift people and it’s why I came to Steubenville.
And the excitement that we’ve all felt has really confirmed the decision to come here. And everybody
keeps asking me, “Where are you going to go next year?” We’ll have to deal with the legislature on
Hey, look, we cannot forget the untimely and tragic death of Lee West. A young man killed in a
house fire, just happened last week. The school mourns, the town mourns. There is no great word
for the West family, but it gives us a chance to the students that are here today from the high school,
you know, invite those kids that sometimes you think of as the nerds or invite those kids who
sometimes get ignored, hug them, make them feel special, because you never know what’s going to
happen in the next day.
My mom and dad were taken from me in a horrible car crash in 1987, but they didn’t die in vain. Their
son became a better man. And, you know, maybe through the death of Lee, we can become better
people. But you know what, visit the family, hug them, tell them what a great young man Lee West
was. Don’t just stop after a week. You go and visit them. You will be doing a great service not only
to them, but a great service to the Lord, as well.
You know, I think it is so important because when I look at these things, it just kind of gets me so
pumped up. How far we have come as Ohioans, you know, where we were and where we are now.
And I know some of you have heard this before, but many of you have not. And it’s good to reflect
A year ago, Ohio ranked 48th in job creation. We trailed only Michigan and California in lost jobs-
Michigan, the home of the auto industry that was devastated and California, of course, filled by a
bunch of wackadoodles.
So, the fact of the matter is, who would have ever dreamt, who would have ever dreamt that we’d be
the third worst? When I came to Ohio State in 1970, we were the Promised Land and somehow we
drifted. We lost 600,000 in the last 10 years, 600,000 jobs gone, 400,000 jobs gone in the last four
years, 400,000 families. One third of our college students were leaving the state within three years of
graduation. They’re finding their destiny somewhere else. Who can blame them? If there is nothing
happening here, they’re going-and I don’t blame them.
Ohio’s credit outlook was negative. In fact, we thought there was a very good chance, Tim Keen and
I believed, the budget director, that we’d get downgraded and we were nervous about it. And then
think about it for a second, because we glossed over it, eight billion in the hole, eight billion in the
hole, the largest deficit in the history of the State of Ohio. And people said there is no way we can
deal with this.
Well, you know, I want to compliment my partners in the legislature, my staff, the governor’s office. I
tell you what we did. We just looked at the problems honestly. You know, see, when politics
becomes the order of the day, the power of special interest groups become the order of the day, you
really get confused. But if you look at a problem and you see what it is and you design a solution, it’s
amazing how far you can go.
And that’s exactly what we did through this process. And whether we know it or not, some of it was
really very strongly bipartisan. So, I know it’s not easy sometimes to look at a problem and strip out
the politics and who you know and what you know and who helped you and who didn’t, but that’s our
job. People don’t elect us to get a favor. They elect us because of what we represent, principally.
That’s what it’s really all about.
And it’s not easy when people attack you when you make people uncomfortable, but why did you do
this if you’re not willing to do it? You’re short-changing your family if you’re not willing to stand up.
Think about this, in six months we eliminated an eight billion dollar budget shortfall without a tax
increase-eliminated it. We are now balanced. In fact, we cut taxes by million. And when I
came in, we had a rainy day fund that had 89 cents, and I’m told that budget guru over there, Brian
Perera, sent an 89 cent check to double the amount of money we had in the rainy day fund. Try
million in the rainy day fund today. It’s pretty staggering.
And we did it the right way. Look, we were not going to hurt the mentally ill, the disabled, the poor.
Just weren’t going to do it. Somebody has got to stand up for them. Oh, they have a lobbyist, but we
don’t see Him here. Best lobbyist in the world. We’ll all meet Him some day. So, you can’t step on these folks.
I told John Martin and Tracy Plouck, we cannot push too hard for the mental-on the mentally ill or the
disabled or the poor to take away from them. That would be sinful. It would be wrong.
And we knew we couldn’t raise taxes. Folks, I just got to tell if you keep raising taxes, you don’t make
it, because companies look around and they’re looking for the lowest cost to be able to make money.
And if we continue to do it, we would just continue to hurt ourselves economically. So it’s not just a
philosophy or some sort of an ideology. It’s what makes sense.
And, how did we do it? You know, we did it with reforming and reshaping. I have to tell you, you
can’t cut your way to prosperity. People think I’m this big budget cutter. I’d rather reform, reshape
and make it work better. Come up with a better solution. Let’s talk a little bit about it.
How about Medicaid? Medicaid has been out of control as a part of this state budget forever. Greg
Moody-I don’t even know how we got the guy. Greg Moody comes in, he’s got great experience.
He leaves his private sector job. He has a vision for how we can help it.
Now, for how many years did you read the studies of the fact that we wanted Mom and Dad to stay in
their home rather than going in a nursing home? For how many years did we say that home health
care and the ability for Mom and Dad to be healthier and happier and more independent ought to be
accomplished and we can’t do it? But we did it, didn’t we, in this budget? Mom and Dad can now
stay at home if they’re able to at about a fifth of the cost of being in a nursing home. Thank you for
your work on that.
We’ve been able to integrate mental and physical health. This is a big deal. If you have mental
health issues, you’ve got physical health issues. And the ability to integrate them is what makes a big
difference in the lives of those people. And we’re doing it. We also found out that 4 percent of the
Medicaid population drives over 50 percent of the costs. So Moody came up with this program to try
to guide them in the right way. Look, we all know that too often poor people get primary care in an
emergency room. You can’t get primary care in an emergency room. You got to get primary care
from a primary care physician. So what we’re doing is creating this concept of the medical home. It’s
an ongoing process. And, tell you what we do, we coordinate their care. We also bring some
certainty and we eliminate the confusion that many sick people have, because they don’t know where
So, if we can coordinate their care and get them in the right setting, they’ll be comfortable, they’ll be
more healthy, the quality of medicine will improve and, you know what’s unbelievable? We’ll save
money. And that is exactly what we’re doing.
And let me also tell you we’re spending time now on this-low birth weight moms is one other
example of being out in front. I promised it a year ago when I was here. We’re trying to do so many
things at once. Well, what do we know? There is a couple up in Richland County, up in Mansfield,
they figured out how to deal with the problem with women that have low birth weight babies. If we
can get to them, and coordinate their care, and drive them to the doctor, and do all the things that are
around it, we can cut the incidence of low birth weight babies by an enormous amount. Think of the
savings, and think how happy the mom is, and think how great it is for the kid, for the baby. Well,
that’s what we’re doing. We got a long way to go to completely mature these programs, but we’re
Let me also tell you that we are working with the private sector. When Procter and Gamble, and
General Electric, and the companies down in Cincinnati have gotten together on payment reform to
have outcome-based medicine, think about this: right now, we pay people on the basis of how many
in the door and how many out the door. That’s not how we should pay them. We should pay them on
the basis of their outcome. We should pay them on the basis of the fact that if you keep me healthy
and give me primary care, we’re going to pay you more money. It will improve the quality. It will
improve satisfaction. It will reduce the costs. I’ve talked to Ms. Cafaro, who is here today, about
helping us to develop a national program to work with the Administration. It’s the way we’ve got to do
things. I think she’s got some ins down there. If she doesn’t, you know we’ll have to see if you can
do that Capri, but we want to involve her in this. We want this to be bipartisan going forward.
Sentencing reform. How long did we wait? For how long did we wait? I always like to point to my
buddy Lynn Slaby, the prosecutor, who stood up and he said we’re not going to just play politics.
Locking 12,000 people up next to hardened criminals, rapists, murderers, drug dealers for less than a
year, and we think we’re doing good? Gary Mohr. Where is Gary Mohr? This guy is the great leader
in corrections reform.
Because of your work in the legislature, and because of your constant insistence on improving this
situation, we were able to pass sentencing reform where now a low-level offender can be put in a
community setting where they can get their lives back; where they can have a second chance. Now,
here is the amazing thing that you know when you talk about reforming prisons and giving people an
easier time: it’s a great applause line at a Republican dinner, as you can probably imagine, but I’m not
looking for those. What I’m looking for is giving people a second chance.
So you know what we’re thinking about now? If you’ve been a violent offender and you’re in prison,
you want to work your way out of that, we’ll give you a chance. We’re going to create a process
whereby people can work their way back. If you take violence in the prison, we will lock you up for
1,000 years. Have no doubt about that. It’s a great achievement to have done sentencing reform in
this last year.
Construction reform. 124 years multiple primes. Think about this: you build a house and everybody is
a multiple prime. Dave, can you imagine that? It drives up the cost sky high. Gordon Gee is with us
today. Gordon Gee, Ohio’s best politician, is with us today. He is the president of Ohio State
University. Gordon, you got to stand up and take a wave. Where the heck are you? There he is.
Gordon said, “If we can go to a single prime contractor, we can cut the cost of building my new
hospital by 25 percent.” For 124 years we did it. We don’t do it anymore. Now we’re down to a
single prime, and who is going to benefit? The public, students, and families, through lower tuition,
lower costs. Thanks, Gordon, for what you did and for the other presidents that were strong enough
to do this.
Economic development. 1962, 1963, Jim Rhodes created the Department of Development. It worked
fine for a while, but it’s become slow, bureaucratic, outdated, and atrophied. I want to thank you.
And, you know, Tom Sawyer is out here, I just called him the other day. As we move the contract
through the controlling board, Tom was there when we first brought up JobsOhio. We had some
bipartisan support. Not overwhelming obviously, but we thought if we could create an entity that
could move at the speed of the market operation and not the speed of the statute. Because I saw a
race between the statute and the glacier. And the glacier won.
In the 21st century, you’ve got to move at the speed of the marketplace. And so we created
JobsOhio. It’s beginning to bear fruit in our state already and I’m so excited. Mark, thanks for coming
from California. Now he is an Ohio resident. Who knows what we’ll see next, right? It’s amazing.
Education reform. Think about this: No mom and dad should have to have their kids in a school
where they’re not safe and they’re not learning. It’s a civil right.
This is not an attack on the public school system or public school teachers. We have to honor the
ones that are really out there just like we see here in Wells Academy. But, when the schools aren’t
working and they’re underperforming, let our children go. We went in this state from 13,000 vouchers
to 30,000 families who can have more choice and more freedom, to next year 60,000 vouchers. I
don’t know that that exists anywhere in America. And it’s going to give our poor people a chance.
We lifted the cap on the number of charter schools. And let me make it clear: if you’re an
underperforming charter school, we’ll be on you. We have to have excellence in every school, and
just because it has a name, if it’s not working, we’re going to have to deal with it. I’ll ask the
legislature to exercise proper oversight. And let me also — you can applaud for that. I know a lot of
people are concerned about that.
If the school continues to fail, parents and teachers have the power to take the school over
themselves. I want to give a big shout out to Stan Heffner. He is a man who has decided that he is
committed to the fact that we need to let moms and dads know, across this state, how their kids are
doing. He has published a report that ranks the schools, and that’s how Wells got to be number one.
He is traveling the state. We need moms and dads to know how their schools are doing.
And let me also say I’m very proud of the fact that we did teacher evaluation. We had 19 meetings
across the state; 1,400 e-mails from teachers. You know what teachers are worried about? They
don’t mind being evaluated, but what they don’t want is to get the short end of the stick. They want to
make sure there are multiple ways for them to be measured. We listened to them. It’s exactly what
we did. We took this framework to the State Board of Education. As I mentioned to Armond Budish
earlier today, the unions, the Administration, the members of the Legislature, we got the framework
improved. Our schools across the state are, frankly, consistent with the Race to the Top, where I give
Arne Duncan and the President great credit for what they’ve done there. We’re moving Ohio forward,
but we’ve got a long way to go.
Where are we today? I could give you 50 other things, but we’d go on forever here. Where are we
today? Ohio is the number one job creator in the Midwest today, as we sit here. Number one.
We’re the number nine job creator in America. From 48 to nine in one year. Legislature, people…
…it’s about time, because we’re a powerhouse here in Ohio. And you know what? Our private sector
job growth, rather than losing the 400,000 jobs over the last four years, we created 43,500 new jobs.
A net increase of 43,500 families better off.
Total manufacturing jobs-it’s not just autos, believe me, and I’m going to tell you in a moment-
14,400 manufacturing jobs. God made some people to make things. It’s coming back to America,
and it’s coming back to Ohio. JobsOhio and our economic team have produced-as a result of
saving or creating new jobs and working with those companies that, on their own, decided to move
forward — .7 billion in payroll. That’s a lot of money getting spent. .7 billion in payroll…
….2 billion in new capital investment. That means they’re taking .2 billion and putting it into our
state. It’s just such incredible news. Think about some of the saves: Diebold, what a great save for
Canton, Ohio. American Greetings. And hey, Wendy’s came home from Atlanta, Georgia. Wendy’s
is back in Columbus where Wendy’s belongs.
And get this one: You know that credit rating agency, Standard and Poors? You remember them?
They downgraded the United States. They downgraded Spain. They downgraded France. They
downgraded Italy. And they improved our credit rating all at the same time. We have gone from a
negative watch to stable as a result of the hard work we’ve done. That sends a signal all across this
country that Ohio is open for business.
Everybody wants to say how partisan everything is. Baloney. That’s not true. Okay, yeah, it’s been
partisan at times. Sometimes really partisan, and I get it. I didn’t fall off of a turnip truck over here.
But let’s think about some of these things: The Common Sense Initiative-Mary Taylor, our
Lieutenant Governor-this is a program where we’re just trying to make sense out of things so we’re
not shutting businesses down because we’re doing dumb things in government.
Let me just give you one story: you know there was this-the Ohio liquor law required food
manufacturers to purchase alcohol in retail containers and retail prices. One recipe for a Merlot wine
sauce called for 140,000 pounds of wine, which they had to purchase, sterilize and pour one bottle at
a time. No sipping allowed. We worked with the Department of Commerce, the General Assembly,
and Custom Culinary has announced its expansion. They will no longer have to do that.
You see, that’s just a common sense little thing. And yet, we were snuffing out jobs and hurting
families because we didn’t have it together. Mary is trying to do that. We got-I think it was
overwhelmingly bipartisan for the Common Sense Initiative.
The sentencing reform I’ve already mentioned.
Is Jennifer Brunner here, by the way? Where is Jennifer? She here? She in here somewhere?
Wave, Jennifer. We all love you, or most of us do.
I’ve asked Jennifer to help us on collateral sanctions. Ladies and gentlemen-you don’t know this,
the legislature does-do you know that if you have a felony conviction, you serve your time and you
come out of prison, do you know that you are prohibited from cutting hair or driving a truck? We can’t
have that. We’re going to fix that, and I’ve asked Jennifer to help. Gary Mohr convened a meeting-
and early morning-and Shirley Smith, who is hugging me-that’s why I believe in God.
I said to those who are the hard core right wing, lock them up forever-can’t do that. I said to the left
wing, get out of jail free card. We’re talking about human beings. We got to give people a chance
here. You can’t be in a position where you paid your price and you want to get back. You can’t get a
commercial driver’s license. That’s one of the most needed things in the area of oil and gas today;
you’ve got to drive a truck.
So, we’re going to get this done. Right, Ross? We’re going to get this done, and we’re going to get
some. Slaby, you got another assignment to do.
War on Drugs: Bubp, Johnson and Burke. We closed all those pill mills down in Scioto County, didn’t
we? Made a difference, didn’t it?
And we’re cracking down on these doctors that are just not doing their job and abusing their practice.
Highway patrol, John Born, by the way, they’re a fired-up group again. John Born is involved, along
with highway patrol, and being involved in drug interdiction. Ladies and gentlemen, the war on drugs
is something we’ve got to pay attention to, because it is wrecking our communities.
We’re working with the highway patrol to get that done. But again, another bipartisan effort. I was in
the House when it passed unanimously. Went over to the Senate, flew through. Yeah, there are
things we can do.
Teach for America. Remember a year ago I said we ought to have Teach for America? Bang. Snap
of a finger. We got Teach for America coming. So, we’re going to have all these young people.
They’re all fired up. They want to help people. They’re going to get out into these schools and bring
new life to our schools. It’s going to be fantastic to see the way that it works.
Let me also say that-I don’t even know how to tell you this. We have 1,000 Ohio children-the
average: 13 years of age-they’re in the slave trade business in our state. Theresa Fedor is-you
know, she is on fire about this. One thousand of our children age 13. I can’t even-it’s hard for me to
even think about this. My girls are 12. Could you imagine somebody snatching your daughter and
somebody forcing them into prostitution at 13 and 14 years of age? I called Colonel Charles the other
day, I said, “You know we got a war on drugs? We’ve got to have a war on the slave trade business in
Ohio.” I know we started on it, but we’ve got to stop this. We’ve got to snuff this out in our state.
It is a scourge.
Let me also tell you if it wasn’t for bipartisan support I wouldn’t be standing in Steubenville today.
Okay, now we get to a really cool part, I hope. You know, we got to be-look, that’s really remarkable.
We’re alive again. We’re out of the ditch. We’re growing. We’re becoming. It’s happening in our state.
It’s not me. It’s all of us, and it’s the people of the state. I’m just thrilled to be part of it. That’s all I
ever wanted in this job, so it’s happening. But we’ve got cultural changes that we have to make and
people who represent the status quo who are going to fight us for the next series of things that we
have to get done. Remember your purpose in the legislature, but I also think it’s-I get all fired up
when I read the stories of other people who are heroes. It gives me more energy. I remember
reading Fear No Evil. Sharansky sat in the Soviet prison. It was all phonied up, trumped charges of
being a traitor. They said, “Listen, if you sign this statement like Galileo did, renouncing what you did,
we’ll let you out of the Gulag.” He thought to himself and he later wrote he said, “If they use Galileo
against me, they’re going to use me against somebody else.” And we worry? John Adams, Navy
SEAL. We worry about politics? The guy goes to-everyday puts his life on the line in there, in the
service like so many other veterans in here. Let’s learn from people and get excited and courageous.
So I’m starting something new, and I hope it will always last. The Governor’s Courage Awards. Let
me tell you, I wrote a book in 1997, 1998, and it was called “Courage is Contagious.” The first
chapter was about two boys who died. One of them said, “You know that John Kasich? He is just a
little boy in a congressman’s body.” I think you shine the light on people that do special things, and
today we’re going to shine the light on three people.
The first one I want to tell you about is Jo Anna Krohn. Jo Anna had a son-a senior in high school
lost his life because of prescription drugs. She formed a group called SOLACE. Danny and Doctor
Johnson and so many of the people, my great friend Tom Niehaus, they know about SOLACE. I
remember coming up right when I was going to be sworn in, and these ladies were up there in their
pink shirts. You made me cry because they said, “We want you to help us.” Jo Anna Krohn could
have gone, faded away. I mean, 17, 18 year old kid gone. But she stood up and she made a purpose
of what she needed to do-to rally, not only her, but all these women who are part of SOLACE.
These are beautiful medals. It says, “A man of courage is also full of faith.” A beautiful quote from
Cicero. As you can see, it’s just a token, Jo Anna, of how we feel about what you’ve done, and the
ladies from SOLACE. And maybe in a way we do this also in memory of your sweet son who didn’t
die in vain. Come and receive this award.
I’ve just talked to you about human trafficking. Adults use manipulation, blackmail and even forced to
take our teenagers and make them prostitutes, slave labor or worse. One human trafficking survivor
here in Ohio refused to sit down and let this crisis go unnoticed.
Theresa Flores joins me here on the stage. Theresa was a teenager. She was exploited, blackmailed,
trapped in a hell of abuse that she could not escape. There wasn’t anybody to help her. No support.
No one to help her get free. Can you imagine that? Abused, drugged, beaten, raped. She didn’t give
up, somehow. I just don’t know how she did it. Today she is a licensed social worker in Columbus-a
licensed social worker in Columbus-and she helps liberate other women trapped by human
trafficking. You know, her courage has helped her to turn her experience around and make a
difference in countless lives.
Theresa, you come and get this medal.
We don’t want to see those on eBay ladies.
I went to Dayton for a ceremony honoring U.S. Army Specialist Jesse Snow. Lost his life in war.
Jesse was in Afghanistan, and he crawled through enemy fire to help his comrades. He lost his
weapon, Frank LaRose. He lost his weapon. He secured ammunition. Then he performed first aid.
He used his body to shield other people; that’s how he died. Threw his body in front of others so they
might live. This wasn’t some snap of the finger decision. He knew exactly what he was doing. He
comes from a family that has tremendous patriotism and service to the country. I don’t think I’ve ever
been to a ceremony quite like that, Mr. Snow. Your young brother, you loved your brother, didn’t you,
young man? Yeah, you did. You loved your brother, Alex. We know he’s been honored with a Silver
Star. He may get an additional medal before it’s all said and done. They built a beautiful monument to
him when they finally buried him. It’s not enough for me, because I can give one more honor and one
more medal to the Snow family. Mr. Snow, Alex, please come and get the medal.
I want all the veterans that have served this country to stand now and be recognized for their great
and heroic service. Ladies and gentlemen, join me in saluting our veterans.
Well, I hope you’re inspired by them. I know you are. There are many great things to do for our state,
and we have got to remember these people. I don’t want to get on-you know, if you’re going to be a
preacher, you got to wear a collar-but I just want to tell you, I was a member of the legislature. It
was very interesting. Sometimes I fought with my own party. It happens. That’s what Mom told me to
do. Stand up and fight for what you believe in. Eighteen years in Congress. Balanced budgets.
Military reform. I learned a couple things. Because we have a lot of new members here, some that
haven’t even stood for election, I think you got to steer clear of mindless partisanship.
I have Theresa here today. If you took a hundred things, she and I wouldn’t agree on 10. That is okay
because I like her and she likes me. And she believes my heart is in the right place, and I know hers
is. So, why don’t I search for things that I can do to make things better? Because I got to tell you
something, being a good Republican or being a good Democrat, you’ve lost it. They don’t give you
awards for being partisan. Oh, you’ve got to respect your philosophy and you have to carry it out, but
you look at what’s happening in Washington. Do we want to be them? They can’t get out of their own
way. The country is losing faith. So together, we’ve got to make sure that we move forward. That we
can find things that we can work together on and not be nasty and mean and name callers but fight
like crazy. Tip O’Neill and Ronald Reagan did. Then they had a drink. Tip had two.
But when I left politics, I never looked back. Leave it all on the field, ladies and gentlemen.
Now, we have to build on what we have accomplished. I’ve just got to tell you our main job. It’s just
all about jobs. I mean, Rhodes was right: jobs, jobs and jobs. People have jobs. Moms and dads are
strong. Kids are strong. Kids get out of poverty. Families are together. Marriages last.
And I’ve got to tell you, you don’t achieve this by just snapping your fingers. These jobs don’t come
here just on accident. It does not happen that way. We have to think about the strategic way we can
work together. We have to leverage our assets and the strengths that we have.
I want to say to all of you, I know the idea of a legislature is that you’ve got to go to Columbus and
vote. You know Rosenberger is a perfect example of a guy who votes as an afterthought. His job is to
work with every business in his district to bring hope to the people of Wilmington. We want all of you, I
don’t care who you are, in this legislature, I don’t care who you are in this crowd, if you have an idea
that you think can help create jobs and advance our society and our state, tell us. Don’t be shy. I don’t
bite. Most times.
Every one of these projects has to be customized. It takes time. We have to work it out. And it can’t
be done overnight. We also can’t give away the store. Be careful not to give away the store. We’ve
laid the foundation for growth. And we have a blueprint for different clusters in the state that we think
can work. So rather than giving you-I can give you a laundry list of, you know, MBR and all these
legislative things, but I want to talk to you about what I think is realistic, not what is blue sky and what
Ohio can take hope and we can build upon, and let’s start with manufacturing.
Moms and dads, stop telling your kids that they shouldn’t try to get a job in manufacturing.
Manufacturing is coming back. Encourage your people, your kids. If God made them to make things,
let them make things.
It’s coming back because of our workforce, because of our location, because of our ability to move
things. It’s coming back to Ohio. But let me tell you, when my uncles, Uncle George, when Steve and
Andy worked in the steel mill and they had to work around and lift and push, and it’s the brain
increasingly now. You can’t work in an auto line, you can’t work in a steel mill if you don’t know how to
use a computer. Technology is the order of the day and advancing manufacturing.
But let me tell you about some of the recent things that have happened in this state that are good.
Talk about autos to start, because Ohio does have a base industry in auto. No question about it.
Ford. Let me tell you, when I went up to Detroit a year ago, Mark Kvamme and I went up there, they
were shaking their finger at me. “You are not getting it right in Ohio,” shaking their finger. They shook
their finger at me this year and said, “You are getting it right in Ohio now, okay”.
General Motors put out a letter, they don’t put out a letter praising their mom, let alone some
government, saying that things were getting better. Ford is investing a billion dollars in the State of
Ohio, and wasn’t it a great day, Gayle, when we were at Avon Lake? Those people were so happy.
Ford is going to invest five or six billion dollars. Michigan number one, to be expected. We’re number
two in America on Ford investment, a billion dollars. They moved a bunch of business, which I’ll talk
about a little bit more, from Mexico to Avon Lake. From Mexico to Avon lake. Get it?
I’m writing right now an op-ed piece with the CEO of General Motors talking about Ohio and
manufacturing in America. They have a continued commitment to Toledo, Defiance and, of course,
Lordstown. Chevy Cruze, baby. It’s selling. And it’s working.
Chrysler, a half a billion dollar investment in Toledo. 1,105 jobs. I met with Sergio Marchionne. I said,
“Sergio, how many more can we get?”, because when they do something good, you push them for
more. That’s just the way it has to be. We’re working with them now to train people. Jacob’s University
in Toledo–we’re going to do work force training. When you are able to get sticky with them, they can’t
get out of your grasp. We want to grab them and we want to hold them and we want to build what we
have and not go through a breath-holding exercise down the road. This is the way to do it.
And Honda. I had a vision last night: Batch in a super car…
…Armond Budish next in the seat next to him and Jerry Seinfeld in the back seat. Okay? Honda
continues their major investment in Ohio and give them a lot of credit. They don’t ask for a dime.
We’re going to help them to train their workers. It’s fantastic.
Let me also say-is Jaime here from Republic Steel? I was told he was going to come here. Is he
here? Well, his family which are big entrepreneurs, big business people in Mexico–think about this–
they have made a huge investment in Lorain, Ohio. Who would have ever thought that that kind of an
investment was going to create more jobs in Republic Steel in Lorain, Ohio, this year. It’s a Mexican
family making an investment in the State of Ohio. It’s phenomenal.
V&M Star Steel in Youngstown, advanced manufacturing. What are they doing? It’s energy. Republic
Steel is auto and maybe energy. Hey, don’t forget the human investments from United States Steel
right up there next to that plant at Republic Steel. They believe in Ohio.
Listen to this, folks, I mean, I just don’t even-I can’t believe it. The unemployment rate in
Youngstown has gone from 11.5 to 8.3 percent in the last year. The Mahoning Valley is alive again.
And they deserve it.
Hamilton, Ohio. ThyssenKrupp-big steel people. They were going to move their shock absorbers to
Mexico. Not only are they not moving them because we got down there and worked with them–not
only are they not moving to Mexico-they are moving people from Mexico to Hamilton, Ohio to make
shock absorbers at ThyssenKrupp.
Johnson Controls up near Toledo-a whole new generation of battery making. Something we can put
in our cars that’s good for the environment. Something that goes into our cars that will bring about a
new generational change in the way we power our cars. Right up there in Toledo, Ohio.
And Whirlpool, this is really cool. Whirlpool is moving a bunch of their stuff from Germany to Ohio.
You know why? Market, location, workers. It all fits together, doesn’t it, when you’re on the ball and
working aggressively with these companies?
Let’s not forget the Timken Company. They already made a couple million dollar investment in Ohio
and they’re on the verge of another million dollar investment for a new refiner and a jumbo
caster in their steel plant. You can never forget Timken. They’re part of the backbone of our state.
So here is the thing with manufacturing-we got the people, we know how to work, we know how to
make things, we’ve got a legacy of it. Secondly, we’ve got location. Now let me tell you-it’s
interesting-every company thinks about costs. That’s what we do and we work with them. I talk to
CEOs until the sun goes down. Here is what’s working. The labor costs in China have risen. The labor
costs in Mexico have risen and, unfortunately, the violence creates serious risk and, you know, what
we have in Ohio, we’re close to markets.
So we have to devise a strategy, and we’re in the process of devising a strategy right now, where we
can have a lot of foreign trade efforts and that’s foreign trade to places like California and the State of
Washington. Then maybe we can even look overseas, because here is the thing, all-in costs, access
to the market, the ability to move things, the ability to make things, all in costs, we’re starting to win.
And we’ve got to pick off these companies one by one to bring these manufacturing jobs back here to
this state and it’s worth mentioning: Mexico to Avon Lake, Mexico to Republic Steel. Germany and
Whirlpool in Clyde, Ohio. ThyssenKrupp, Mexico.
See, it’s working. And it takes a lot of different things. It takes energy changes. Energy is a big cost
driver for companies. You must lower your energy costs and we’ve got to promote our strength in
advanced manufacturing, aerospace.
How did we go all these years without recognizing the sheer brilliance and excellence of Wright
Patterson Air Force Base? Did you know we’re flying, in a very limited way, unmanned vehicles down
there? Do you know that unmanned vehicles are the future of aerospace? And down there, Wright
Patterson Air Force Base, they have the sensors, the people, the technology. We just haven’t been
able to get it all together. Wayne Struble and I, my dear friend and brilliant policy director, he is
working-I’m helping him-to get the FAA to give us a wider opportunity to fly these unmanned
vehicles both at Wright Patterson and in Springfield and Wilmington. This could change the whole
face of Ohio.
Now, I can’t count on Washington for anything. You know that. It’s like Waiting for Godot. Let’s take
advantage of what we have down there to drive this and we’re working with the delegation and
working with the Pentagon to see, along with the General Ashenhurst, to see if we can get this done
and leverage our experience, not just in flight, but also in manufacturing.
Now folks, logistics. If you make things and you can’t move it, you might as well not even make it. We
need to be the best in logistics. It’s becoming an industry in the State of Ohio now. It’s an industry in
America. It’s the ability to move things and move them quickly, by land and by sea and by air. And
we’re starting to win at this.
It was not long ago Wagoner, Senator Wagoner, when we went up to North Baltimore. I wasn’t even
sworn in yet. And we helped improve the infrastructure, using some common sense there, got some
money so we could expand the infrastructure. The North Baltimore multi-modal is exploding and I’ll
tell you why–because people can avoid Chicago with all their business and all the hassle there and
they can come to North Baltimore, Ohio. That facility will be expanded and it represents the best in
logistics advancement, Senator. And we need to work to expand that operation. I know Chrysler
would like to ship more things through our multi-modal. It means jobs.
TQL down in Clermont County, 1,000 people working down there, young people, you know, what they
do is they have no trucks. But they take virtual trucks and match them with loads and they ship things
all over the country. A thousand people down there. I was told that the average pay is like ,000. It
was like going to Google or to PayPal or to, you know, the place where you buy all the shoes where
all the people get excited. It’s young people excited.
And let me also tell you BX Solutions in Toledo, we lost 700 jobs and turned around a couple weeks
later because a great young man up there, created 550 new ones, but we have to do a better job with
our infrastructure. Now, let me just say something to you: We didn’t take your highway money. I don’t
want to be misleading people anymore. Oh, yeah, you want a road, we’ll give you a road. It’s just not
true. We are 1.6 to 2 billion dollars short. No one has leveled with you. We didn’t take the money
and I didn’t put this thing out now so I can get the turnpike–that’s just phony. That is not what this is
about. It’s to begin to tell the truth to people, so they can understand the situation that we are in. I
have not made a decision yet about what I want to do with this turnpike because if we don’t get the
money we’re not going to do it. And we’re in the process of studying it.
Maybe we can have more public/private operations, and we got that in the transportation bill. We got
this Brent Spence Bridge down there in Cincinnati. We ought to be involving the private sector and
let them see the benefit of it being engaged with us, let them profit somewhat from it. Let’s get more
of this infrastructure done. You can’t shut down the Brent Spence Bridge. It’s a major artery in this
country. Maybe we can figure out a way by getting a few pennies together by letting companies be
able to suddenly start to lease some of these rest stops where we can get some good food a lot of
other good things along there if we can open that process up.
So, I am not telling you exactly what we’re going to do but let me say this to you; just think about this
for a second: we will never give up underlying control of the turnpike. But, if we can bond against
that revenue or if we can lease it and take care of the maintenance and make sure that the people
that live there who have largely been ignored over the last 40 years, the people who live there get a
responsive — get responsive agreements from those that might take this turnpike over and if we can
generate billions of dollars, we don’t want to do that? You got to be kidding me. So everybody slow
down. Chill out a little bit. Let us complete the study. And let’s see where we are. But infrastructure
has to be a critical part of the long-term growth of the State of Ohio and whether you agree with this
or not, you agree with that principle and we have to make it work.
So we did manufacturing. Logistics. Let’s try medicine for a while. Cleveland Clinic, University
Hospital, Case Western, are you kidding me? The crown jewels. Gordon Gee’s Ohio State new
hospital. By the way, he’s got a guy working up there by the name of Doctor Rezai-this guy is doing
deep brain massage. And I went up-the cabinet saw it, but I was up there and there was a man and
what he does is he puts a sensor imprint in the brain and pacemaker in the shoulder and it sends a
signal to disrupt the bad signals that cause Parkinson’s in people. There was a man, they shut off the
pacemaker, they put it back on. He gave me a carved piece of wood. It was like magic. John Glenn
was with us the other day at that cabinet meeting. It’s incredible if we can encourage that and then
commercialize it, as well.
But you think of the University of Cincinnati, performance medicine in Dayton, our children’s hospitals,
we got the best stuff in the whole world. And what we got as a result of it, think about this: Phillips,
the great, great medical company moved their imaging R&D from San Jose, California, to Cleveland.
That’s better than the Super Bowl for the Browns, okay? That’s a fantastic thing.
Okay, well, maybe not better than the Super Bowl, but equal to a Super Bowl, okay?
Also STERIS, a company that we helped create, moving some of their jobs from Canada down into
Cleveland. You see, we’re working now to create a medical corridor. What we really want is these
hospitals and great facilities to work together because if they work together, we can have clinical
trials. We can go out there pushing medical devices. We work on it every day, but you got to change
the culture of these institutions because they all think they’re Michael Jordan. And what we know is if
we get them to work together, we can have an awesome result in all the fields of medicine today and
bring tremendous advancement to us. Divided we fall, work together we win.
Financial services-number two in the country in property and casualty. We just got 800 jobs from
AmTrust moving to New York City to Cleveland, Ohio. It’s just fantastic news for Cleveland. They
want to change the very face of Cleveland. We’ve got Chase, Fifth/Third, a huge investment from
Chase in Columbus, the Huntington Bank, PNC and our community banks. We also have created a
course at several of the universities, community colleges to train kids in risk management so we got
people that can work there. You can’t have an insurance company and have no employees. And
we’re carrying this out and working with universities and community colleges to get it done.
Agriculture, it’s our base. We are on the cusp of becoming a worldwide leader of exporting animals.
Whoever thought that we would be able to say that we’re exporting non-bluetongue cows to Turkey.
Thank you-where is Rosenberger? I mean where did you ever come up with that and Jim
Zehringer. See, we can ship this livestock all over the world. And we need to move into
agribusinesses and find more markets. Let’s stop treating agriculture as a stepchild. It’s the base
and foundation of our state it always has been.
Technology, I mean, Janova cloud computing in New Albany. Businessweek says that Cleveland is
the fastest growing market for technology jobs in America, and Cincinnati is third. We can begin to
compete with the Silicon Valley, the triangle of North Carolina and with Boston because we have
people that know what they’re doing. We just got to create the climate here so people are excited
about being in Ohio.
And today I want to tell you about the best technology resource that you’ve never heard of. It’s buried
underground in Ohio. This will set us apart from every other state in America.
Let me tell you what happened. There is this guy-let me see if I can find his name in here-there is
this guy his name is Al Stutz, have you ever heard of Al? He ought to get one of those awards. Al is
just like a regular guy. He works in the government. He figured out back years ago that when the
telecom companies were cratering and the costs of the fiber were decreasing, Ohio ought to buy it.
So, we went and bought all this fiber. It’s like this black fiber which means you can send stuff so fast.
It’s high speed. It’s beyond high speed Internet. And I’m announcing today we’re going to increase
the speed of OARnet, from 10 gigabytes per second to 100 gigabytes per second and what does that
mean? It’s not Back to the Future with gigabytes. I mean, this really means something.
It means that healthcare and research that these researchers no longer have to rely on overnight mail
to share their massive files on hard drives, but can e-mail them instantly. This allows our research
hospitals and universities to compete more successfully for the research grants that create
breakthroughs in jobs. The multi-media space, it means that companies in the entertainment, design
and graphics industry that must deliver huge amounts of data to customers and collaborators can be
right here at home in Ohio. Our databases like Lexis Nexis, online retailers and banks who need files
backed up for security will find Ohio a cheap, easy, fast place to work. You did it in 1987. We’re
exploding its power. It’s going to yield huge, huge benefits for the people of the State of Ohio.
OARnet. You’ve heard it here first, believe in it, it can change the face of the entire State of Ohio.
And I want to thank Al Stutz and the legislature that had the foresight to do this.
Okay. They all thought I came here for energy. Baloney. I came here because of what I told you
earlier-happens to be some good energy things going on. We had an energy summit many of you
came to it. Two days long, 1100 people, experts from all over America. We need to have energy
policy in Ohio. If America can’t have a policy that makes us energy independent, we’ll let Ohio create
an energy policy that makes us independent.
We’ll start with coal. We’re the Saudi Arabia of coal. Clean it and burn it. Clean it, Gordon, and burn
it. Clean it, Battelle, and burn it. Use it. Renewables-hey, you can be for coal, you can be for gas,
you know, you can be for wind, you can be for solar, you can be for geothermal. We need to be for
our renewables. They’re starting to gain momentum. They’re starting to become more economically
workable. But let’s, of course, not stuff something in that’s going to drive up costs for people, you
know, that are unrealistic, but we need to embrace renewables in our state. You already have. I
compliment you on that, but there is some additional things we can do, like capture waste heat. Do
you know when you drove down here? Did you see the big cooling tower? How would you like to
capture that and put it back into the company so they can lower their costs to generate power and at
the same time clean the environment? We will have a proposal to do just that here in the State of
Ohio. And conservation, we all have to do it.
Okay, let me tell you this, though: natural gas, fracking. People are getting it in the state. We’ve
been working on this for, well, before I was even sworn in. You cannot degrade the environment at
the same time you’re producing this industry. It is not acceptable. And it’s not a false choice. The
biggest companies know that you need to have tough environmental rules. They can’t be
complicated. They can’t be over the top, but we need to have them because we can’t have some
yahoo come into the state and damage this whole industry because they’re irresponsible.
So the biggest companies understand that we need to take care of things like high pressure pipelines.
We don’t want to have a high pressure pipeline explosion in our state. We have to take care of the
gathering lines. We have to make sure that the well head is not going to contribute to contamination
of the groundwater. I mean, we have to do all of these things. But we cannot let our fears outweigh
I’m always concerned about talking about the potential. Because the people in the Mahoning Valley,
the people in Steubenville, the people in southern Ohio-how many promises have they heard that
have only been shattered, okay? So let’s take our time. We’ve only had 36 wells drilled, but the good
news is it looks pretty good, looks pretty good. Billions of dollars’ worth of investment in this state-
that’s all good, as well. And we have much work to do.
Now, everybody today’s talking about a cracker facility. Well, let me tell you what we’ve got. We
have a company called MarkWest. Is Frank Semple here today?
You know, I kind of enjoy all this. This was what it was like when I was
growing up. Hey, Steubenville let them know what you think about disruptions.
Tell them what you think about it.
Well, let me tell you, let me tell you about Frank Semple, who is here with us today. He is the CEO of
MarkWest. He is locating three facilities in Ohio, two processing facilities and those are the facilities
we use to separate the gases. He is also bringing a fractionater on the technology chain. The
fractionater is used to take the liquids that are produced from the fracking and it can separate them
into the propane and the ethane. This is really exciting and way up the food chain. He is investing in
these three facilities in this state-a half-a-billion dollars’ worth of investment-700 jobs to build the
darn thing. So start signing up, and at the same time, it’s going to yield hundreds of permanent jobs
all in direct and indirect. Give Mr. Semple a round of applause for having faith in Ohio.
Thanks for coming, Frank. Okay. Let me say. Let me tell you a couple a couple of other very
essential things that we need to do in our state. You know, first of all, on the energy piece of this, on
the energy piece of this, we’re going to have to work together collaboratively, and we have been.
Democrats and Republicans understand the big picture here, but let me tell you a couple other things
we need to do quickly. Workforce training. Everywhere you go, everywhere I go, what do they tell
you, they tell you, “Well, we’ve got a lot of job openings. We have a lot of job openings, but we don’t
have the skilled workers to fill it.” Okay?
We don’t want you to be.
You know we have 80,000 unfilled jobs right now in Ohio, can you imagine that? Okay. Let me tell
you what else we have. We have a workforce training program-shame on us-think about this, we
have 77 different programs located in 13 different agencies. Now 77 and 13 adds up to zero,
because that means there is no accountability whatsoever.
When it comes to our limited accountability as to how these programs work, so here is what we need
to do quickly, 1, and we need your help on this, companies need to forecast. They have to tell us
what they need. What they do is they complain that they don’t have any workers, but they won’t tell
us what workers they need, so we’ve gone to the business roundtable, the chambers of commerce
and we are aggressively, and with the energy companies I told them, we don’t want foreigners
working on our well heads, those are people from West Virginia, Indiana, Michigan and Oklahoma,
okay? We want Ohioans on the well head.
You have to help us to get them to forecast short term, intermediate term. How many welders do you
need? How many technicians do you need? How many molders do you need? How many truck
drivers do you need? How many computer experts do you need? How many engineers do you
need? We don’t have enough engineers, enough scientists, enough mathematicians. We’ve got to
tell kids and point them to where those jobs are. Get the companies to forecast. It’s a major program
Secondly, we need our community colleges to begin to educate people for these jobs. Now some of
them are doing a pretty good job. Some of them aren’t doing a very good job. You know, we only
have a 10 percent graduation rate nationwide for community colleges. Community colleges should
be like the emergency vehicle when there is a job. Put kids and students in there, including adults,
and get them trained quickly so they can get the jobs that are available. So we have to match the
community colleges with the business community and the forecasting. Sounds easy? Try it. We’ve
been working on this for six months. This is a huge cultural change. And our universities, they’ve got
to do a much better job of focusing kids on realistic job propositions. Do you know that we-well, I
don’t want to get into necessarily the negative, but some of our graduation rates our four-year
graduation rates, they’re just wrong.
I’ll give you one. After four years, 14 percent graduation rate? We can’t have that in Ohio. We need
to graduate more kids and get them degrees, whether it’s a technical degree, a community college
degree, or a university degree, because the more degrees they have the more job security they have,
the more income they get, and the healthier we are as a state. And we need to put this together and
let nothing stand in our way.
Our technical schools are doing pretty good, they serve as a model. They work closely with
businesses, and I’m not saying that some of these business schools aren’t doing great. It has to be
seamless. It has to be consistent. It has to be robust. Let me also tell you, in order to keep tabs of
all this, I’m going to have this thing called the workforce training reform plan. I mean, it sounds like-I
don’t even like to give them these names, but here is what it is, this guy Rich Frederick that works for
me, he is reporting directly to me. He is going to change the whole thing. We’re going to do metrics,
how the community colleges, the technical schools — by the way, let’s bring vocational education back
strong in our K-through-12 education, bring it back.
And you know, sort of like Paul Brown used to say, “Rich, if you can’t get it done, I’ll find somebody
who can.” We will get this done. But we need your help and our door is open on any creative ideas
Higher education, we have a great system of universities, but we don’t have a very great university
system. We have the best higher education in, I think, the world. I’ve asked Gordon Gee to do four
or five things. We’re going to have a capital bill. In the past, each individual came and lobbied for
themselves. No more. No more Bowling Green ahead of everybody else. What we’re going to do is
Gordon-God bless Gordon. Think about this guy, I mean he is University of Colorado, he is Ohio
State, he is Brown, he’s Vanderbilt, he is West Virginia, back at Ohio State. This is incredible.
Incredible resume, Gordon, I don’t know if it’s great or because they wanted to get rid of you, but it’s
pretty darn good.
Anyway, the fact of the matter is I’ve asked him to get the university presidents together and they’re
going to come with a capital bill for the first time in our history that doesn’t have universities just going
for themselves. They’re working together. It is a change and a culture change.
Now, we are also asking Gordon to increase graduation rates for all of our universities. No more 14
percent. It has to be tackled. We have to be patient but we have to demand this get done, because it
is not fair to our families and our students to not get graduated. The emphasis should not be on
enrollment. It ought to be on graduation.
Now let me also say to you: I’ve told Gordon, you know, up there at the University of Akron, Kent
State they got great advanced material programs. He said, “I want one of those.” I said, “You can’t
have one Gordon.” We don’t want them competing with one another. We want to be collaborating so
we don’t have duplicative programs. It requires a big cultural change. We’re getting there.
We’re also saying that it’s not good enough to do research. If you don’t commercialize and create
jobs, what’s the point? I can find you research on a top shelf in a building 140 years from now.
Commercialize. Create jobs. Spinoff companies. We can get that done, but it’s going to take new
and renewed focus and so, you know, whether it’s graduation, whether it is working together on this
issue of, of the fixing of their buildings, whether it is targeting people, getting the universities to target
people for jobs that exist, if we create a university system, it would unbelievable. It would be
absolutely unbelievable and we are on the verge of being able to do it.
Finally K-through-12, 67 percent of Ohioans think the system is great. Graduation rates in Ohio: 80
percent statewide. Where do the other 20 percent go? Urban areas, urban areas, it’s a 65 percent
graduation rate. Thirty-five percent don’t get out of high school? It might have been okay back in the
days of my Uncle George where you can go get a job in a steel mill. That doesn’t work like that, a 35
percent dropout rate in our urban schools? Forty-one percent of, of the kids that are graduating from
K-through-12 are taking remedial math and English, 11th and 12th grade when they get to college. It
drives up the cost of college and the kids in there are supposed to be going to college, they are taking
11th and 12th grade math. Guess what he does? He drops out. He’s got a ,000 debt.
This is not sustainable. America has been falling behind and Ohio is stuck in the middle and we need
to fix it. And I have to spend the next year building a consensus and I just talked to Armond today,
you know, about this program that Mayor Jackson in, in Cleveland is talking about to reform public
education. I’m counting on Cleveland to deliver the goods. I’m counting on Cleveland to be their best
advocate. Oh, I’ll work with them. I’ll go door-to-door to every one of their offices. The mayor of
Cleveland-business community, and business community and the mayor of Cleveland are really
committed to very comprehensive and unbelievable reform, and we can evolve as Republicans and
Democrats in this endeavor. We can change urban education in Ohio and change urban education in
America. And that is worth fighting for and risking for.
So folks, here is the way I look at things. We’ve got to study the Frederick Douglas Academy, the
Wells Academy, the fine charter schools in Cleveland. We need to study them, find out what works,
be data driven and do it. It doesn’t mean we shortchange our teachers. You know, if we’re not doing
well, then let’s help. If they’re doing great, pay them. I sat in this classroom out here waiting for
everything to settle down, you know, the things on the walls that create a bedrock foundation for our
young children. My God, there is nothing more important than these teachers but they have to be of
excellence-we’ll help them. It’s just the way it has to be.
Well folks, if we can train, educate, forecast, use our locations, use our great people, use our
resources, our assets, we’ll be number one in America. We’ll be the most powerful state in America.
I have no doubt we have the scale, the size and everything that we need.
And the reason why it’s all about jobs is not some political thing. Just think about it for a second.
Imagine going home, Uncle George you remember, when they come home and say I lost my job
today. Think about when somebody can go home and say, “I got a job today. Son, I got a job today.”
My wife and, and some of the campaign people went to Wilmington during the campaign. I cried. Not
ashamed to admit it. Going to a food pantry, 7-, 8-, 9,000 people playing by the rules. And one day,
it’s all pulled away from them. They just-they played by the rules. They’re hard working, God-
fearing, it happens. It’s a shame. It’s part of what-the sorrow that we see in the world. We visited
that food pantry. Sweetie, I know you’ll never forget it. I think Rachel Ray even went there and did
part of her show about the tragedy, and they focus on Wilmington all the time.
Well, I went down there the other day to announce the airport transport services group, AMES: 259
new jobs and they were gathered in the hangar there. And there were people in the crowd and they
represented the commissioners and the mayor and the preachers and the mailmen and they were all
there. And behind us, on the stage were the people who were working in their brand new shiny uniforms. They got to go home and say, “Son, I got a job today. It’s going to be better.”
That’s what it’s about. Let nothing stand in the way of building a prosperous Ohio, a richer Ohio, an Ohio free of poverty and unemployment. Oh, we’ll never get to all of that, but the closer we get to it, the better off we are. It is such an exciting time for all of us to work together, to do good. God bless our country, and God bless Ohio.
Thank you all very much. Thank you.
By the way as I get ready to leave, I just wanted the school to know the flag’s all yours. God bless you. Thank you very much.
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