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Governor Kasich Touts Good News About Ohio’s Economy But Not All Believe It

Bradley W. Parks
Gov. John Kasich and Ohio Job and Family Services Director Cynthia Dungey

Governor John Kasich is finding reason to celebrate the latest job numbers in Ohio. 

Ohio Public Radio's Jo Ingles explains why.

When Governor Kasich took his first term in office at the start of 2011, Ohio had just gone through a tough recession, losing 350,000 private sector jobs in the process.  Kasich says the state has now recovered.

Kasich “I’m really pleased to announce that we have seen a job creation in about four years of now 352,000 jobs.  We are now fully recovered from that downturn of the 350,000 jobs lost.”

Kasich says the job numbers could bounce around a bit in the next month or so, but he’s confident that his policies have strengthened Ohio’s economy. But the head of Ohio’s Democratic Party, David Pepper, says there’s no reason to celebrate.

Pepper “A majority of people in Ohio are saying “we’re not doing any better, thank you very much.” We are making less, we are seeing higher costs, we see more debt when it comes to our kids and tuition. So I think the politician that brags and celebrates a recovery is actually out of touch with how the average family in Ohio is feeling.”

Pepper says the nation’s economy is improving and he says the rate of recovery in Ohio actually lags the nation’s. He says Kasich and the Republican majority in the Statehouse are not helping the situation.

Pepper “In Columbus what we are seeing are too many efforts that give nice breaks to people who are doing well and feeling the recovery but not nearly enough attention to people who are struggling. In fact a lot of the people who are struggling, if this budget passes, are about to pay more.

A statement about the jobs data from the liberal-leaning think-tank Policy Matters Ohio noted it was “good news”, but that Ohio needs to gain more than 24,000 total jobs to make up for the government jobs lost since 2007. For his part, Kasich says the job numbers are a good sign but he says he realizes there’s a lot of work left to do.

Kasich “We are not out of the woods.  This is not mission accomplished or anything else. This is going to be a rickety and rockety ride. And that’s why I’m so passionate about what we need to do in this budget, what we need to do to reform our taxes and what we need to do to drive change.”

Still, it’s clear that Kasich was in a cheery mood as he joked with reporters about the weather, television sitcom shows and more.  And when he was asked by a reporter about whether the tax cuts he’s supported, the eight billion dollar deficit that he and other Republicans say was wiped out during his first term, or the new jobs that have been created in Ohio would be part of a narrative he’d used with a national audience should he decide to run for president, he responds this way:

Kasich “Well, yea, of course it would be. You think I wouldn’t tell people? But look, I don’t know if I’m going to run for president.”

But he says he will be traveling to Michigan, Maine and to the key primary state of New Hampshire in the next few weeks – both with his federal balanced budget amendment tour and to, as he puts it, tell the story of Ohio. And he admits that if he were a reporter, he would be skeptical of his own claims that he hasn’t decided if he’s running for president.

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