Kasich doles out “tough love” during lunch with legislatureWritten by Associated Press | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The day after his swearing-in, Gov. John Kasich on Jan. 11 warned state lawmakers that many of them are not going to like his budget. And, he said, they can save their punches for down the road.
The new Republican governor has until mid-March to propose a two-year spending blueprint. The administration faces an estimated $8 billion budget deficit.
“Let’s get this going and pull ourselves out of this muck and mire,” Kasich said. “Once times are good, then we can have a good ol’ fashioned fist fight.”
That was just some of the tough love the governor doled out during the Jan. 11 lunch with members of the Ohio Legislature.
Kasich’s fellow Republicans control each chamber. He’ll need their support to go forward with his agenda, which includes creating a private, nonprofit economic development board called JobsOhio. The board of CEOs, entrepreneurs and other business experts is to oversee state development decisions.
“I want us to be one family,” Kasich said at the bipartisan lunch. “That’s what I really want. I just want us to be successful and then I can go away. OK?”
It might not be that simple — and the governor himself acknowledged it.
“Let’s just be honest, many of you are not going to go for this budget that we’re going to do,” Kasich said. “I got that.”
The governor said he expected Republicans to carry much of the load. Though at the same luncheon, Senate President Tom Niehaus told lawmakers they shouldn’t just go along for the ride.
“Don’t be content to sit back and let someone else do the driving,” Niehaus said. “Each of you has something to contribute. And your participation will make the journey more rewarding.”
Leaders pledged to find bipartisan ways to work together.
Shortly after, the GOP-led Senate rejected 14 appointments former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland made before leaving office. Democrats formally protested the move as unconstitutional after accusing Republicans of continuing partisan rancor.
“The election is over. It’s time to get back to the work of the people, the citizens of the state, and it shouldn’t be about party,” said state Sen. Nina Turner, a Cleveland Democrat. “This should be about people and principle. The 14 people we are recommending have done nothing but to be appointed by the former (Democratic) governor, Ted Strickland.”
Kasich said he’ll be focused on jobs “24/7” — and told legislators to alert him to companies in their districts that he needs to pay attention to. “I don’t care if you’re the most left-wing or right-wing — I don’t care, this is about serving the state,” he said.
On Jan. 12, the governor planned to visit the Big Three automakers in Detroit with his interim development director, Mark Kvamme, and possibly Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee.
Job losses in the auto industry and manufacturing over the past few years have contributed to Ohio’s woes.
More than a year ago, a panel of Ohio lawmakers searching for ways to revitalize the auto industry recommended the creation of a state auto development director.
“Things don’t happen in a day,” Kasich said of his upcoming Detroit visit. “But letting them know we want to work with them, we need to know what exactly they need, then we’ll figure out what we can do.”