Ohio Gov. John Kasich spent some time in the region on Tuesday, appearing at a summertime program aimed at teaching high school seniors how government works.
It was also a chance for reporter Gerry Ricciutti to grab an exclusive sit down interview with the Republican governor concerning how he sees the state’s economy and the job that still lies ahead.
Kasich said while he’s pleased so far with the state’s economic program since becoming governor, he’s also impatient and said more needs to be done.
“We’re putting Ohio on the map, but we’re not there yet. We’re gonna have to market Ohio, and let them know about the kind of things that you can do here, the kind of things that you can become,” Kasich said.
The governor claims 147,000 jobs have been created since he took office. That is a point critics will dispute, citing a recent study they insist shows only about 5,000 jobs over the past year.
“Well, I don’t respond to that. That’s all just political jibberish,” Kasich said.
He said political negativity both in Washington and Columbus isn’t productive.
“I just made a talk today in the capital and there were a number of legislators there. I said ‘it’s not our job to play politics and worry about re-election. It’s our job to bring prosperity to our state,’” Kasich said.
He said one of his priorities is to ensure tomorrow’s workforce has the vocational training it needs for the jobs that are available.
“You can come out of high school, get a little bit of training, and get a job with an energy company and they tell me you can make over $100,000 in a few years. So we want to begin to train people for what’s out there,” Kasich said.
At one point, Kasich spoke about the decision to close the Verizon Wireless call center in Boardman, and he said Ohioans need to understand news about the economy isn’t always rosy.
“That’s life. Life disappoints us at times. But we are moving in the right direction. People are more upbeat about where we are, and we just keep going,” he said.