MEDINA — The Republican candidate for lieutenant governor said in his opinion voters on Nov. 6 will zero in on two major points: the economy and Issue 1.
The Secretary of State Jon Husted stopped by The Gazette office Monday in his whirlwind tour across the state.
Husted, running mate of Attorney General Mike DeWine, said Ohio’s economy is on the rise.
“We set a record for the number of private-sector jobs in our state’s history,” he said. “That’s good news. Wages in Ohio outpaced the growth of any other Midwestern state in the last eight years. There are 140,000 jobs available right now on OhioMeansJobs. Fifty percent of them pay at least $50,000 a year. So, this state has come back. Today, the (state’s) unemployment rate is 4.5 percent.”
He said eight year ago when former Gov. Ted Strickland and Richard Cordray, then attorney general, were running the state, the unemployment rate was 10.4 percent, 400,000 jobs were lost and the state had 89 cents in its bank account. Cordray was attorney general from 2009-10 and state treasurer from 2007-08. While it’s true jobs were lost when Strickland was governor, that doesn’t account for the fact that the nation was in the midst of the Great Recession.
“People were beginning to question when Ohio had a bright future from an economic point of view,” Husted said. “Should you encourage your kids and grandkids to stay here?”
Husted, 51, said Gov. John R. Kasich, DeWine and himself have led Ohio’s comeback.
“Why would we go back to the people who got us in trouble?” he said. “We should stick with the people who have created a more prosperous future for our state. We believe Ohio is moving in the right direction and we want to stay the course.”
Issue 1 is a polarizing issue in this election. If passed, it would reduce many drug possession crimes to misdemeanors, encourage treatment over prison sentences and be retroactive to previous drug convictions among other things.
Cordray endorsed Issue 1 in July.
“Essentially what it would do is make Ohio a sanctuary for drug dealers,” Husted said Monday. “It would allow you to have substantial qualities of fentanyl and heroin and you wouldn’t even face the threat of jail time, even if you had enough fentanyl to kill 10,000 people. You’d be allowed to possess 19 ﾽ grams (and it would be a misdemeanor instead of a felony conviction).”
Husted said it would also amend the Constitution and go against what judges have already ruled, and allow felons out of prison early.
“Mike DeWine and myself are adamantly against it,” he said. “… If Issue 1 passes, it will open up the prison doors and fill up the morgues.’ ”
Husted said he’s disappointed in Cordray for backing Issue 1.
Cordray has been quoted as saying he supported it because it would allow him to work with law enforcement to make sure drug dealers are convicted and serve long prison sentences, while people who need substance abuse treatment can get it in the communities.”
If elected, DeWine and Husted want the state to pay for 10,000 nanodegrees a year to Ohio workers to help them upgrade their 21st century job skills and help them earn better pay. The credential program would provide online education in areas like robotics and cyber security.
“It helps employers have access to the talent they need, and also gives people the job skills to help them earn more,” Husted said. “It could be more valuable than a college degree.”
Husted also made campaign visits to Akron, Aurora and Avon Lake before making the trip back to Columbus in the afternoon.