HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ohio - Looking back on his first 12 months in office Gov. John Kasich takes a moment to savor the successes and reflect on the losses, but only a moment.
“I kind of don’t live in the past and I don’t spend a lot of time living in the future, I kind of live in the present,” said Kasich.
Looking back though he says he did learn one thing, “when you want to bring big change you have to prepare people for why it’s needed and if you don’t prepare them then they might not accept it and if you can’t show them that there’s a problem then it’s pretty hard to fix it.”
His words apply to the fight over Senate Bill 5, the state’s collective bargaining reform law passed by the legislature this spring, rejected by voters this fall.
“I offered some tools that I thought could be helpful to communities, communities didn’t like them by and large, the voters didn’t want them. It’s done,” he said.
“We’ve had an ocean of change from K-12, through higher education to the prisons to Medicaid, health care, I mean whether it’s construction reform, higher ed reform, it doesn’t matter. In an ocean of change sometimes the shark gets you but we got a lot of the sharks this year.”
Kasich points to his successes in luring and keeping jobs in Ohio, the state’s up around 65,000 private sector jobs since January, they’re the fastest growing state in the Midwest he says and the eighth fastest growing in the country.
“Look we were in a deep, deep, deep hole,” he said. “It’s going to take a while to get out of that hole and it’s probably going to take a while for the Browns to get into the playoffs,” he jokingly added pointing to positive turnarounds don’t always happen overnight.
The state’s efforts often fall into one of two categories.
“There are incoming calls where you have to respond quickly and compete and then of course there are efforts you do on an outbound basis, Sears in a way was outbound,” said Kasich of his effort to lure the catalog giant from it’s home state of Illinois.
“We didn’t get Sears, but it put us on the map,” he said. That came, he said, by getting the state’s house in order. “By eliminating the deficit getting an improvement in our credit from Standard & Poors, reducing some of these taxes, common sense regulations, the word is kind of getting out that it’s safe to go in the water.”
Not knowing was keeping business he says at bay.
“If you’re a business and you want to expand or if you’re a business and you want to come here you're looking at will it work, I don't want any surprises. I think we've been able to build a reputation that we're not going to surprise you with some crazy things that's going to whack you upside the head and disrupt your business that's the best way I can put it."
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