RAVENNA, Ohio - In the cafeteria of the Maplewood Career Center in Ravenna, Ohio Gov. John Kasich found Tuesday night something he hasn't seen on the Statehouse lawn, a large number of voters who are willing to publicly stand up in support of Issue 2.
The rally of around 300 Portage County Republicans and Tea Party members was held to show support for the effort to uphold the state's new collective bargaining law.
Since the earliest days in the fight over Senate Bill 5, the rallies, held first at the Statehouse, have been almost entirely in opposition. The reforms affect roughly 360,000 public employees and they've turned out in large numbers in an effort to first try to block the bill then to collect signatures to force a referendum.
Those in Portage County though say the support for Issue 2 is quiet but strong. "I really believe that," said Tom Zawistowski of the Portage County Tea Party. "When I'm going door to door where I'm facing voters and I'm asking them will you vote, they'll actually shake my hand and say I'm gonna go vote."
Kasich told the crowd the provisions of SB 5 were put in place to help local government control costs while dealing with decreased funding from the state.
Without it Kasich said the choices are few. "So you cut services or you have layoffs or you raise taxes, none of those options are good," said Kasich.
Kasich also pointed out that while Ohio may be getting the bulk of attention in this fight, we are not alone.
"Rhode Island is on the road to Bankruptcy, [Gov.] Jerry Brown unveils a pension reform plan in California that is shocking everybody. We see Harrisburg, Pennsylvania going bankrupt," he said. "I mean this is just not going to go away."
Opponents of Issue 2 say what Ohio has done has taken the reforms too far. They've outspent their opponents and hold a strong lead in the latest Quinnipiac poll.
Even still Kasich says they will continue to fight until next Tuesday.
"You know whenever you take on big issues it's always difficult but I didn't come in to not do big things and like I said I think we're winning and we'll see what the public has to say and believe me I will listen to what they have to say."
Continue to check newsnet5.com and NewsChannel5 for the latest on this rally and all election updates leading up to next Tuesday's general election.