COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio Gov. John Kasich is turning to a retail executive of a company who owns a brand best known for its undergarments in an effort to help dress up the state.
The governor said Wednesday that Les Wexner, the founder and chairman of L Brands Inc., has agreed to come up with marketing ideas to help tell the state's story.
"So I don't know whether we're going to have a Victoria's Secret-type marketing plan for Ohio, but it isn't a bad thought, is it?" Kasich joked to a gathering of business leaders and Chamber of Commerce officials at a downtown hotel in Columbus.
The Columbus-based company, formerly known as Limited Brands, operates the lingerie retailer along with Bath & Body Works.
"When people get on an airplane and they move to Ohio, they never leave," Kasich said. "It's getting them here to understand what we have."
The governor told reporters after the event that he wasn't sure how the marketing effort with Wexner would work. But he said, "The guy's a brilliant marketer, and we couldn't have anybody better that's shown a great interest in Ohio."
Kasich was joined Wednesday by his fellow Republicans who control the General Assembly to discuss what they viewed as accomplishments for the year and upcoming priorities for 2014, when he faces re-election.
The GOP governor noted that Ohio has had successes in battling prescription drug abuse, but heroin has become an increasing problem in communities.
Kasich said officials plan to launch a statewide drug prevention program early next year aimed at middle school and high school students to inform them of the dangers of drugs.
"Our young people have moved from oxycontin to heroin," he said. "We need to give them a reason to say no."
Also on Wednesday, Kasich and Republican leaders announced support for a proposal to renew a public works program that funds improvements to roads, bridges and other infrastructure needs. Senators introduced a resolution to ask voters to approve a 10-year renewal of the program. The plan would increase the bond funding levels to $175 million annually for the first five years and then $200 million each year for the remaining five years.
Senate backers say it's their goal for the proposal to clear the Legislature by the end of January so it could appear on May ballots.