FitzGerald visits Valley

YOUNGSTOWN – Democratic gubernatorial nominee Ed FitzGerald spent some time Saturday in Youngstown to talk about his plans for Ohio and the Mahoning Valley. He spoke briefly at the Mahoning County Democratic office in Youngstown to a handful of Democrats and members of the media.

At the forefront of his discussion were workers’ rights, women’s rights, standing up for the poor, investing in the local community, supporting public education and raising the minimum wage.

The Cuyahoga County executive is challenging Gov. John Kasich, who is running for a second term.

“The Valley’s been hit very, very, very hard,” he said.

Also taking the brunt, according to FitzGerald, is the working class.

“How many of you know someone who’s trying to make it on minimum wage … working two or three jobs … living paycheck to paycheck?” he asked.

He cited an instance where Kasich called the economy “a miracle” and said he is out of touch with most working Americans.

“We’re 38th in the country for job creation. We’ve got to head in a different direction,” he said.

FitzGerald said he agrees with the proposal to increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10.

“I think it will help,” he said, but admitted that he didn’t think it would be an overall solution.

“You have to have a minimum wage that rewards overall work,” he said. FitzGerald said furthermore that the current minimum wage – $7.95 in the state of Ohio – is just not up to par with the cost of living.

Another thing on FitzGerald’s radar involved the state of public education. He criticized Kasich for millions of dollars in recent cuts and and called the Third Grade Reading Guarantee a “third grade reading ultimatum.”

“Why are they holding charter schools to a lower standard?” he asked.

He gave two reasons: One, he said, is because of an attempt to privatize education; and two, in order to fund their campaign.

In his closing remarks, he told Democratic workers that if he is selected as governor in the upcoming election, he will make frequent stops in the Valley.

He said he will attempt to answer questions such as, “How do we make the Valley as strong as it used to be?”