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Questions to Ted Strickland

October 17, 2010
Tribune Chronicle

We asked the two gubernatorial candidates their views on six different questions.

Here are the questions and answers:

Would you seek to have Congress repeal the health care reform bill?

As a result of health care reform, nearly one million uninsured Ohioans will, for the first time, have a pathway to affordable health insurance. Insurance companies will no longer decide who gets quality health care in this country and who does not. Children with pre-existing conditions will immediately be protected from being denied health care. Young college graduates can remain on their parents' policy while searching for their first job. And, senior citizens will have access to continuous drug coverage, without the gap that happens with the existing prescription drug donut hole.

Do you view the Cap and Trade legislation as helpful or harmful to the Ohio economy?

As governor, I have stood up to the Obama administration on its climate change approach. While I feel that climate change is an important issue that should be addressed, it needs to be done in a manner that takes into account the importance of Ohio's coal industry and our manufacturing base that relies on affordable power. I will continue to oppose the Obama administration's approach until Ohio's needs are addressed.

Would you encourage Congress to extend or make permanent the Bush tax cuts for all Americans?

As governor, I have cut taxes for Ohioans. Our state's income tax has been reduced by 17 percent since 2005. Additionally, I have cut taxes for seniors, Ohio businesses, military retirees and on advanced energy projects that create Ohio jobs, like a new solar farm that will be built in Ohio. This project will create more than 600 construction and manufacturing jobs.

Do you support President Obama's education initiatives?

As governor, I passed an ambitious education reform plan. Under my administration, our K-12 education system has gone from 27th to 5th in the nation. Ohio was the only state in the nation to freeze college tuition during the recession. We have nearly 66,000 more Ohioans enrolled in higher education today than when I took office.

I believe that the quality of a child's education should not depend on his or her zip code. All students deserve a 21st century education that will allow them to reach their fullest potential. The new school reforms I signed into law will increase the state's share of funding for education from 48 percent to 61 percent, reducing local property tax burdens and ensuring that students in rural districts have the same opportunities available to them as their peers in other parts of Ohio.

Our work was validated in August when Ohio was one of 12 states to win federal Race to the Top funds. These funds will be used to educate Ohio's children for the new global economy. Our goal is to use this opportunity to take Ohio's education system from 5th to 1st in the country.

I support much of the education work by the Obama administration at all levels, including early care and education, K-12 education, higher education and workforce training. However, the president and I have differing positions on charter schools.

I am deeply troubled by Congressman Kasich's desire to repeal our landmark education reforms. Repealing our reforms would take Ohio back to an unconstitutional, inequitable system of funding and shift the burden back to local communities, causing property taxes to increase.

Would you urge Congress to pass or kill the Employee Free Choice Act, which would deny workers the right to a secret ballot on union organization and would require a federal mediator dictate a labor contract if the company and union cannot agree in a definite time period?

As governor, I will not have a vote on this legislation. As a member of Congress and as governor, I have been a supporter of collective bargaining and the minimum wage, and I opposed free trade agreements that have outsourced Ohio jobs. On the other hand, my opponent Congressman Kasich voted for free trade agreements that outsourced our jobs and voted against raising the minimum wage.

What specifically would you do to make Ohio more enticing and friendly to those wishing to relocate businesses to Ohio?

To create good jobs here in Ohio, we must continue to improve education, make Ohio more business-friendly, and invest in high-growth industries just as we have done over the last four years.

During my administration, we held college tuition in Ohio to the lowest increase in the nation. Today, nearly 66,000 more Ohioans are enrolled in our universities than in 2006 and record numbers of unemployed Ohioans are getting the skills they need for the new economy. As we know, businesses will locate where they can find the most skilled workers.

We have made it easier to do business in Ohio by continuing to reduce business taxes and erasing and amending over 2,000 state rules to make them easier for businesses to follow. Today, Ohio's small business climate is the best in the Midwest and our taxes are the lowest.

We have combated the recession with targeted investments in high-growth industries like advanced energy and clean coal.

We are already seeing the results of our work. A fresh water wind farm will be built on Lake Erie, a new coal mine is opening up in eastern Ohio, and AEP has announced the construction of one of the largest solar projects in the country in southeast Ohio.

I also strongly support the job creation and business attraction efforts of the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Governor's Office of Appalachia. These programs bring additional investments into Ohio to improve infrastructure and add jobs.

Unfortunately, my opponent has routinely tried to cut funding or eliminate the Appalachian Regional Commission. When recently asked if the Kasich-Taylor ticket has rethought their opposition to the ARC, they refused to express their support for this Commission and the important economic development resources it provides.



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