Ohio State of the State Address 2011

COLUMBUS, Ohio – March 8 – Following is the prepared text of Gov. John Kasich's (R) 2011 state of the state address:

Well, first of all, I don't want to screw this up, my wife Karen Kasich is in the gallery. Could you recognize her, please? I know you all wonder how I caught her. I wonder about it sometimes also. You know, the other thing is the days have kind of ticked along. Some of the early — some of the early wanderlust was kind of disappearing, but walking down this aisle today and seeing my old buddy Paul Pfeifer — he sat right behind me when I was a member of the Ohio Senate — just takes me back so many years ago. 1975 was the first time I ever walked into this State Capital. I worked over in the State Senate as an aide. I see Karen Gillmor, I worked for her husband. And, you know, to just come here today and walk and be standing up here, I've got a message for you, for every one of you, anything's possible.

You know, Ohio is a great place. And it's — frankly, I'm a little taken aback at moments like this, but, frankly, I think I was put here for a good reason. And I thank the Lord for the blessings that he's given me throughout my lifetime, and I thank the Lord for the members of this General Assembly. The state of the State and the future of Ohio is in our hands. And I believe it is up to us as we reach a crossroads to decide if we will have the courage, if we will have the vision, if we will have the determination to make sure that our great state has renewed strength in this 21st Century, renewed strength. Many of you here today have been hungry to do something. Let us not let this opportunity pass to strengthen Ohio in this 21st Century. The enemy in Ohio right now is joblessness. The enemy in Ohio right now is poverty. And it is up to all of us to work together to defeat that enemy. Are you ready to defeat poverty and homelessness in Ohio?

Before we begin to talk about what we need to do, I need to spend a little bit of time and talk about the problems we have in this state. We have to recognize the difficulty we have before we understand the challenge and why we need to meet the challenge of our difficulties. Folks, we've lost 600,000 jobs in the last 10 years. Let's think about this: Only California, which has completely lost its way, and Michigan, which has been devastated by the auto industry, have lost more jobs. Only California and Michigan have fared worse than our beloved Buckeye State. And, of course, we've lost more than 400,000 jobs over these last four years. Things have been accelerating. As a result, we have experienced unacceptable levels of poverty and homelessness. I can remember during the campaign going to Ashtabula County and having a young girl walk up to me and say, Mister, please don't tax my eggs. I go door to door and this is how I make a living. Please, Mister, don't break my business. You don't forget that.

Young people, you know, our kids and our grandkids are leaving this state for better opportunities. One-third of Ohio college graduates are leaving this state within three years of graduating. Our best and our brightest, our seed corn, have decided that they need to go somewhere else to realize their hopes and dreams. That's a terrible situation. Too many of our successful entrepreneurs flee the state to escape high taxation. And what I would say to all of you, Republicans and Democrats alike, you talk to those folks that have moved to Naples and you ask them why they have left. And they will tell you because they get a better deal. They get to keep more of what they have earned in their lifetime. And when they leave, we lose their money. You know, that's one thing. We lose the jobs, we lose their entrepreneurial spirit, we lose their ingenuity. See, they're the ones that can see the future. They're the ones that can take ideas from the back of their head and translate it into something that can change Ohio, change America and change the world, and they've been leaving. And now they take their charitable giving and they give it to a faraway place to maybe build an opera house in Naples, Florida, rather than helping to rebuild the opera house in our small communities across Ohio.

You know, I've been to Cleveland a lot lately. I think yesterday was my 10th visit. I love Cleveland because when I'm in Cleveland, I feel — I feel like I just left McKees Rocks. Cleveland and Youngstown — people say, why do you go to Youngstown? It's in my blood. My mailman dad and that blue collar McKees Rocks I grew up in is just a stone's throw from Youngstown. Cleveland and Youngstown have lost 50 percent of their population since 1950. Fifty percent of the population of Cleveland and Youngstown gone. And I will take your breath away by telling you that the city where the north meets the south, Cincinnati, has lost 40 percent of its population since 1950. The state of Texas grew faster in five and a half months than Ohio did in the last 10 years. And as a result, we've lost two congressional seats. Two congressional seats. Texas gains four or five. It's like taking a shotgun and blowing a piece of your body out. You lose those congressional seats, you lose your influence, you lose your experience, you lose your voice in a faraway city where they need to hear the voice of Ohio, the voice of the heartland.

I'm here to tell you that this trend must be stopped and we're going to do it. We're going to stop this trend with Republicans and Democrats if I have to pull the Democrats across the aisle myself personally. We are going to get this done, Jason. We are going to stop this trend, and we can create a platform for entrepreneurship, teach your kids about entrepreneurship. The ability to be their own boss and to create wealth and be successful and realize their dreams. We can have entrepreneurship and job growth based on the formulas that have made Ohio great in the past and it makes America stronger through every single downturn. And you know what it is: Common sense, hard work, innovation. To my friends here, we cannot tax our way to prosperity. We're one of the highest taxed states in America, and we're not competitive. You get these calls from — from companies saying we're thinking about going, we can't make a profit here, we can't make the numbers work. Well, Ohio has been under siege and not just from India and China. And, oh, yes, we live in a global world, and they're looking every day to take our simple products and move them overseas. And I want all of you to know that I have told one Chinese delegation after another that we don't like the fact that you manipulate your currency, we do not like the fact that you don't play on a level playing field when you trade with us, and it will stop. And we will be a strong voice in Ohio to make sure we get our fair share, India and China — they have us under. But, you know, we're also under siege from Indiana, Kentucky, Georgia. Those from Dayton, NCR, gone. An empty building. We're under siege from North Carolina, from Florida, from Texas. They all come inside the boundaries of Ohio and they try to lure away our best and brightest. They take our jobs, sometimes they take our job creators out of our beloved Buckeye State. We're not going to let that continue. We cannot afford to let that continue. But I must also tell my colleagues here today that while I believe we can't tax our way to prosperity, we can't cut our way there either. We cannot cut our way there either. If you examine any successful business, it's absolutely critical that that business controls its costs. Ohio is going to have to control its costs only to set the stage for the creation of new products just like businesses. You see, they control their costs, they create new products, they find new customers, and they develop innovative solutions. And this is what allows the great companies to flourish, whether it is Google or whether it is Yahoo, whether it's Oracle. Every day they think about controlling costs and devising new and exciting ways to solve problems.

Google is in the dictionary. I met those guys when they drove in a Volkswagen with their inline skates tied to roof, and they've changed the world. They have changed the world. And the same formula that allows businesses to flourish, it's the same formula that can allow us to build a strong Ohio. Yes, control our costs and begin to innovate. We are putting a budget together that can transform our state. If you've seen a lot of change in these first seven weeks, you ain't seen nothing yet. We are going to transform this state. I think I stood a couple times for Bill Clinton in his State of the Union. Maybe I can get him up before the day is over. We'll see.

Well, let me tell you, because there's some good things that we've already done. You know, we are going to reform government, okay? It's going to happen. And I'm — I'm asking you all to keep an open mind about the possibilities of reform because you can't keep doing the same thing in this state and avoiding the decisions that need to be made that have been put off for political reasons, frankly. That's what it's been all about. Too much politics. Too much worrying about ourselves and our party and not enough about the folks that put us in office. We're going to preserve our income tax cut that we got in January because that's going to allow us to be more competitive. We will not be raising taxes in this state. And by the way — by the way, this has nothing to do with ideology. This has to do with the notion that if we drive our costs up, we can't compete. The higher our costs are, the more opportunity another state has to come in here and offer a better deal, so that's why we can't raise taxes. You know, we're going to have to reduce spending. But what we're going to do is provide the tools to help those with fewer resources to deal with the change. That's what we're trying to do. And everything we're moving forward, it's designed to let you be able to manage your costs and deal with fewer dollars. Because if we can control our spending and begin to innovate as we have started, this will allow us to create a platform for economic growth. We need to restore the incentives for risk-taking. We need to restore entrepreneurship, and most important, spur the creation of jobs in our state.

And let me just have you think about this: If you've spent a lifetime building a business, let's say you've built Cardinal Health. You built it from the trunk of your car and you created something that has lifted families and allowed families to educate their kids, and who knows what's happened with those kids, huh? Maybe they're doctors. Maybe they're teachers. Maybe they're policemen and firemen that will run into a building and save somebody. These are people who have been educated. And now when the gentleman that builds that business decides to sell part of that business, if he lives in Ohio, he's paying as much as 22 or 23 cents on every dollar he sells. If he lives in some parts of Florida, he's paying 15 percent. Now, where do you think you're going to live? You're going to live where it pays off to honor the work that you did.

And I want you to understand that a rising tide of revenue that is created by creating jobs in this state, it helps everybody. It helps our families. It helps our communities. It saves our schools. It helps our hospitals. You see, we can't keep going backwards. We can't keep losing hundreds of thousands in jobs. It just kills our little communities. It sucks the energy out. But if we can get back to a growth agenda where people say, I want to risk-take, I want to invest, I want to put back into the state of Ohio, we'll have a growth agenda.

It was John Kennedy that said, "A rising tide lifts all boats." He was right when he said it in 1962. Of course, that's as true today as it was then. But, folks, this budget — and you're going to get a look at it next Tuesday. This budget deals with an unprecedented $8 billion hole. People say they did a good job. I come to work, I've got an $8 billion hole. Never happened before in Ohio's history. Well, I tell you what, we've been looking at this for a long time and we believe in not just cutting a budget — oh, there will be cuts, but that's not the way to get there. We believe in restructuring. Restructuring means providing a better product at a lower cost to the taxpayer. We have to do as much restructuring, and I would invite everyone when you see this budget to think about other things, other innovative solutions that can help us to get our job done by providing a better solution at a lower cost. And I want to tell you about a couple of them. And we're — I can't wait to unveil so much of this next week.

If your mom and dad want to stay at home instead of going into a nursing home, we should help make that happen. You get what I'm saying? Mom and dad can stay at home. Instead of going into a nursing home, go and talk to your mom and dad about going in a nursing home sometime. You know what will happen if they can stay at home and get help? They're going to be happier and more comfortable and taxpayers will save a bundle of money. This has been discussed for decades. It is time to get this done. You see, back when I told people — back when I told people, get on the bus or the bus is going to run you over, this was the message to powerful special interests that change is coming. Work with us. This has not happened because politics was placed first. Oh, and nobody should kid anybody else, this was about a money game. That's why we didn't let mom and dad have the resources necessary to be in their own home rather than a nursing home. We've got to do this together, folks.

Republicans and Democrats have long favored sentencing reform. Oh, we didn't get to this because we were afraid also. Forty-seven percent of our inmates sit in our state prisons for less than a year and they sometimes sit next to hardened criminals. It raises the recidivism rate, costs taxpayers a fortune. Again, to everyone who's here, 47 percent of people are in that prison for less than a year and we're sticking them in there next to somebody who's been a hardened criminal, a murderer, or God knows what else. And then they get out and their lives in too many cases are ruined. It doesn't even make any sense. And the reason we haven't changed it is because of fear. Well, Seitz, you didn’t work with me on the last bill, but you're going to get some sentencing reform in this budget bill, and — And, Seitz, I have to tell you, if you whine or complain, I'm taking your name off this, okay? It's wiped out. But you know what? We need to restrain them in a setting — restrain them in a setting that makes sense. We've got to keep the public safe. But think about if we can keep them somewhere where we save money, reduce the recidivism rate and they can be rehabbed and go out and get a job.

And by the way, to the Black Caucus, I must tell you, I am deeply, deeply troubled by the issue of some of these felony convictions. I met with a couple members of the Black Caucus, I can't remember who told me this, but there was a gentleman working at the Cleveland Clinic for seven or eight years. Had a spotless record. When he filled out his paperwork, he said he hadn't had a felony conviction. And when they found out, they fired him. You know, we went to bat for this lady in Akron. Charging her with a felony because she's trying to protect her kids and not have kids wandering the streets and have kids that are protected. I've sent it to the parole board. Members of the Legislature, we don't want to ruin people's lives if there is a chance to give them a second chance if it is appropriate, and we have to work through it together. We don't want to wreck somebody forever when it makes no sense. But let's get some friendships going on this one, okay? Let's work this felony thing. I want a conservative Republican and a liberal Democrat and I want to end the political nonsense. Let's get together and solve a problem together, okay? That's what I would like to see. Okay.

I'm also very proud of Ohio's mental health director, Tracy Plouck. This lady is something. She's executing a plan that will reform our mental health system, which means we will not need to build more buildings at the expense of our clients. At the same time, we can reduce operating expenses for the taxpayers of our state. And let me tell you what the story is. There was some sort of an informal commitment to build a building in downtown Cleveland. We have a mental health facility in Northfield, just across the border in Summit County. Tracy came to me and said, we have a current dilapidated facility in Cuyahoga County. We were there all the time, emergency, the building is falling apart. But, John, if you will allow me to take and renovate the Summit — the Northfield facility in Summit County and not build the building in Cleveland, I will have no need for any capital improvements over the next four years and I can save $4 million a year in operating expenses.

And she went up to see the mayor. You know, I know Frank Jackson and I at some point are going to have some big blow-up, but I've got to tell you, he's a terrific man. He's got a great heart. He's an executive. I've taken my kids to see him. I want him to go sled riding down there in Cleveland stadium. He didn't have the guts for that one, but that's okay. (Laughter) But Tracy had to go see the mayor. And I had to call the mayor and say, Mayor, I can't do the building because I've got to put the mentally ill first. The mayor said, I understand, but there's other things that we do for Cleveland because we want to rebuild it. So in this case, we reduce operating expenses, we save money on capital improvements and the people who are mentally ill are better taken care of. We don't do that very often, and we're going to learn from it.

Greg Moody — you know, I don't know how this cabinet ever came together. It's just amazing to me. The guy takes a giant pay cut. His wife's a minister. She said, I know where your heart is, Greg, you've got to go work for him. I'll do double prayers. He's our Director of Health Transformation. I decided to create it. And think about this, we have this Medicaid program and he's designed this whole business of home healthcare. Think about this, we have Medicaid separated into six separate divisions inside the state of Ohio. One of them, by the way, was located in the Department of Aging. And our director said to us one day, she said, I have a half a billion dollars of Medicaid funding inside of my budget and I want to give it up because it doesn't make sense for it to be there. I was lucky I didn't break my arm when I fell off my chair. You never hear this.

But the team has worked together and Greg has assembled them, and we're making great strides in Medicaid. And I want to explain to you that the Medicaid proposal we are going to come with, it's very far-reaching. It's very reform-oriented. It's forward-looking. It's the kind of things that we all say we ought to do because it makes sense. I don't want to have to have a person run to an emergency room if we can have somebody available, a primary care doctor to take care of them in the middle of the night. You know how much money that saves? And you know how much more humane it is? Have you ever sat in the emergency room? How about, you know, if we have a program that says we ought to coordinate care?

You remember when you took your mom into the hospital and she was in there for three or four days and when she checked out, she signed the paperwork, they pushed the wheelchair like they did to my mother-in-law to the curb, and she gets in the car and doesn't know what's next. How about if we coordinate her care and direct her to the setting where she can have the best treatment? See, that's the kind of thing that makes sense. Let me tell you what Greg is thinking about here. We're going to do a better job taking care of low birth weight babies by taking better care of their mothers. Low birth weight babies — let me tell you what we're talking about, low birth weight babies face serious health risks. And I know my kids come out at four-two and four-four, my sweet Emma and Reese. But they weren't the really low birth weight babies because they got to go home. But the ones that have those serious health risks, they incur six times the costs as other babies. And by the way, Robbie Nichols, my press secretary, had a little baby boy yesterday, Carson, seven pounds. He's not one of those — but we need to understand that low birth weight is a trend that tends to repeat itself. Now, I think we can help these mothers and their babies by staying in touch with them and how about give them the prenatal care they need so that we don't have more low weight babies born? We can take — we can't solve it all, but we certainly can solve some of it. And with just a little extra effort, we can make life better for the most vulnerable Ohioans by also giving taxpayers better value and making Medicaid more sustainable.

Well, we need to think outside of the box on Medicaid. And if we do work together, we can be forward-thinking. Education, K-12 and post-secondary, of course it's critical to our economic future. But I want to tell you, more choice, more accountability, more dollars in the classroom instead of bureaucracy will improve our schools, and we are going to have a significant reform agenda — by linking our education system with business opportunities, commercializing more products from our universities, letting our professors' research team own a piece of what they invent. It's going to improve higher education. All of these reforms are going to make us much stronger.

Got a report, 63,000 unfilled jobs in Ohio. You meet with these CEOs and they say, we don't have the workers. We don't have the skills. Diebold put a part of their operation on the campus at Stark State to train them. I was at Honda last week. Honda needs flow. They need people who can make sure that robots are working all the time, but we don't — we have not been able to connect both K-12 and the vocational education and the higher education and our technical schools and community colleges and our universities to real stuff. We have to get that done. And we're going to work like crazy on it.

I also want to tell you, it was Friday night or Saturday night, I had some dinner with my buddies, and I went out and bought the movie “Waiting for Superman.” I'm going to show this movie here in the state of Ohio. You watch this movie, it will get you angry, it will get you frustrated, it will make you cry, and it will get you to begin to stand up for our kids when you have an opportunity. You see, I — I've been in Harlem with Geoff Canada and seen the struggle that goes on. When you see you don't have enough choice and mothers — just like that lady in Akron, she wasn't complaining about the education, but she wasn't sure her kids were going to be safe. She had no choice to go anywhere else, because the choice probably ran out or she was unaware of it. And then they put a ball and they do like a lottery and they pick the ball out and I won and you lost. And I won and you lost to our kids? Shame on us. It's unacceptable.

You deny a kid an education, a secure education, you're killing their future. Nothing should stand in our way of making Ohio an ability to lead in this country and be able to compete in the world. And we better commit ourselves to this and get this fixed. You know, let me give you one other astounding thing, do you know that Teach for America is not in Ohio? Do you know that we have kept them out? Because we're — we have to jump through hoops and cross T's and dot I's while the best and the brightest are available to teach in other parts of America? Oh, Teach for America is coming to Ohio. I promise you that. It's coming to Ohio.

Folks, it's not all easy, though. Because reform and restructuring cannot take us all the way to a balanced budget. It can't. Years of neglect, switching programs into the next fiscal year, smoke and mirrors, refusing to address the basic fundamental structural problems of our budget. That's what it is, a structural imbalance in our budget because we didn't take care of the foundation. See, we can't get all the way with restructuring. But you know what we're trying to do? As I mentioned earlier, we're trying to provide the tools to those affected to help them to absorb the loss of revenue and resources. We're trying to give everybody flexibility from state rules and regulations. Let's have common sense. We need to repeal these unfunded mandates that where we imposed — you know, we don't like when the federal government comes and shoves things down our throat. We have no right to shove things down local government's throat and tell them that they've got to figure out a way to pay for it.

So we need to work together to repeal these unfunded mandates. We need to employ shared services with everybody. The county executive in Cuyahoga County said there were roadblocks to his being able to share things across these governmental entities. Schools need to share services with cities. And, frankly, folks, the provisions of collective bargaining reform are examples of what we wanted to do to allow people to be able to control their costs. And by the way, I appreciate the passion of people that don't agree with us, you know? I grew up in the '70s. I learned what protests were in the '70s. I understand it. And people who are strongly — people who feel strongly, I respect them. But they need to also respect those that don't always agree with them, okay?

Now, I have to tell you that what I'm most concerned about in this budget, I'm most concerned about people who relied on stimulus money to continue to operate or even expand their programs. They're the ones that are going to have the hardest time coping with the change. I warned for two years, do not take stimulus money and use it to operate your budget. Do not take stimulus money and use it to expand your budget, because I've always known that what the federal government giveth, the federal government taketh away. And no family, no family would operate on one-time money to just have business as usual when they know the change is coming. But those entities that have done this, it's going to be tough for them. Trying to give you the tools, but I can't fill that stimulus gap. It is not going to happen. It is not doable. They should have been preparing.

Mary Taylor and I both warned, Mary repeatedly across this state, not to use that one-time stimulus money to continue operations or expand them. They're the ones that are going to have the most difficult time, but we'll see what we can do to help. Now, I want to thank the Legislature for the passage of Jobs Ohio. Look, this was really, really hard for Capri Cafaro to rally the Democrats in the Senate to vote for one of my most important initiatives. It took guts. I respect her for it. Don't you? But one more time — but one more time I just want to tell you this bill and this operation, we're going to get the best and the brightest that we can find in Ohio, people who are these entrepreneurs and job creators. They'll be on the board. People will know what the heck they get, who they are. They're not going to get paid any money because they don't need any money. They're just here to give back to Ohio because Ohio's been good to them.

And we will hire underneath them people who are experts, people who understand how do we restore manufacturing in Ohio, how do we build a stronger healthcare operation in Ohio, how do we recapture financial services and insurance and banking? You've got to have people that can talk the talk and they move quickly. I'll tell you about moving quickly. The Avengers are coming to Cleveland because we move quickly, because we have people that understood the speed of business. And now we're going to have a great film in Ohio because Michigan dropped the ball and we moved quickly. But we need to move quickly. We need to move quickly in every area, because business moves at the speed of light. The paying public will have an audit. But don't think in the box when it comes to JobsOhio. Think about the ability to get the best and the brightest. Folks, our people need work. Let's not shut down any opportunity that could allow our people to get work. They need it.

I also want to thank the Legislature for the passage of this Common Sense Initiative. This is Mary's deal. I'll tell you what we're going to do, let's figure out what stupid rules and regulations we have that kill small business's ability to get up and running, and I want to look at the concept of micro loans. You know, we do micro loans for countries in Africa. We ought to do micro loans here in our core cities. And we do not want to choke these people with rules and regulations that make no sense. We're working with the small business community, the bigger business community, our government operations. End the friction. We'll have more jobs and we want all of you to participate. And, of course, I want to thank you -- I think almost a unanimous vote in the House and the Senate to pass these tax incentives to save Ohio business. These programs — and this bipartisanship — with the combination of lower taxes, smarter regulations, job-friendly government, and answering the phone, can allow people to move at the speed of business.

So yesterday I go to Cleveland, Brooklyn. I didn't know how they were going to set this stuff up. I’ve got some good people to figure out kind of cool ways to set things up, you know? And I walk in, and there in Brooklyn at American Greetings are all these employees. Frankly, I mean, if somebody were to tell you they're thinking about moving out of state, you wouldn't like it. It would scare you. Where are the kids going to go to school? Can I afford to move? What am I going to do? Walk in there yesterday and be able to have a solid package and have the CEO of American Greetings say that I am going to commit to saving $157 million worth of payroll. We will maintain creative jobs in Cleveland, and we will lead the country, and we don't need to get anybody from Palo Alto, California. We're going to get them to move to Cleveland because we are progressive, we are moving in the right direction, and we preserve 2,000 jobs in the city of Cleveland because of all of your help. It's a great day for Ohio, a great day or Ohio.

And there's a lot more coming, there's a lot more coming on this front. But we need the powder, we need the resources to compete with these other states that are in here trying to take the best and the brightest of what we have. You know, I want to thank, frankly, the Democrats for coming over on some of these votes. It's always easy, of course, to thank those who are always there. I want to thank the Republicans for standing tall throughout this first — seems like it's seven years; it's only been seven weeks, okay? As hard as that is to believe. But, you know, I always worked in a bipartisan way when I was a United States Congressman. Ron Dellums, liberal Democrat, Oakland, California, I love Ron Dellums, one of my great friends. You know, I went to his wedding in California. I sat at a table with Willie Brown, Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein. And I was the only Republican in San Francisco that day. But Dellums is coming here. He and I worked together, two lonely guys, trying to limit the production of the B-2 bomber. People thought we were — well, first of all, they called us the odd couple. A lot more, obviously, handsome than I am, and a brilliant man. Yeah, the Pentagon wanted 132. We ended up reaching agreement on 20 and saved a billion dollars a copy, and we built a team of Republicans and Democrats that limited the production of a major weapons system. I am told it never happened before in the 20th Century. It was great to work with Republican and Democratic colleagues, including Ralph Nader, who sang a little song in my office to fight corporate welfare. And I'll tell you how I feel about it, Mark Kvamme just clawed back about $900,000 from companies that made promises and they didn't keep them. We're not going to give taxpayers' money to people who are not going to keep their promise. We're going after the money. That's the way it ought to be. So with corporate welfare, we're on it, okay?

And, of course, I love the work that I was involved in with Teddy Kennedy and Jesse Helms and Bono in an effort to fight poverty. You know, it's a great story. I got a call from The Terminator. Arnold said, you need to meet this man, he's out there, he's meeting with every big official all over the world, he's got a program to do debt relief in Africa. And I'd always felt that foreign aid was a little bit of corporate welfare, but I always thought it could be applied well so that if we actually did immunize somebody or vaccinate them in another part of the world when extremists were shouting and criticizing America, the woman there would stand up and say, you may not like them, but they vaccinated my kid. See, I like that idea. Arnold said, you've got to meet this guy. I said, what's his name? He said, you never heard of him. I said, what's his name, Arnold? He says, you've never heard of him. I said, what's his name? He said, his name is Bono. I said, Arnold, I'm not an Austrian bricklayer, I know who Bono is. So Bono and I sat down, and he talked about his faith. The song "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" is not about something he misplaced. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For. Bono says, you're not getting me in to see enough congressmen and senators. I said — this was in the early days — I said, Bono, look, you're wearing a black leather suit, Prada shoes, and those crazy sunglasses, they don't want to be seen with you. He said, John, the guys in my band, they don't want me to be seen with you. Well, we won. And just a couple years ago, my wife and I went to Rwanda at the request of Bono. Began to see some miracles of reconciliation. It worked.

You know, we now need unanimous bipartisan support to fight the scourge in this country and in this state of prescription drug addiction in Ohio. We are engaging the enemy. We have already worked to provide $400,000 to Scioto County for treatment and rehab programs to help get people back to work. We're seeking additional federal matching dollars to fight the scourge of this drug addiction across our state. We have created a coalition of government, community leaders, who have already demonstrated incredible teamwork in implementing a plan to free Ohioans who are trapped in homelessness and despair. And we’ve got Terry Johnson and Dave Burke and Danny Bubp over here in the House with legislation, and we've got Jimmy Stewart ready to take it and move it in the Senate. I'm going to tell you, folks, Barbara Howard — and I'm going to have her stand in a second — in 2009, her daughter died from an overdose of prescription drugs. She is a founding member of SOLACE. Now, I met these ladies right before I was inaugurated. I had been to Scioto County. I had heard about this drug addiction problem as I campaigned in southern Ohio most particularly. And these ladies stood there, about a dozen of them, maybe 15 of them, in these green shirts. Every one of them buried somebody because of this addiction. It's something that a lot of people don't understand. They don't even know that it's out there. But it is as significant and dangerous as heroin addiction in this country and in this state. Ed Hughes, he's in the counseling center down there in Scioto County. Beth Dunlap, who's here today also, she's recovering. Can you imagine recovering from an addiction? None of us understand that monster. She's two years out. She's going to go work in a counseling center. I have said -- I'm going to say it again — the devil had been running Scioto County. And you know what? These people were alone, they were vulnerable, at times they felt hopeless. Guess what? The cavalry has arrived, and you will not stand alone, and this legislature will not let you stand alone. Please recognize Ed Hughes, Beth Dunlap, and Barbara Howard.

I want to tell you, I found out the other day there was $33 million sitting on the sidelines we had never applied for. So we got together. We got the ADAMHs boards on the phone, we got rehabilitative services, we got Orman Hall, all of whom worked in Fairfield County trying to reduce the recidivism rate for these folks that are in our jails. They wander the streets. We find them sometimes breaking into our homes. We called the ADAMS board. They got together in 24 hours. They said, let's just get this done before the money disappears. And I'm very hopeful because of the match that we will get from the federal government. We can launch this across the state with an additional $33 million. But, folks, we have our challenges, but we've got some great assets. And I want to tell you about some of them. Now I'm going to lead — you know, it's like picking a queen in a beauty pageant, you always leave somebody out, okay? And I'm not intending to and there's a lot I won't mention here, but it isn't because I wanted to exclude them.

Let's talk about Toledo. Toledo has been sliding. You go there, you see a lot of buildings, but not a lot of people walking around in the morning. Oh, it's a great town. It created First Solar. First Solar was one of the most rapidly rising companies on the New York Stock Exchange. They won a Photovoltaic Center up in Toledo. We're thinking about it. We would love to do that. We've got The Andersons. Go to The Andersons, everybody's at home, the specialty manufacturing. Owens-Illinois. So many of the manufacturing in Toledo is forward-looking. The University of Toledo and their great president who went with me up to Detroit to meet with the Big Three. And, of course, the Jeep plant. And then North Baltimore. I sent Jerry Wray to North Baltimore to meet with the officials up there to figure out how we can improve the infrastructure so that when the train gets there, we can move goods and products out of North Baltimore. Do you know what the potential is for distribution centers in that area? And CSX and Norfolk Southern, thank God they are in Ohio and they are committed to us, and we are not going to waste transportation money on silly little pork barrel projects. We are going to spend the money where it makes a difference.

Take your hats off to Randy Gardner. You know he was in the Legislature when Moby Dick was a minnow. And also a special thank-you to Mark. You know, Mark Wagoner is just one of the smartest guys there is, and thanks for being my friend, Mark, through this time. And Akron. Mary, in Akron, Goodyear, FirstEnergy, Kent State University, University of Akron, which specializes in polymer research and development. You see, we need to broadcast that to the world. This is advanced materials. People don't know we have this. Well, the president of Kent State, the president of the University of Akron, and a number of the CEOs we met with a week ago are putting a game plan together to make sure that the world knows. In Canton, the Timken Company, been there I think a thousand years. Republic Engineered Products, Keenan Advantage. The ability of the logistics industry working out of Canton, and the great Stark State. That is some operation up there. Training people for jobs that exist and jobs that will come.

Youngstown. I went to Lordstown. We cannot let Lordstown fail. It is the center of that valley. We've got to make sure that we work closely with the auto officials, and we must do what we have to do to make sure that that plant is up to date. And while we have the Cruze, I always think in the future, what do we get next? In Lordstown, the union and the management has worked well together. Jim Graham the head of the UAW, oh, don't tell him I mentioned his name, he'll pass out. Jim Graham is running for mayor somewhere. He said, if I get elected, I told them the first guy I'm going to meet with is you. I said, what happened? He said they passed out. (Laughter) Lordstown. The steel plant, Delphi, and Youngstown State. Talk about homelessness and poverty. By the way, we're helping Youngstown now, our great highway patrol, our great security people working to try to settle things down in Youngstown after that terrible shooting. We lost a leader in Youngstown that night. He's got a great mom. I talked to his mom about a day or so after the killing. I had met his mother and I called her up, Mrs.Hill, and she said to me, I'm praying for the parents of the people that shot my son. That's the power of the Lord. We will not let that violence obscure the great legacy of Youngstown State. It is a wonderful school and its best days are clearly ahead, and we will do everything, won't we, Legislature, to make sure that Youngstown State is as solid and as great as it can be.

Cleveland. Cleveland. I always like to say, you've got the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospital, and Case Western Reserve. If you can't score a touchdown with that, think about that. We were with the Chinese the other day and I told them, I said, you know, you need to get to know people at the Cleveland Clinic because rulers from all over the world when they have a heart problem or an eye problem, where do they go? They go to the Clinic. It's a jewel. But so is University Hospital. With the new Ahuja Center where they're going to do surgery, noninvasive, breakthrough surgery. You all ought to go, it's really cool to see. Big rooms because big rooms are needed in order to project the power to do the noninvasive surgery. Oh, we're seeing the future when we go there. Barbara Snyder at Case Western Reserve, she's a real winner. She was trained by Ohio's greatest politician, Gordon Gee, okay? We've got Cleveland State and American Greetings and Sherwin-Williams.

My wife and I went to Mexico. We're in a one-horse town, a half-a-horse town in Mexico and there's a Sherwin-Williams store. Oh, it's terrific. And Parker-Hannifin, you don't know about them, you've got to go meet them. They're global, and they are incredible at what they're doing. And I'm begging them to bring some jobs back here to Ohio or expand what they have, tell us what we need to do. And, hey, how about Lake Erie? I mean, if there has ever been a more underutilized asset and undersold asset in the history of our state, it's Lake Erie. It is the crown jewel of the state of Ohio and we need to promote it, we need to sell it, and people from around this country will go there and we need to develop it and take advantage of all the things that it offers. Am I right, Patton? Absolutely. Now, what's the word I want — I want to salute Tom Patton for the service of his son. One year ago in the line of duty, Tom Patton's son lost his life. I think he's moved forward, don't you think? He's moved forward. God bless you Tom Patton and God bless your family.

Well, here in Columbus, Cardinal Health, American Electric Power, Nationwide Insurance, they're always on your side. We're working closely with the insurance industry in this state, aren't we, David Goodman? Because we used to be a hub of it. It can happen again if we think outside the box. Go to Illinois, man, they just busted the budget and raised taxes through the sky. Go to California. We got the hint now we may get an insurance company out of California. We'll see. We've got The Limited, and of course The Ohio State University. In Dayton, Teradata, LexisNexis. Oh, I'll give you another underutilized resource, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. We ought to put an enterprise zone right outside the gate. We've got four or five of the best laboratories in the country and we have not used it. And I have talked to the Congressional Delegation on a bipartisan basis of leaving no stone unturned. Nanotechnology, advanced technology, advanced energy technology, advanced aeronautics, the home of the Wright Brothers. Dayton is going to be great again, isn't it, Jon Husted? It's going to be great again

You know, in Cincinnati, Procter & Gamble, greatest consumer company in the world. Greatest consumer company there is. Cintas, oh, they turned going from cleaning rags to making a uniform to operating all over the world. AK Steel, the little company that always says I can, I can, and I will. Western & Southern, Fifth Third, and the University of Cincinnati that has too often been disregarded. It was one of the schools of excellence in our state and in our country. In southeastern Ohio, Kenworth Trucking. I went down there. I said, what are you doing here? They said, great workers, low cost, great success, great profits. How about USEC Plant in Piketon? Well, we're working with everybody to make sure that happens. I almost tackled the President's chief of staff the other night in the White House, told him we want that loan guarantee, just don't give it to the French. Don't give stuff to the French that you won't give to Americans. Now, down there at that USEC plant they spin centrifuges, and the spinning of those centrifuges can allow us to enter the international market in uranium. We are losing that market. We are behind and other countries are getting ahead. Piketon is the way back. And if we focus on this on a bipartisan basis, we will get there.

Let me also say to those in these areas where we have been underdeveloped, Marcellus and Utica Shale, it could transform Ohio. I don't want to be saying it's going to happen, because we've not had enough testing to this point. But I'll tell you, the people who are the smart business people are investing like you cannot believe. My team, the EPA director, Scott Nally, David Mustine, these guys working together with Jim Zehringer in agriculture, put together a program that will ensure environmental security that will make sure that people who are the land holders and the lease holders are treated fairly. A comprehensive plan, which many of you will be involved with. It can give us an exploration industry. It can give us companies that want to locate in areas of low energy costs. It can give us the ability to think about building a refinery down there on the Ohio River when people have said no, they will say yes. The possibility and the potential for the creation of small businesses, and in the Mahoning Valley and in Steubenville, these are people who know how to do things with their hands. God made them, gave them the gift of building with their hands, and we can build pumps and pipes and widgets. Say your prayers that we will have those findings down and will manage it and we must do it together.

Finally, agriculture. Always ignored. Always the wagging tail. I'm not sleeping in a barn. Let's just get that straight right now, okay? But what I will tell you, and I'm not wearing that silly hat that Voinovich wore either, okay? But here's what I will tell you: I've asked Jim Zehringer to think about agriculture in a completely different way. How many agribusinesses can we get? How many 21st Century products can we develop? And how do we think about ethanol when we have increasing dependence on countries like Libya and Venezuela to provide us our fuel? So we're thinking about agriculture in an entirely different way. It can be great prosperity. And here's the thing about agriculture, it's not your old man's tractor anymore. It's technology. It's GPS. It's weather patterns. It's you're your own boss and you fall in love with the good earth. There's something about it that's soulful and spiritual. And we need to recognize our farmers for the great work they have done. And it can allow us to touch the rest of the world through the ability to export and find new markets.

Folks, we need to take these assets and we have to leverage them. You need to think about what we do with our community colleges, our technical schools and universities, to work in conjunction with businesses so the students and the workers are trained for the jobs that need to be filled today and the jobs that will be there tomorrow. In Youngstown, we have a free — you know, a free trade zone there at the airport. Let's stop talking and let's start doing, okay? Let's stop talking and let's start pushing. We push and we work together, all right?

We're going to — we're going to save the state, I have no doubt. The state of the state and the future of Ohio is in our hands. You were elected to do this, not to have fear of who's going to yell at me or vote against me. I mean, come on. Remember what Churchill said, you only die once in war, in politics you can die a hundred deaths. I've used up 80. Don't let — don't let fear clog your mind or have you wring your hands. We're going to meet these challenges for this century, but it does require strength, determination, and a lot of change. None of us like change. I mean, as I get older I like it less, just give me the old Haagen-Dazs chocolate every day, okay? But here's what I know: Change is the engine of growth. Change is the engine of renewal. Change is the engine of progress. Change is about renewing the human spirit.

Folks, one of the hardest things for me was to come to this Legislature and at times experience a lot of partisanship. It comes from both sides, okay? The whole country is kind of tired of it. Hey, it's okay to fight and disagree. I respect you when you fight with me every day, but we've got to get up every day and say, there are a couple things we can do together. Are there just a couple of things that we can do to make things a little bit better for the families and the kids? That's all I ask, okay? That's all that I ask. And you know what I said at the end of my inaugural address is that it's exciting to be part of a movement that answers the bell that can strengthen our state. But here was what I thought was the most important thing: We're not Republicans, we're not Democrats, we are not Liberals, and we are not Conservatives, we are Ohioans, and together we will climb the mountain and make Ohio great. Thank you all very much. God bless America and God bless Ohio.

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