State Sen. Schuring Attends
By TRAVIS MINNEAR
John Kasich told fellow Republicans Wednesday that he wants to see the GOP help turn the state around, and doing so starts with retaining a majority in the Ohio House of Representatives.
Kasich, a former U.S. congressman and current political commentator for Fox News Channel, attended the Ashland County Republican Party annual picnic at Ashland Fraternal Order of Eagles to help rally support for local and state candidates seeking office.
He said a combination of high taxes, unemployment and a "caretaker governor" in Ted Strickland has put Ohio at a disadvantage compared to other states.
"We are going to need some very major changes in our state," said Kasich, who is considering a run at the governor's office in 2010. He said Republicans hold a four-seat majority in the Ohio House.
To back his argument, Kasich said 14 percent of Ohioans are in poverty and that since the 2001 national recession, Ohio is second in job losses, trailing only Michigan.
"When I came to Ohio we were the third-lowest taxed state and this was the Promised Land," said Kasich, a Pennsylvania native.
Education needs to be a priority in Ohio, Kasich said, as it is key to economic development. He used an analogy about the Olympics to illustrate the importance of education in a competitive global economy.
"We've all been watching the Olympics and we see the Chinese win gold medals," Kasich said. "We can live with that. But what we can't live with is if we're not pushing our students to the pump in math, in science, in computer science."
Kasich also said it's important to maintain a Republican seat in Ohio's 16th Congressional District, which has been held by Rep. Ralph Regula, R-Navarre, for 18 terms.
Kirk Schuring, a Republican state senator from Canton, is running for the 16th District. He was at the picnic, serving hamburgers while Dave Hall, a Holmes County commissioner running to become a state representative in the 97th District, handed out hot dogs.
Schuring said his campaign has been going well as he has been making stops across the district. He said the spirit at Wednesday's GOP gathering was at a "fever pitch" as Kasich and state Senate President Bill Harris of Ashland talked about issues facing the state and nation.
"I think our future still is bright because the American spirit is still strong," Schuring said. "I think that spirit was evident tonight in Ashland."
Bob DeSanto, Ashland County Republican Party chairman, recognized local and state political office candidates at the picnic. He also said the party will do everything in its power to support the candidates and get John McCain elected president.
Although Schuring did not address the crowd, he took time to talk to people one on one and discuss what he hopes to accomplish, if elected.
"It's a matter of having a vision and a plan," Schuring said. "And I think that's what's been lacking in Washington for a long time. I think John McCain can provide that as our president and I want to do the same thing as a United States congressman."