Addressing members of the state’s general assembly from a stage decorated with a large Ohio flag Tuesday night, Gov. John Kasich acknowledged successes of the past year, but stressed that the state “has more work to do.”
“We haven’t finished our mission. We have a lot more battles to wage and I cannot wage them without you,” Kasich said in his State of the State address, delivered in Wilmington, Ohio. “We need to win more battles against the status quo. We cannot drift. We have to continue to win battles against the status quo if we want to take Ohio to where we want to be, where we need to be.”
Part of this battle, Kasich said, includes looking toward future challenges, such as the state’s aging workforce and the tendency of small businesses and young professionals to leave Ohio in favor of states with lower income taxes.
“Many of our most successful job creators, entrepreneurs and CEOs leave Ohio … and when they do, they take their ideas with them,” he said. “We cannot lose our best and brightest. I am pleading with you to understand that we are driving them out.”
Kasich said the incorporation of new industries, such as 3-D printing, cloud computing, data analytics and telemedicine, is one way for the state to appeal to students and recent graduates.
“As our population ages, these kinds of cutting-edge jobs help us keep and attract young people,” he said. “If you want to keep young people in this state, when they graduate and they can find an exciting new job, they are not going anywhere.”
In his speech, Kasich also mentioned the Ohio Task Force on Affordability and Efficiency in Higher Education, a group tasked with examining ways for Ohio universities and colleges to cut costs.
“We are going to have this big task force and we are going to get into your costs,” Kasich said. “We are going to have a study and look at everything that drives the costs up at universities.”
Earlier this month, Kasich signed executive order 2015-01K, which established the task force, and announced the selection of Ohio State Chief Financial Officer Geoff Chatas as chair.
“(With) lower costs, a cap and a freeze on tuition, more students can afford college,” Kasich said, though he added that efforts to decrease student loan debt could seem like “a thimble in the ocean.”
“The universities have said we will not take one single dime of public money until a student completes a course … or graduates,” he said. “We want to send a signal that we know how tough (dealing with student loans) is.”
David Stanislav, the vice chair of the OSU College Republicans and a second-year in chemical engineering, said he noticed Kasich’s speech touched upon several aspects of life in Ohio that could be applicable to OSU students.
“The one thing that really stood out to me was I think he had a very strong focus on the economy, obviously, about keeping young people in Ohio, which I think is really pertinent to Ohio State students,” he said.
An OSU College Democrat representative could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Kasich ended his speech with recognition of Ohio’s growth.
“We are on the move. We are rising,” he said. “We are creating jobs. People are more hopeful, and you know what is really great? No one is being left out.”