Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald has campaigned for governor around Ohio, but today he took his campaign just down the street, asking for the endorsement of the Democratic caucus of Cleveland City Council. ideastream’s Nick Castele reports.
FitzGerald stuck to familiar campaign themes, saying Gov. John Kasich’s cuts to the local government fund have made it harder for local officials to balance their budgets.
Councilman Zack Reed asked FitzGerald if he’d back reforming the process of drawing congressional district boundaries. FitzGerald said as governor, he’d support it as a ballot issue.
“It’s been on the ballot before, Zack, but it’s never been on the ballot with a governor that said, ‘We need to do this because the system is broken,'" FItzGerald said.
Councilman Jeff Johnson said former Gov. Ted Strickland didn’t campaign hard enough to get African-American voters in the Cleveland area out to the polls in 2010. FitzGerald said he’d make an effort by putting together a compelling campaign message and hiring more field organizers shortly after the primary.
“We do a good job in this state turning the vote out in presidential years," FitzGerald said. "We’ve got to stop thinking as if this is a Republican state. It is not a Republican state.”
As expected from a body made up of Democrats, the caucus endorsed FitzGerald.
In an emailed statement, Ohio Republican Party spokesman Chris Schrimpf criticized FitzGerald for opposing Kasich's cuts to income taxes, which were accompanied by an increase in the sales tax rate.
"Unlike Ed Fitzgerald, Governor Kasich respects the hardworking taxpayers of Ohio and has consistently worked to lower taxes so they can keep more of the money they earn," Schrimpf's email read. "On the other hand, Fitzgerald has consistently fought against the Governor's middle class tax relief."