Kasich Highlights Close Relationship with Business in Chamber of Commerce Endorsement

Kasich speaks to the Greater Cleveland Partnership earlier this year.
Kasich speaks to the Greater Cleveland Partnership earlier this year.
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Andy Doehrel is president and CEO of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce. Four years ago, he said, the state faced a major uphill battle to recover from a sluggish economy and rising unemployment.

That’s why, he says, the chamber broke from tradition and for the first time endorsed a candidate for governor.

“And we think the results speak for themselves: There’s more job creation, less unemployment in this state, we now have a rainy day fund instead of a deficit," Doehrel said. "John Kasich has delivered on what he said he’d do, and we’re pleased to endorse their reelection.”

Kasich noted his administration’s efforts in the past four years to boost the economy and mentioned plans he’d like to implement during his next term, if he wins in November. Because the chamber came back with a second endorsement, the governor says he has a deeper relationship between his office and the business community.

And Kasich seems to be leaning on that relationship, by calling on businesses to get more involved in their communities -- especially in struggling school districts.

“They need to be in these schools, they need to be tutoring, they need to be mentoring and they need to be caring for our students," Kasich said. "That’s the future for us.”

Doehrel said his members have heard and heeded the governor’s charge for more action in the classroom, but admits that more can be done.

“There’s some of that there already," he said. "I think we need to give greater recognition for it and build it throughout the whole state, so I think we have the right building blocks and I think we can do it.”

The governor also stumped for an issue that played well before the business-friendly crowd: tax cuts. Kasich urged that lowering what he calls the “burden of taxes” creates good results.

“And when you reduce the amount of money that sits in the hand of government and you put the money in the hands of people, you start driving your solutions from the bottom up rather than the top down," Kasich said.

Kasich stuck with his campaign strategy of not mentioning his challenger or really referring to the election at all. The new Buckeye poll from the University of Akron shows the governor leading Democratic nominee Ed FitzGerald by 19 points. But he did mix some national rhetoric into his speech.

“We can send a message, if we’re all in this together, to be a role model for the rest of the country to learn about progress, about healing, about compassion, about economic growth and about opportunity," Kasich said.

FitzGerald declined an interview to react to the chamber’s endorsement and Kasich’s comments. However the FitzGerald campaign did point to a study from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research that ranked Ohio at number 33 in the list of best states for women to work.

According to Doehrel, the chamber started the endorsement selection process months ago and the fact that Kasich is heavily favored in the polls never played a role one way or the other.

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