Gov. John Kasich visited Fayette County Tuesday on one of his latest campaign stops, touting his administration’s economic accomplishments in Ohio and stressing the importance of agriculture to the state’s future.
Although raised just outside of Pittsburgh, Kasich told a crowd of more than 200 people at the family farm of State Sen. Bob Peterson (R-Sabina) that he has developed a great affinity for farmers and for the agricultural industry over the years.
“Farming is…I think it’s a value system,” said Kasich, a Republican. “You reap what you sow. It’s about faith…faith in the fact that the good Lord through our hard work will give us bountiful harvests. You have to have faith. You go through the good years, you go through the bad years. And you just keep going and then you get old and say, ‘Who’s going to take over the business?’ You just hope and pray that somebody in that family, some son or daughter, is going to decide they want this life.”
Kasich received a loud round of applause from those in attendance when he spoke of his administration’s role in repealing Ohio’s estate tax effective Jan. 1, 2013. Prior to its repeal, opponents of the estate tax, also known to many as the “death tax,” asserted that the tax often forced families to sell land or equipment to meet the tax burden upon the death of their parents, a situation that hindered the ability to keep farms viable for future generations.
Proponents of the estate tax warned against the negative impact eliminating it would have on local governments because the tax funneled about $250 million a year to local governments and $60 million to state coffers.
“I understand that on some local governments it’s a strain,” said Kasich. “But as I tell local governments, we don’t want to run local governments on the basis of waiting for people to die.”
Kasich said that by sticking to conservative principles, his administration has been able to rebuild Ohio and that the state is firmly on the right track. After losing 350,000 private sector jobs between January 2007 and January 2011, Kasich said Ohio has added nearly a quarter-million private sector jobs and improved from 47th to fifth in private sector job creation.
He also spoke of erasing an $8 billion budget shortfall without raising taxes.
“For 10 years of my life, I fought to balance the federal budget,” said Kasich, who was elected to the Ohio State Senate at the age of 26 and in 1982 was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served for nine terms. “In ‘97, we made this deal with (President) Clinton. And you’ll think this is a made up story but we actually balanced the budget.”
Kasich said these conservative principles that helped balance the federal budget are also bringing Ohio back.
“If you don’t change the culture and you only change the numbers, it’s not going to work,” he said. “Because I remember how the culture was in Ohio and I remember how great we once were. And we’re coming back really strong. If we can get some winds at our back from Washington, if we can keep doing the things that we’re doing in Ohio, we will be one of the best if not the greatest state in the United States of America. That’s my aim, that’s my purpose, and that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.”
Before introducing Kasich to the crowd, Peterson, who was elected four years ago to serve Ohio Senate District 17, reminded those in attendance to not take the November general election for granted.
Peterson said that the Democratic candidate for governor, Ed FitzGerald of Cuyahoga County, has a different vision for Ohio.
“It’s a vision that has publicly talked about raising taxes, that publicly has talked about whether the death tax should be reinstated. That’s not my vision and I don’t think that’s your vision. I don’t think we want to go back to failed policies.”
Also during his visit to the Peterson farm, Kasich was presented with the “Friend of Agriculture” award from the Ohio Farm Bureau. It marked the first time that the Ohio Farm Bureau’s Agriculture for Good Government Political Action Committee (AGGPAC) has granted such a distinction to a statewide candidate.
“Through his first three-and-a-half years in office, Governor Kasich has clearly demonstrated his appreciation of the importance of agriculture to Ohio’s economy and quality of life,” said John C. (Jack) Fisher, Ohio Farm Bureau’s executive vice president and treasurer of AGGPAC. “He has steadfastly supported policies that are good for Ohio’s largest industry.”
The AGGPAC routinely monitors the voting records and political campaigns of Ohio’s elected officials at the state and national levels. Funding for AGGPAC comes from voluntary contributions by Farm Bureau members and is governed by a committee of bi-partisan Farm Bureau leaders.
Appearing with Kasich Tuesday were Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor and Congressman Steve Stivers of Ohio’s 15th District.
Taylor encouraged the crowd to get involved in the Kasich-Taylor campaign. “Get involved,” she said. “We should not take anything for granted.” Taylor also praised the agricultural industry in Ohio, calling it “the backbone of the state’s economy.”
Following the early afternoon event in Fayette County, Kasich had two more campaign stops Tuesday in Bethel and Lebanon.