Ohio gubernatorial candidate and current Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor spoke to about a dozen people at a Highland County Tea Party meeting on Monday, sharing her vision for Ohio and asking for support in the race.
Taylor is one of three Republican candidates seeking the party nomination for governor in 2018, including Attorney General Mike DeWine and U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci.
Secretary of State Jon Husted, who was also in the running, recently joined DeWine as his running mate and candidate for lieutenant governor.
Taylor said while many saw the announcement as a “joining of forces,” she viewed it only as a narrowing down of her competition.
Taylor, who seemed to present with confidence Monday night, said, “I win elections, period.”
Taylor said she has never lost a campaign, and was the only Republican to win a statewide election in 2006 when she was elected as state auditor.
“I have a record and a resume of fighting the status quo,” Taylor said, adding that she has continually supported initiatives for job creation and business expansion because of her father’s work ethic and “American values.”
Taylor said she led the charge creating the Common Sense Initiative, a campaign focused on “cutting red tape” for Ohio businesses.
The lieutenant governor said if she is elected, she will demand tax and health care reform and will end Medicaid expansion.
Taylor also said a “comprehensive approach” is needed to address the opioid crisis, adding that she believes there is no government solution to the drug epidemic, but rather that citizen involvement is what will make the difference.
Taylor slammed DeWine, criticizing him for not doing enough to quell the opiate epidemic in his capacity as attorney general. Taylor also said she has repeatedly called for debates and the attorney general has refused to attend.
Taylor said if she is elected, she will provide more funding for local narcotics officers to combat the drug epidemic.
She also said both of her sons struggle with drug addiction, adding, “There is no issue closer to my heart than this one.”
Taylor spoke with Heather Gibson, president of the Highland County Tea Party and the Highland County Drug Abuse Coalition, and Kelly Firesheets of Interact for Health, a Cincinnati nonprofit, about local drug abuse prevention initiatives.
Taylor also fielded questions and comments from those in attendance regarding Gov. John Kasich’s relationship with President Donald Trump, the state pension system, education, cryptocurrency and the opioid epidemic.
The lieutenant governor said she supports Trump as president even though Kasich has been largely critical of him.
Taylor had a lengthy exchange on pensions, education and cryptocurrency with Barb Cole and Jim Rosendahl, and said if she is elected, she will pay close attention to issues brought up by citizens.
Cole urged Taylor to hire an aide who is familiar with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
Taylor said her running mate has yet to be announced, since the campaign is still narrowing down candidates. She said her running mate will be someone who shares her conservative values.
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @DavidWrighter.