Ed FitzGerald pitches green energy, Gov. John Kasich’s team touts a surplus …

July 3, 2014 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

Here are the stories catching our attention today in the wide world of Ohio politics. Questions? Suggestions? Email me or find me on Twitter: @henryjgomez

FitzGerald goes green: Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Ed FitzGerald continued his criticism of Gov. John Kasich’s energy policies Wednesday and, for the first time in his campaign, outlined a strategy of his own. The plan, reports Robert Higgs of the Northeast Ohio Media Group, emphasizes alternative and green energy.

Some of the Cuyahoga County executive’s positions may put him at odds with President Barack Obama and perhaps even on the same side as archconservatives in the Ohio General Assembly, writes Darrel Rowland of the Columbus Dispatch.

The severance tax on oil and gas is not part of FitzGerald’s plan, reports Jim Provance of the Toledo Blade.

Kasich’s allies at the Ohio Republican Party wondered why the FitzGerald plan didn’t have more details about that emerging fracking industry in eastern Ohio.

As noted by Marc Kovac of Dix Newspapers, GOP communications chief Chris Schrimpf dismissed the energy plan’s rollout as “nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to raise funds from the same people who fund the out-of-state environmental extremist groups who’ve opposed Ohio’s booming natural gas jobs.”

Ohio notches $800 million budget surplus: As challenger, FitzGerald has spent the last few weeks developing and announcing policy proposals, eager to draw Kasich into debates that the Republican governor has shown little interest in having.
Rather, Kasich’s re-election strategy is rooted in touting his own accomplishments without so much as a mention of his opponent. This approach is helped when Kasich has improving economic and fiscal indicators to sell, and Wednesday he got a big number you’ll no doubt be hearing more of as the campaign advances.

The state has an $800 million surplus, a chunk of which will be spent on tax cuts and a Medicaid reserve fund. “Today’s result is what I would characterize as old time fiscal conservatism,” Keen told Higgs. “We generally try to make conservative economic forecasts   and we generally try to make conservative spending estimates.”

While the surplus fits in with Kasich’s messaging, it also fits into FitzGerald’s counter that the governor’s cuts have come at the expense of local governments.

Jim Siegel of the Dispatch notes a study from the labor-backed Policy Matters Ohio “found that 50 percent of the total savings in the tax-cut package will go to the top 5 percent of income earners – those making more than $151,000 a year.”

FitzGerald on Jeannet Wright: David Skolnick of the Youngstown Vindicator pressed FitzGerald on Jeannet Wright, whose nomination for county treasurer was withdrawn after questions surfaced about her background.

“I made a couple of hundred appointments as mayor [of Lakewood] and county executive and have had two issues where something went wrong with the process,” said FitzGerald, also alluding to first running mate Eric Kearney. “When [mistakes] were raised, I did something about them. When you run a large organization, you’ll have instances. The governor has had a string of bad appointments.”

And now a few down-ticket nuggets …

Yost on the trail: Republican State Auditor Dave Yost, whose musical talents we’ve appreciated once or twice before, is touring again. He rallied rural conservatives this week in Logan County, writes Nate Smith of the Bellefontaine Examiner, in “a speech that began and ended with him seated at a keyboard on the stage.”

Yost faces a challenge from Democratic State Rep. John Patrick Carney.

DeWine vs. Pepper: The race for attorney general has the highest down-ticket voltage. Democratic challenger David Pepper hammers GOP incumbent Mike DeWine on the heroin epidemic in a new video, notes Tom Troy of the Toledo Blade.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Pelzer of the Northeast Ohio Media Group looks at DeWine’s controversial facial-recognition software, one year later.

Pillich launches veterans tour: The race for state treasurer pits Marine veteran Josh Mandel, the Republican incumbent, against Air Force veteran Connie Pillich, a Democratic state legislator from the Cincinnati area. Mandel has long emphasized his military background, and Pillich seems eager to highlight her service, too.

“As a captain in the Air Force I learned there was no Democratic or Republican way of doing things – just the right way,” Pillich said this week in an email announcing a series of roundtables with veterans and military families. “Our military community faces different financial challenges than the rest of Ohio, but we can help solve them in a bipartisan way. If we improve financial literacy among our service members and pass legislation to guarantee military spouses receive unemployment compensation, we can make all the difference for the people who have served our country.”

The first of the discussions came Wednesday in Huber Heights, reports WKEF Channel 22 in Dayton. Additional stops are planned in the coming weeks.

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