Ohio 2018: Meet the Candidates
On May 26th, we went to the City Club of Cleveland as part of its "Ohio 2018: Meet the Candidates" series to hear Ohio State Senator Joe Schiavoni (Democrat-District 33) speak on behalf of his candidacy to be elected the next governor of Ohio in 2018 so on Friday, July 7th, we attended the second program of that series which featured Ohio's Lt. Governor Mary Taylor (Republican) announcing her own candidacy to be our next governor.
Accordingly, the City Club was filled with campaign staff and supporters. Thus we got to discuss immigration issues with Mr. Paul Wilson, Chairman and CEO, and Ms. Margorie Klein, VP and Creative Director, of "Wilson*Grand Communications" which is assisting the Lieutenant Governor with media matters. We also met Mr. Thomas M. Zaino who was Tax Commissioner of Ohio from 1999 to 2003 and shared a table with Ohio State Rep. Gary K. Scherer (Republican-District 92).
During her time at the podium, Lt. Governor Taylor stated her belief that Ohio is doing well as it progresses on the pathway to economic recovery but it still has a distance to go and so a leader with "vision, energy and ability" such as herself was necessary for things to continue in a productive direction.
Accordingly, she was very proud of her work as leader of CSI Ohio aka the "Common Sense Initiative" to reform the state's regulatory policies and of her prior record as a state legislator (before she became State Auditor and Lieutenant Governor) against raising taxes even though it put her at odds with fellow republicans. This pointed to what she felt were her greatest qualifications; that she had a record of challenging the system and not accepting answers that didn't make sense.
As far her stands on specific issues, among the ones that she addressed were the need for educational institutions to adjust their curriculums to make students more job-ready once they graduated from high school/college because she believed that education/job training was the key to prosperity for all concerned including those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Likewise, she promised to continue her efforts to cut unnecessary, burdensome regulation and keep taxes low to make Ohio more attractive to businesses thinking of moving here and doing what she could to help small/medium-sized firms thrive because she belived that they were the key element of economic growth and job creation.
Lt. Gov. Taylor also devoted time to discussing the current opioid epidemic (along with plagues involving other narcotic substances) and admitted that it has touched her own family. She indicated that longterm (not 30 day) treatment was a good part of the answer for most users and that those selling illegal substances must be dealt with severely.
Before the program started, we told Lt. Governor Taylor that, provided we were called upon in the Q and A, we would be asking her what she would do, if elected governor, to make Ohio more immigrant friendly. She said that she would very much look forward to our question. Fortunately, we did get to ask it and she replied that she recognized that the United States was a nation of immigrants and that her own grandmother immigrated here from Croatia. She noted that Stark County has many immigrant farmers living there who make an outstanding contribution to the community. She then said that she would work to attract more international students to Ohio and ensure that their educational experience was a positive one as well as extending to them the opportunity to work here for a year on their student visas.
Even though we may not have agreed with the Lieutenant Governor on every issue that was brought forward, we respectfully agreed with a longtime friend of hers who we spoke to before the program who said told us that we would be hearing from a person who is very honest and speaks very matter-of-factly and takes a no-nonsense approach.