Ohio Gubernatorial Candidate Ted Strickland Responds:
- As former Ohio Governor James Rhodes used to say, “Ohio is a state that makes things and grows things.” And that is still true today as manufacturing continues to be a crucial part of our state’s economic success. Today manufacturers produce more than 25 percent of Ohio’s gross state product – more than any other industry. Over half of Ohio’s jobs are created by or tied to Ohio’s manufacturing sector.
- My Turnaround Ohio plan is about attracting and retaining jobs through strategic investments in Ohio’s strengths and educating a high-quality workforce.
- A critical element of Ohio’s economic turnaround will be providing workers with the skills they need to ensure we continue to attract and grow jobs in Ohio. A Strickland-Fisher Administration will provide the training for skills that companies need to compete. For example, my administration will develop the Ohio Skills Bank Program which uses competitive grants to provide funding for skills training and support to regional industry consortia.
- We also must work to make Ohio home to the job-creating industries of the future. A key example is my plan for Next Generation Energy production, which will spur $1 billion in private and public investment in Ohio and bring the jobs of the future to Ohio’s workers. When I am Governor, I will make this state the epicenter of the advanced energy industry. We will set aside a part of Third Frontier funding and workforce training funds to provide capital and training support to Ohio’s manufacturers who are either making the transition to hybrid auto vehicle manufacturing or entering a new market for renewable energy, such as wind or solar.
- My Turnaround Ohio plan includes a lifetime learning proposal, aimed at helping meet one of our most important goals: making sure workers have access to lifelong education and that employers have access to well-trained workers.
- My administration will aggressively use Ohio’s workforce development system to supports Ohio’s growth industries with high quality jobs. In addition to the Ohio Skills Bank program described in my answer to Question 1, we will additionally offer the Ohio Workforce Guarantee, ensuring that businesses that create over 20 quality jobs in a year receive free, customized workforce training. We will also target state training resources to industries providing high growth and good jobs such as logistics, manufacturing and technology and support community and technical colleges and Ohio’s adult career centers to develop credit courses to boost entrepreneurship and business survival skills geared toward small business owners, managers and workers.
- We also must work to make Ohio’s workforce development system easy to use for those who most need it – Ohioan’s who want to learn and Ohio businesses that need skilled workers.
- My administration will establish the Ohio Open Door Card, allowing adult learners at community and technical colleges, adult career centers, career-technical centers, One-Stop Career Centers and other job training programs to track all their learning accomplishments and access the maximum state and federal benefits to support learning at the institution of their choice. It will also help to connect Ohio’s adult learners with good quality jobs through our workforce development system.
- We will fully implement and expand AccelerateOhio, a free, entry level training and certification that certifies to employers that a work has the skills to get and keep a good job and giving adult learners confidence in their ability to get a promotion, complete college or certification or move into another career track. We will make the program available online through Ohio’s career and technical education centers, adult workforce and high school career centers, community and technical colleges and other locations.
- The Strickland-Fisher administration will double funding to boost Ohio’s use of online and distance learning technologies to provide adult learners with flexible course options.
Social Security & Medicaid/Medicare:
I oppose all efforts to privatize social security. I also voted in favor of the final conference agreement for pension reform bill to protect the PBGC that passed the House on July 28, 2006. Furthermore, I have also co-sponsored legislation to protect retiree health benefits during corporate bankruptcy proceedings.
A secure retirement must be the American way. No longer can American workers lose their pensions because of this Administration’s reckless outsourcing policies and huge tax breaks to the rich. So-called “free-trade” agreements like NAFTA and CAFTA endanger American jobs and continue the race to the bottom, leaving workers helpless in their wake while tax cuts for the super wealthy hurt our economy. Ohioans who have worked hard pursuing the American Dream should not be cheated out of the pensions and benefits they have earned.
- While federal action is required to address many of the problems of our health care system, the State can and should act as a catalyst to improve the situation for employers and consumers.
- A Strickland-Fisher Administration will partner with small businesses to create an affordable new approach to providing health insurance. This program would provide premium assistance for low-income workers to purchase affordable, private sector insurance, and would also create a platform to extend access to more affordable, market-based coverage on a voluntary basis to Ohio’s small businesses and working families.
- We will additionally invest in the kind of front-end, preventive care that we know lowers overall healthcare costs and keeps people healthy. In the United States, we have the most advanced healthcare system in the world but must endure the disgrace of having one of the least healthy populations among industrialized nations. One of the reasons for the embarrassingly low ranking is that our health and social service systems, which share a mission to assist those at risk and improve health, do not share a broad-based strategy to identify and treat those most at risk. In Ohio, many of those most at risk for catastrophic outcomes associated with pregnancy, diabetes, and hypertension enter our system through our emergency rooms. This system short-changes preventive care and neglects wellness. It focuses on treating preventable diseases after they occur, rather than promoting good health up-front.