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Upcoming governor election heavily disputed in area

By Drake Long, For The Miami Student

Ohio incumbent Governor John Kasich is up for re-election against Ed Fitzgerald and Anita Rios this coming November. The Ohio general elections will be held Nov. 4, with residents able to vote and decide an array of state offices, including Lt. Governor and Secretary of State positions.

Gov. Kasich entered office Jan. 10, 2011, after defeating incumbent Ted Strickland, D, in the Nov. 2 2010 election. While governor, Kasich approved a budget reducing income taxes for Ohio residents and cutting back taxes on new businesses. He also repealed the estate tax and used funding given by the Affordable Care Act to expand Medicaid coverage. While these policies were successful, Ohio voters ultimately repealed a controversial law restricting collective bargaining and striking rights for public workers. A statement by Kasich's campaign manager, Matt Carle, maintains Ohio has experienced job and economic growth under Kasich. "As our governor, John Kasich has worked with the Ohio General Assembly to balance the budget, eliminate red tape and cut taxes by $3 billion, and Ohio's businesses and entrepreneurs have responded by creating more than 238,000 jobs," Carle said. "Even as our state continues to gain strength, Gov. Kasich won't let his foot off the gas until every Ohioan who wants a job has a job."

Democratic opponent Fitzgerald previously worked as county prosecutor, city councilman and then as Mayor of Lakewood, Ohio. He accuses Kasich's budget and tax changes of benefiting only the wealthiest by their methods of lowering income taxes but raising state, local and property taxes. Fitzgerald is also running on a platform promoting investment in renewable energy industries, which Kasich froze during his term. "John Kasich is increasing taxes on the middle class, and balancing his budget on the backs of public schools and local communities," Lauren Hitt, an aide for Fitzgerald said. "Women are being forced to discuss their healthcare with their politicians and their employers. Loving couples across our state are unable to get married. And intelligent, hardworking students are forced to take on hundreds of thousands in student loan debt just so they can have a shot at getting a decent job after graduation."

Green Party candidate Anita Rios or an aide for her campaign did not respond to an inquiry, but through press releases she describes her platform as one heavily opposed to incumbent Kasich's. Rios opposes standardized testing, supports solar and wind energy investment and expresses interest in raising state minimum wage to $15 per hour. Rios entered the race through write-in, as minor political parties are no longer recognized in Ohio and therefore cannot submit tickets.

Other candidates up for re-election are Secretary of State Jon Husted, Attorney General Mike DeWine, Treasurer Josh Mandel and Auditor of State Dave Yost. All candidates are members of the GOP.

Voter registration ends Oct. 6.