BOWLING GREEN - Ted Strickland and Ken Blackwell traversed northwest Ohio yesterday, meeting with supporters, rallying volunteers, and explaining how they will run the state if they are elected governor.
On Tuesday, voters will decide whether to elect Mr. Strickland, a Democratic congressman from Lisbon, or Mr. Blackwell, a Republican and secretary of state. As they swung through northwest Ohio yesterday, both said the region wouldn't be forgotten after Election Day.
"We are all Ohioans and it is going to take all of us working in common purpose for the common good of all of us," Mr. Strickland told more than 100 supporters during a rally at Bowling Green State University.
After rallying supporters last night at a phone bank in Maumee, Mr. Blackwell said he understands the importance of northwest Ohio to the state - and on Election Day.
"We've tried to send out a message that no county in the state will go without attention. We are not ceding any voter group to my opponent," Mr. Blackwell said. "The northwestern part of the state - Lucas County, Toledo - is so very important to the rebuilding of our economy. We have a tremendous work force in this area."
With his roots in rural southeastern Ohio, Mr. Strickland said voters in northwest Ohio should be assured that he is in touch with what matters to them.
"What I bring to the voters is a guy who has a lot of common sense, who understands rural issues, who grew up in the country, and is committed to honest, open, transparent government, and who understands that although the urban areas of our state are important, the rural areas are also important," said Mr. Strickland, who also visited Paulding, Defiance, Bryan, Wauseon, Port Clinton, Sandusky, and Tiffin yesterday.
Mr. Blackwell visited a similar set of destinations in northwest Ohio yesterday, stopping in Norwalk, Fremont, Tiffin, Ottawa, and Wauseon before heading to Maumee.
Asked if his vision for the state includes any specific items that would benefit the Toledo area, Mr. Blackwell said: "I have a plan that will create jobs."
"We understand that manufacturing is so essential to the greater Toledo area," Mr. Blackwell said. "My agenda for cutting taxes and cutting red tape will create a better business environment so we can create jobs not only in the northwest, but across the state."
Doug Haynam, a local Republican leader, said after Mr. Blackwell's visit last night: "The reason I am excited about Ken Blackwell is he brings a different economic package to northwest Ohio, a different statewide approach. Ken's idea of growing our economy involves bringing smaller governments, smaller taxes, a better economic environment for all Ohioans. We need that in Lucas County as much as any place in the state."
Meheret Kassa, a 21-year-old Toledo native and philosophy student, who attended Mr. Strickland's rally at BGSU, said she's optimistic Mr. Strickland would better manage the state's education system and address funding disparities, which would help Toledo's public schools.
"[Mr. Strickland] was talking about revolutionizing how education is dealt with in Ohio," she said. "That's an issue I think should be at the forefront."
Tom O'Brien, 69, a retired professor from Bowling Green, said he thinks Mr. Strickland can clean up state government.
"It's the pay-to-play that has to go - and that will help not just northwest Ohio, but the whole state," Mr. O'Brien said.
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