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Strickland: Kasich claims damage Ohio

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Gov. Ted Strickland speaks at a forum sponsored by the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce. He disputed arguments that Ohio's tax and regulatory climates discourage investment.

The Blade/Lori King
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The Democratic incumbent looking for another four years in the governor's office said Friday that creating jobs always has been his priority and his Republican opponent's plan for Ohio is misguided.

"That's my first job every day that I occupy the governor's office - to fight for Ohio jobs in any way I can," Gov. Ted Strickland said Friday morning during a public forum sponsored by the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce. "To fight for Ohio jobs by investing in Ohio's advantages and to fight for jobs by investing in our people."

John Kasich, the Republican candidate for governor of Ohio, is seeking to unseat Mr. Strickland in the Nov. 2 election.

Midway through his remarks Friday, Mr. Strickland began jabbing at claims made by his opponent during the heated campaign.

"Ohio does not have one of the most onerous tax systems in America," the governor said. "Ohio does not have a regulatory system that is discouraging business investment and job growth. I said that for a purpose, because I think you may have heard otherwise, and I think such statements read throughout our state and beyond our borders can be harmful to the growth of our economy."

Mr. Strickland again pointed out how Mr. Kasich has worked on Wall Street, where the economic downtown started.

From 2001 to 2008, Mr. Kasich was a regional managing director of Lehman Brothers, the Wall Street firm that collapsed in 2008 and helped usher in a financial crisis.

Mr. Strickland said he has cut taxes, trimmed bureaucracy, and positioned Ohio for business investment, while Mr. Kasich was looking out for Wall Street.

Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols Friday fired back at the governor's comments.

"It is an obvious attempt to deflect the conversation away from his own failed record," Mr. Nichols said. "Under his watch, we have lost nearly 400,000 jobs."

The governor spoke at the Good Government Pre-Election Speaker Series sponsored by the Chamber and EPIC Toledo, to which the public was invited. The chamber is not making an endorsement in the governor's race, said Mark V'Soske, the chamber's president.

Mr. Strickland opened his speech with a story about his parents losing a home to a flood and another to a bank before, having a third home destroyed by fire when he was 5.

"When you lose your home, you can't rebuild overnight, but you can rebuild every day," he said. "When you are hit by an international economic tidal wave as we have been, you can't rebuild overnight, but you can rebuild every day."

Contact Ignazio Messina at:

imessina@theblade.com

or 419-724-6171.

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