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Published: 2/20/2013

Protesters attack governor's budget prior to start of his State of the State Speech in Lima

BY TOM TROY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
AFSCME member Mark Factor, of Ottawa, Ohio, and Theresa Allen, former Township trustee of Allen County, protest at the State of the Worker rally outside Veterans Memorial Civic & Convention Center in Lima, Ohio where Ohio Gov. John Kasich will give his State of the State address. AFSCME member Mark Factor, of Ottawa, Ohio, and Theresa Allen, former Township trustee of Allen County, protest at the State of the Worker rally outside Veterans Memorial Civic & Convention Center in Lima, Ohio where Ohio Gov. John Kasich will give his State of the State address.
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LIMA, Ohio -- With flurries and a freezing wind nipping at noses, anti-Gov. John Kasich protesters attacked the governor's budget prior to the start of his State of the State Speech here today.

The approximately one dozen protesters, organized by the labor-related group We Are Ohio, gathered about two hours outside the Veterans Memorial Civic and Convention Center where Governor Kasich was to give his third State of the State speech at 6:45 p.m.

Dan Greenberg, a teacher in Sylvania Public Schools and vice president of the Sylvania Education Association teachers union, said the governor's $63.3-billion budget is a bag of broken promises.

"Instead of short-term partisan priorities Governor Kasich should focus on long-term solutions for Ohio, that strengthen our economy, that prioritize schools, that keep our communities safe, " said Mr. Greenberg, 37. He said public schools are receiving less than they did before Mr. Kasich's term began in January, 2011.

As an example of an empty promise he said Mr. Kasich promised poor districts would get more money while rich districts would get less.

He said six out of 10 Ohio school districts will see no increase in the next two years.

Shonda Sneed, 47, of Yellow Springs, Ohio, contended the budgets have made it harder for her to find work as an engineer. "If he invested in infrastructure that would send me back to work," Ms. Sneed said. "I'm struggling now. I know family and friends that are living on baloney and crackers."

A key part of the governor's plan is to tap the borrowing power of the Ohio Turnpike to funnel an extra $3 billion into spending on state highway projects.

Dave Rabe, 58, a United Auto Workers member at the Ford Motor Co.'s engine plant in Lima, acknowledged that the economy has improved but gave credit not to Mr. Kasich but to his predecessor, Democrat Ted Strickland, and President Obama.

"For us to continue to thrive in Ohio we need Governor Kasich to invest in the local communities. To be competitive in the advance technology in manufacturing we need Governor Kasich to invest in education and training. The state of the worker is not good," Mr. Rabe said.

Several other members of the group predicted that Governor Kasich will eventually get behind a "right-to-work" initiative that would strip unions of the ability to collect dues from all employees in a union-organized business.

Nitza's, a clothing shop in Lima, Ohio, displays a sense of humor during the visit of Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who will give his State of the State address at the Veteran's Memorial Civic & Convention Center in Lima. Nitza's, a clothing shop in Lima, Ohio, displays a sense of humor during the visit of Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who will give his State of the State address at the Veteran's Memorial Civic & Convention Center in Lima.
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Elsewhere in downtown Lima, businesses were hoping for a little spillover from the influx of govenment officials into the community for a day of meetings, conferences, and forums.

Karen Barrington, co-owner of Nitza's Ladies Boutique and Tailor Shop at North and Main streets, said downtown Lima was proud to host the governor's speech. She and co-owner Elizabeth Leis posted a sign out front and on their Facebook page saying, "Mrs. Kasich called - She wants a new outfit."

Just in case someone actually came into buy an item for the First Lady, Ms. Barrington found out Mrs. Karen Kasich's height (5'9") and probable dress size (8 or 10).

Ms. Barrington was counting on some of the speech-goers to trek up the street past her business to the Metropolitan bar in her block afterward.

"The whole community is thrilled they've come to do the State of the State here," Ms. Barrington said. "This community is coming back."

Contact Tom Troy at: tomtroy@theblade.com or 419-724-6058.



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