SANDUSKY — Gov. John Kasich updated Ohio's lawmakers on the State of the State tonight here on Lake Erie, his sixth time taking the annual speech out of the state capital.
Some of the governor's top administrators spent the day in the city attending dozens of local events or attending a big luncheon at Cedar Point amusement park.
The speech began at 7 p.m. in the Sandusky State Theatre close to the city's historic waterfront. The theatre's block of Columbus Avenue is blocked off.
WGTE, Toledo's PBS station, will air the speech in its entirety at 11 p.m. It is broadcast on Channel 30 and appears on Channel 199 on Buckeye Broadband.
At the Sandusky Yacht Club, the state directors of taxation, natural resources and the Ohio Development Services Agency participated in a roundtable discussion about Lake Erie tourism, an $8 billion industry for the eight Ohio counties that border the lake.
Taxation Commissioner Joe Testa said tourism-related income taxes have gone up 19 percent in the last four years, generating $1 billion in the most recent year just for the state.
"Relative to different industries travel and tourism is a significant one," Mr. Testa said.
State Sen. Randy Gardner (R., Bowling Green) said the luncheon attended by about 350 people on the grounds of the closed Cedar Point amusement park was an eye-opener for some legislators.
"Some of them have not even seen this before," Mr. Gardner said. "There was one legislator that had not seen the lake before. He's coming back this summer."
Eric Wobser, city manager of Sandusky, said the city spruced up streets and parks to be the state capital for a day.
"We had company coming and we had to make sure the house was in order," Mr. Wobser said.
Among the officials visiting was former state Rep. Barbara Sears (R., Monclova Township), now the director of Medicaid for Ohio. She met with Jobs and Family Services employees and other local service providers from Erie and Ottawa counties.
Ms. Sears said the Medicaid expansion that Gov. Kasich implemented has contributed to a healthier population, helping them get and keep jobs.
"Of the 700,000 who came on Medicaid (under Obamacare) about 500,000 have touched behavioral and mental health services," she said, indicating a need that was there that was not being met. Ms. Sears also said that 89 percent of those people did not previously have insurance coverage.
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