Growing Jobs And Putting Ohio On The Road To Economic Recovery

When I was Governor, Ohio was hit with the worst national recession since the Great Depression. It was caused by special interests on Wall Street and politicians in Washington looking out for themselves at the expense of middle class Americans.

I took aggressive action and fought back – bringing Republicans and Democrats together to successfully pass a jobs package to get thousands of Ohioans back to work. The bill helped lead an economic revival in Ohio’s biomedical, transportation, and advanced energy industries while also improving our infrastructure, investing in urban renewal, and preserving historic buildings.

The results put Ohio on the road to recovery: when I left office, Ohio was 5th in the country for economic growth; our unemployment rate dropped and wages began rising again.

Newspapers, fact checkers and economists agree:

  • PolitiFact wrote that “the claim that Strickland destroyed Ohio jobs amounts to political hyperbole” and is “false.”

  • Economist George Zeller said Ohio’s recovery began under Strickland.

  • The Akron Beacon Journal wrote that Strickland “steered the state through the harsh recession, making hard choices yet protecting leading priorities,” and the Cincinnati Enquirer wrote “the state’s recovery began under Strickland.”

Furthermore, I worked to ensure Ohioans were paid a fair wage by expanding minimum wage protections to more workers and instituting prevailing wage rules to ensure workers on publicly funded projects were getting a fair wage for their work.

Reforming Education for Ohio’s Future

In the face of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, I protected education funding and brought reforms to Ohio’s public education system, including a constitutional system for funding Ohio’s schools that directed resources to the school districts that needed them the most. 

My goal was to ensure that every student had the opportunity to learn the critical skills necessary for the 21st century workplace and to master a curriculum that would prepare them for higher education. I worked with teachers to change teaching methods and student assessments to set rigorous standards for Ohio’s children while relying less on high stakes testing.

As a result of these reforms, Ohio received the Frank Newman Award For State Innovation and EdWeek ranked Ohio’s system of education the 5th-best in county, up from 27th place when I first became governor.

And because of the poor condition of many of Ohio’s schools, I directed $4 billion of new money to the Ohio School Facilities Commission for the construction of new and improved green school buildings across the state – stimulating our economy, improving our environment and creating a great environment for our kids to learn in.

Making Higher Education More Affordable

As Governor, I worked to make higher education, community college and vocational training more affordable and accessible to all Ohioans. I froze tuition at public colleges for two years and under my watch Ohio had the lowest rate of tuition growth in the nation. Our work was recognized by the Dayton Daily News, which wrote that we made a “tremendous commitment to slowing the rising costs of college.”

My administration also made college free for veterans and welcomed qualified high school juniors and seniors to take college courses for free.

Expanding Quality Healthcare for Ohioans

As Governor, I signed a budget that helped expand affordable healthcare for all Ohio children and allowed children up to 28 years of age to be covered by their parents’ insurance. 

I am particularly proud of my efforts to expand healthcare coverage to children who needed it the most by helping to author the Children’s Health Insurance Program in Congress. And as Governor, I continued to champion this program – expanding access, cutting red tape to ease enrollment and ensuring that children and their families could receive care quickly.  

I also reduced price discrimination for pre-existing conditions and expanded coverage for more expectant mothers. And as Ohioans were dealing with the challenges of the global recession, I gave more health insurance options to the recently unemployed.

Developing Advanced Energy

I worked to pass an energy bill that set ambitious targets for renewable and advanced energy—by 2025, 25% of energy sold in Ohio must be from renewable or advanced energy sources. This standard created new industries, brought jobs to Ohio, and helped address the issue of climate change.

These initiatives also stopped electricity prices from skyrocketing for consumers, helping Ohioans save more than $1 billion on their energy bills. And by specifically investing in Ohio’s “green collar” economy we helped create over 25,000 advanced-energy manufacturing jobs. In fact on my watch, Ohio led the nation in the creation of green jobs.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote that these initiatives “brought jobs and investment to Ohio,” and the Toledo Blade highlighted how these proposals saved consumers money on their bills while leading to “improved air quality and public health statewide.”

Fiscal Responsibility: Balancing Budgets, and Cutting Taxes

As Governor, I oversaw tax cuts for every Ohioan so that working people could have more money in their pockets. Specifically, taxes were reduced for every Ohioan by 13 percent during my administration, and Ohio’s tax burden fell to a 16-year low.

I also brought a massive tax cut to every senior citizen homeowner in Ohio by expanding the Homestead Tax Credit -- allowing every senior citizen homeowner in the state to pay no taxes on the first $25,000 value of their homes. The average tax savings was $400 -- a sizable figure for folks on fixed incomes. We also reduced taxes specifically for veterans and military surviving spouses.

When it comes to fiscal responsibility, I led by example. As governor I voluntarily cut my own salary and refused a pay raise. And while I served as governor and as a U.S. Representative, Frances and I declined a taxpayer subsidized healthcare and paid for it ourselves.  

When I led Ohio, I am proud that we made government do more with less: balancing the budget every year, presiding over the largest income tax cut in modern Ohio history and implementing one of the most favorable small business tax climates in the country. And we did it all while continuing to protect important priorities like education, infrastructure improvements, and vital services.  

Commitment to Diversity

Ohio’s diversity is a great asset, and as Governor I worked to ensure that the many cultures, races, age groups, ethnicities and religions were represented in and protected by Ohio’s government. My administration was focused on making government look like the people it represents: we expanded access to opportunity for more Ohioans through the use of economic development programs, and we were strongly committed to rooting out and eliminating discrimination.

In fact, half of my cabinet directors were women and I was proud to select the first openly gay director of a state agency. I also increased female and African American representation in the judiciary and appointed the first Hispanic American to ever serve as an Ohio appellate judge.

If we are to promote diversity, we must prohibit institutionalized discrimination. As governor, I signed an executive order prohibiting discrimination based on sexual identity or gender identity in state employment decisions.  Prior to my order, there had been no state law barring discrimination on the basis of sexual identity or gender identity in state employment decisions.

I also created the Minority Business Advisory Council to assist me in providing critical support to Ohio’s minority-owned businesses and required an annual report to hold all state agencies accountable in accomplishing our goals.  

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