Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted spoke in front of a large crowd Monday evening at the Fayette County Republican Central Committee’s 55th-annual Lincoln Day Dinner.
Approximately 240 people were in attendance at the Mahan Building on the Fayette County Fairgrounds to see the Republican candidate talk about his campaign for Ohio lieutenant governor. Husted was originally a candidate in the Republican primary for governor, but on Nov. 30, 2017, it was announced that he would run for lieutenant governor as Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s running mate.
The current lieutenant governor, Mary Taylor, is also running for governor in the Republican primary.
On Monday, Husted spoke about his and DeWine’s determination to not only be elected, but to fight for Ohioans on a daily basis.
“The front of our literature says, ‘Fight for it.’ It doesn’t say we’re entitled to it. If you want people to be for you and believe, you not only have to fight in the election to prove it, but you also have to prove to them that you will fight for it when you get elected,” Husted said. “I will tell you that we have tried to earn it through our efforts here in this campaign. There’s no two people that have been to more counties in Ohio than we have. Going out and fighting for it is what we’re all going to have to do in 2018. It’s good to see we have a nice turnout tonight (Monday). That’s encouraging.”
Husted said someone recently asked him what he worries about the most often. He said that due to their recent success, he hopes Republicans don’t become apathetic.
“I tend not to worry. I’m a man of faith and I put things in the Lord’s hands. But if you ask me the things that do have us concerned, have a lot of Republicans concerned, it is apathy,” Husted said. “Sometimes when you’re successful — and we have been successful as Republicans in this state — you just think well…it’s easy. And while we have done a great job building a Republican, conservative movement in this state, it doesn’t mean that it’s guaranteed. I remember people thought that way and then 2006 came along, and we lost. But then we won again in 2010….we were hungry and fired up in 2010.
“When Ted Strickland was governor and Rich Cordray was attorney general by the way, in 2010 we had lost 400,000 jobs in Ohio. We were facing an $8 billion dollar budget deficit. People were concerned. They were excited and sure enough, we did it. It was a sweep across the ticket. Then we went about the business of fixing it. Filling that $8 billion dollar hole, restoring the jobs that we’d lost. We were earning it, we were showing that we could get the job done. And by the end there was a $2 million dollar budget surplus. In 2014, we won again, we swept it. Then 2016 comes in, they were going to elect this Hillary Clinton as President, remember her? But we were fired up, we didn’t like what Barack Obama had done. We wanted to take back the White House and we did.”
Husted cautioned overconfidence by using this year’s Super Bowl loss by the New England Patriots to the Philadelphia Eagles as an analogy.
“I’m a little concerned that we think it’s always going to be this way,” he said. “The New England Patriots are the greatest NFL franchise ever, but they didn’t win this year. Because there was another team that was more fired up than them, the Philadelphia Eagles. You have to get fired up for every game. You have to get fired up for every election cycle.”
Sacrificing his own run for governor and joining DeWine is also what’s good for the Republican team, said Husted.
“I was running for governor, things were going pretty well. I had raised a bunch of money, Mike had raised a bunch of money. I had a bunch of endorsements, he had a bunch of endorsements,” said Husted. “But it’s not just about us, it’s about the team. It’s about that thing we are all a part of here as Republicans. Those shared values we have. So rather than spending $15 million dollars beating each other up and being bloodied, bruised and broke, we decided to team up. Because in the end we know that improves our chances to win in November. Political reasons are never good enough. You have to ultimately test if you believe in the same things, and I can tell you that Mike DeWine and I have the same values. We care about, family, faith and freedom.”
Husted said that economically and employment-wise, Ohio is doing very well.
“The unemployment rate is very low right now. Everything is going great….for most people, but not for everybody,” he said. “Because there are still a lot of people out there, despite this incredible prosperity we are having, whose lives are still not going well. Sometimes in our lives, we don’t see these folks, but I bet you have some of them in your own family. There are still a lot of people out there, particularly if they don’t work at the right kind of industry, they’re facing outsourcing or global competition or they don’t have the right kind of education. It’s pretty tough, especially for young people, you see it happening to a lot of them.”
According to Husted, there are three things that stand between many of those who are struggling and the American dream: Too many not having 21st century job skills, addiction and a welfare system that he said traps people in generational cycles of poverty.
“When I go out and I talk to employers these days, they’re stumped,” Husted said. “They can’t find people. Do you know that in Ohio on the ohiomeansjobs website, there are 67,000 jobs that pay more than $50,000 dollars a year that are unfilled? Can’t find somebody to do it. We have to prepare people to take these jobs.”
Husted also spoke about the scourge of addiction that has gripped so many in the state of Ohio and across the nation.
“When I talk about addiction, I don’t just mean the individual that’s addicted,” he said. “I mean the complete and utter catastrophe and chaos that ensues around somebody who’s addicted. I know you know somebody that’s been touched by this because everybody does. It spares nobody. It’s the mom and dad who spent their entire retirement trying to help their precious son or daughter get into recovery only to see it fail time and time again. It’s the little boys and girls that have been abandoned by a drug-addicted parent, and put into a foster care system that’s unprepared to handle the onslaught of all those little children out there who don’t have somebody in their lives to love and care for them because the person that God sent to this Earth to do so is addicted.
“We also know this. If you can’t pass a drug test, you can’t go to work. One of the number one reasons that people don’t go to work is they can’t pass the drug test. Then there is a welfare system that traps people in generational cycles of poverty. I see it so often. You talk to employers and they say they have somebody that they’d really like to hire full-time and that person is working 20 hours a week, and they won’t take the full-time job because they’ll lose their benefits. Or somebody who’s working full-time who won’t take a promotion because they lose their benefits. Or even worse, people that won’t work at all because they don’t want to lose their benefits. Now, I don’t want to suggest that if I were in their shoes that I wouldn’t do the same thing. Because if I was struggling and I was trying to take care of two little kids without a job and without the support of a spouse, I might say, ‘Sure, I’ll do that.’”
Husted said he does, however, blame the government for creating a system that allows this to happen. He said government should build a bridge out of welfare and into the middle class.
“We need to say to people that if you can work, you should work,” he said.
Finally, he added that the DeWine/Husted campaign needs to spread hope and light to those who are struggling.
“I know in a campaign that it’s fine and dandy to talk about all of the bad things that our opponents are about. And believe me, there are plenty of things we can talk about,” he said. “But we have to give people a reason to vote for us, a reason to be for us, a reason to believe that the Republican party is the way forward for them. That they believe we can lead them to a brighter future. I promise you that during the campaign and after, you will get 100 percent effort 100 percent of the time from me and Mike DeWine, and that we will lead Ohio to a more prosperous future.”
Reach Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352 or on Twitter @rywica