It is not by luck or accident that Honda announced it will be building a $3.5 billion electric vehicle battery plant in Fayette County, Ohio. And, it’s not by luck or accident that the county will be getting the 2,200 well-paying jobs that come with the new facility. It is because of almost two decades of hard work, planning, determination, and foresight.
It is also not the first time Honda has looked at Fayette County. Back in the early 2000’s, when I was serving as a County Commissioner, Honda was considering building an auto factory in the county. My colleagues and I did everything we could to convince them our mega site was the place to grow in Ohio. Unfortunately, the Honda team leaders told us, while we had the best site for their new factory, they were going to build in Indiana. The problem was not the site, and it was not Fayette County. The problem was the business climate in Ohio. Too much red tape. Too many regulations and too many taxes. Too many bureaucratic headaches.
Ultimately, their decision prompted me to run for the Ohio Legislature to correct these problems. My focus was on improving Ohio’s business climate so we could compete successfully with other states. I have been fortunate to serve with other GOP state legislators, along with Governors John Kasich and Mike DeWine, who were committed to reducing cumbersome business regulations and lowering onerous business taxes to the point where Ohio is competitive with any state in the country. Our Republican-led state legislature has diligently worked hard to create a business climate in Ohio that promotes growth, attracts well-paying jobs, and lays the solid groundwork for an extremely bright economic future.
The creation of JobsOhio, a bold new idea by Gov. Kasich, designed to drive job creation and capital investment, gave Ohio a competitive advantage. This advantage has been enhanced under the strong leadership of Governor DeWine and Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted. Another important piece of legislation was the “Mega Projects Bill” that Senator Stephanie Kunze and I developed, streamlining the process of attracting large projects.
Today, Fayette County landed the Honda plant at the very site the company had looked at almost 20 years ago. It was not by luck or accident. Hard work and preparation by Fayette County leaders, in collaboration with state officials, along with the commitment to improving Ohio’s business climate and workforce, make Ohio the place to be. Intel and their $20 billion investment was just the beginning. Honda’s dramatic commitment to growth in Ohio demonstrates that Ohio is the place to be, not just in the Midwest, but also throughout the world. The best investment we can make and best legacy we can leave is a brighter future for our children and the generations to come. Ohio’s time is now! Get used to the phrase, “Made in Ohio.”
Bob Peterson (R-Washington Court House) is the state senator for Ohio Senate District 17.