Kasich mentions Mahoning Valley prominently in State of State speech

COLUMBUS — Gov. John Kasich made several references to Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley in his first State of the State address today.

Early in the hour-plus speech, Kasich, a Republican, said people ask him “why do you go to Youngstown?”

Kasich’s response: “It’s in my blood.”

Kasich said Youngstown reminds him of his childhood home of McKees Rock, Pa., something he has said numerous times before.

Kasich bemoaned the fact that Youngstown’s population has declined by half since 1950.

But he praised the Lordstown General Motors complex and Youngstown State University as two facilities working to revive the Valley.

“We cannot let Lordstown fail,” he said. “It is the center of that Valley. We have to do what we can to make sure that plant is up to date.”

The GM complex recently went through a multi-million-dollar renovation and is the home of the Chevrolet Cruze, considered by the automotive company as a key vehicle to its future.

Kasich praised the working relationship between GM ownership and the United Auto Workers union, specifically mentioning Jim Graham, president of UAW Local 1112.

“Don’t tell him I mentioned his name, he’ll pass out,” Kasich said of Graham.

The governor also mentioned that Graham is running for mayor of some city. That city is Warren.

Kasich made references to the Feb. 6 shooting at an off-campus house near Youngstown State University that left one dead and 11 injured.

The state is helping “to settle things down in Youngstown” with the increased presence of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Kasich said.

As for YSU, Kasich said it is “a great school” and the “best days are ahead” for it.

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