By Marc Kovac
Randy Younkin of Youngstown held an Ohio Turnpike “For Sale” sign, complete with Gov. John Kasich’s telephone number for any interested buyers.
He held it outside the school where Kasich was set to give his State of the State speech Tuesday.
“I think that he’s giving our state away to people who have money, and he’s not respecting the rights of Americans in Ohio,” said Younkin, who opposes the potential privatization of the Ohio Turnpike, a plan being studied by Kasich’s administration.
“I think he’s unpatriotic, and I think he should be ashamed of himself, and I’m down here to say that.”
Younkin was one of more than 30 people who traveled by bus from the Youngstown area to protest Kasich’s speech. They were among 150-plus people from across the state who held signs, chanted and voiced their displeasure on a variety of issues, from the privatization of the turnpike to Republican-backed election reform to be decided by voters in November.
Matthew Wengerd of Warren held a sign protesting horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, an emerging means of extracting oil and gas by pumping large volumes of water, chemicals and sand into deep underground shale formations.
Wengerd opposes fracking, over potential environmental impact of the practice.
“The gas and oil’s been down there for a while,” he aid. “It’s not going nowhere. Why don’t we find a safer way to do it?”
The Rev. Monica Beasley-Martin from Youngstown said she lives near the injection well linked to the earthquakes in the area.
She’s also concerned about landowners falling prey to unscrupulous oil companies looking to sign leases to accommodate future fracking activities.
“I believe you’re either part of the problem or part of the solution,” she said. “I don’t like what’s happening, so I’m trying to be part of the solution.”
State Rep. Bob Hagan, a Youngstown Democrat, continued his call Tuesday for the state to cease all fracking-related activities until thorough studies of the environmental impacts could be completed.