By Ed Runyan
Democratic candidate for governor Ed FitzGerald of Cleveland says he’ll be in the Youngstown area “probably every two to three weeks” during the campaign.
He met with reporters Friday night outside Johnny’s Fine Food and Spirits on Market Street before a labor union get-together. Spending a lot of time campaigning here and elsewhere in Ohio may be the best way for FitzGerald to overcome Gov. John Kasich’s advantage in raising money, he said.
“There’s one thing this governor is very good at, and it’s raising money, and he has a lot of wealthy friends. He worked on Wall Street. He’s made a lot of wealthy friends all over the country, and he raises a lot of money from them.”
FitzGerald, the county executive for Cuyahoga County and former assistant county prosecutor, mayor of Lakewood and FBI special agent, said he doesn’t have access to that kind of money. But “there are ways to make up for that,” he said.
“I think that most people agree with us on the issues. The fact that we’re working so hard, the fact that we have a lot of grass-roots support, I think, can make up the difference.”
FitzGerald said Kasich has been “taking very good care of a very small group of people” and not taking care of “the average person in Ohio and the average person in the Mahoning Valley.”
As for the shale industry, he thinks Kasich “really blew it” with regard to ensuring that Ohioans got jobs out of the industry because “a huge number of them are going to out-of-state residents.”
“I thought he could have sat down ... with the oil and gas companies and said: ‘How do we create a structure here to make sure that many of your new hires are not people coming in from out of state, but [that companies] are hiring local people that are displaced workers?’”
Chris Schrimpf, spokesman for the Ohio Republican Party, said of FitzGerald’s comments, “It is laughable that Ed FitzGerald is lecturing anyone about jobs. The region of the state he leads has led the nation in job loss seven months in a row, and he has done nothing about it.
“Meanwhile, Gov. Kasich inherited a state that had lost 400,000 jobs, and after a lot of hard work and innovation, nearly 160,000 private-sector jobs have been created.”
During a December 2012 press conference, the governor mentioned his “deep concern” that energy companies working in Ohio “may not be hiring Ohioans. That is a very serious matter.”
FitzGerald met Friday with members of the Ohio Civil Service Employees union, which represents Ohio government workers, a group he said would agree with him that Kasich has hurt Ohio communities as a result of cuts in state funding to local governments.