Richard Cordray says he’s only Democrat gubernatorial candidate who can get elected


By David Skolnick

skolnick@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

Richard Cordray, a gubernatorial candidate, says he’s “the only Democrat in this race who can win” the general election.

During a Tuesday editorial board meeting with The Vindicator, Cordray pointed out he’s the only Democrat gubernatorial candidate who’s won partisan statewide elections – Bill O’Neill, another Democratic gubernatorial candidate, won an Ohio Supreme Court race in 2012, but that without a party affiliation next to his name in the general election – and served 15 years in the executive branch of government on the local, state and federal level.

“I have a track record that people know,” Cordray said.

Cordray won the 2006 election for state treasurer and the 2008 race for attorney general before losing re-election as AG in 2010 by 1 percentage point to Mike DeWine, this year’s Republican gubernatorial frontrunner, in what was a bad year for Democrats.

He’s also a former Franklin County treasurer and was appointed in 2012 by then-President Barack Obama to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He resigned from that job in December to run for governor.

Besides O’Neill, Cordray is also facing state Sen. Joe Schiavoni of Boardman and ex-U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich in the May 8 primary.

Cordray said he opposes House Bill 70, commonly referred to as the Youngstown plan, which Republican Gov. John Kasich signed into law July 2015. It allowed a state-appointed academic distress commission to hire a CEO to lead the Youngstown City School District and take control away from the local school board.

“As governor, I will not implement that approach,” Cordray said. “What we need to do is if a school district has problems, we need to have state officials work with [local] officials, but don’t take away local involvement and local input.”

He questioned why people would have more “confidence in the officials in Columbus than the officials here. How great of a job did [state officials] do with charter-school oversight?”

One of hottest issues – particularly since the Feb. 14 Parkland, Fla., school shooting – is gun control.

Unlike other Democrats in the race, Cordray opposes a ban on the sale of semi-automatic weapons. When asked if he’s reassessed his position, Cordray said, “Of course it’s crossed my mind. I’m a listener. I’m somebody who’s thoughtful on these issues. I’m wanting to start with the things we can do. The Legislature has shown no willingness to move on anything even since the Parkland shooting and the Sandy Hook shooting, but I’m willing to take on things I think can be done.”

Cordray said he supports banning bump stock and high-capacity magazine clips, require universal background checks and “aggressively prosecute” those who steal handguns and rifles.

Cordray said his campaign focuses on “kitchen-table issues,” such as access to affordable health care, helping people get the education and training needed to be effective in the workplace and “spreading out economic opportunity throughout the entire state so that no communities are left behind.”

Earlier Tuesday, Cordray announced at the Youngstown Business Incubator his plan to support and grow small businesses.

Cordray’s plan includes:

Creating a small business chief in state government to consolidate efforts to support small businesses, promote community development, and ensure equity for minority/women-owned businesses.

Providing better tax incentives, grants, and small business loans.

Streamlining regulations to allow new businesses to “start up in a day” and aid them as they grow with tax incentives, grants, low-interest loans, as well as support like better job training and improved infrastructure.

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