Farmers have an abundance of what Ohio’s next governor, John Kasich, wants to see more of in government: common sense.
Speaking Dec. 3 at the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting in Columbus, Kasich applauded farmers’ work ethic and personal responsibility, and said it will take some of those qualities to get the state back on track.
The blunt Republican pulled no punches about the tough job ahead crafting a lean state budget, reducing taxes and creating jobs at the same time.
“We have to balance the budget and we have to cut the taxes,” he said.
“You’re going to hear a lot of whining, a lot of complaining,” Kasich told the farm audience. “I’m gonna do this job, but I need you to help me.”
“We have clogged up the state of Ohio with too much regulation,” Kasich said, outlining the priorities for his new director of agriculture, former state representative, Jim Zehringer.
Kasich said Zehringer’s role as director is primarily regulatory, but the governor-elect said he wants to hear from farmers about the things that stand in their way of doing business.
“How can we help you make your business more successful? You need to let us know the things that drive you crazy.”
The Kasich theme of streamlining government and reducing regulations came with a warning to the farm community, however, as the new governor addressed environmental problems like those that plagued Grand Lake St. Marys this summer.
We need to find the bad actors, Kasich said, in regards to pollution that triggered an algal bloom that halted all use of the lake this summer.
Farmers have to be responsible stewards as they do business, he said.
“There are a handful of farmers that are recalcitrant, and what I don’t want to have to do is punish everybody for the sins of a few.”
“We gotta go whack their knuckles first.”
Kasich said he doesn’t want to have to take a legislative or regulatory role in the situation, but “clearly, something needs to be done at that lake.”