OHIO VALLEY — While the 2013 elections have been in the books for less than a month, candidates across the state are gearing up for the 2014 statewide elections.
On Saturday, the local Democratic Party in both Meigs and Gallia counties hosted governor candidate Ed FitzGerald.
In Meigs County, FitzGerald spoke at a dessert reception held at the Carpenter Union hall in Pomeroy.
Joining the candidate were State Senator Lou Gentile and State Representative Debbie Phillips, along with Charlie Hale, speaking on behalf of Jennifer Garrison, a candidate for the Sixth District Representative.
In Gallia County, the event was hosted by Bill and Ann Jenkins. Also at the event was Gallipolis Developmental Center (GDC) Union Representative Monty Jenkins.
Approximately 30-40 people were in attendance at each event. While in Southeast Ohio on Saturday, FitzGerald also made stops in Chillicothe and McArthur. The candidate stated that he has now been in 87 of Ohio’s 88 counties.
FitzGerald, along with Phillips and Gentile hit on the changes to taxation under the Kasich administration. While there have been some cuts to income tax in the state, each noted that the cuts only benefit the wealthiest of Ohioans due to it being more of a “tax shift” then a tax cut. The tax shift came in the form of an increase to sales tax and the elimination of the homestead exemption to many of those not already covered by the program.
Also noted were the cuts to school funding and local government funding under the new budget.
FitzGerald also spoke about the recent decisions which resulted in the layoff of approximately 1,000 workers at the Ormet plant in Eastern Ohio. FitzGerald noted the lack of concern for the region and its workers shown by the current administration. One other topic of discussion, given FitzGerald’s background, was the possible problems with regard to JobsOhio.
The candidate encouraged people to get out and have conversations with others with regard to the upcoming elections and the candidates.
Hale, speaking on behalf of Garrison, noted the discord in Washington and the inability of those in congress to work together. Hale stated that Garrison has a background in mediation and working across the aisle.
In Gallia, FitzGerald noted that he would do anything possible to help the situation involving GDC, according to Carole Roush of the Gallia County Democratic Party.
FitzGerald also recently announced the choice of Eric Kearney as his running mate. FitzGerald and Kearney will challenge Governor John Kasich and Lt. Governor Mary Taylor in the 2014 election.
FitzGerald spoke to those in attendance about his background in public service.
The candidate began his public service career with the FBI. FitzGerald was assigned to the Organized Crime Task Force in Chicago, working to hold corrupt politicians accountable. After his FBI service, FitzGerald returned to Ohio, serving as an assistant county prosecutor and eventually Mayor of Lakewood.
Following one of the largest public corruption scandals in the history of Ohio, the people of Cuyahoga County elected FitzGerald to lead a new county government as their first County Executive.
His running mate is currently the Ohio Senate Minority Leader.
Before leaving Pomeroy on Saturday, Mick Davenport of the Meigs County Democratic Party stated that the local party would be donating to Fitzgerald’s campaign.