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Democrat Ed Fitzgerald introduces himself in BG PDF Print E-mail
Written by DAVID DUPONT/Sentinel Staff Writer   
Saturday, 30 March 2013 17:44
Cuyahoga County Executive Ed Fitzgerald speaking at Grounds for Thought in BG. (Photo: Shane Hughes/Sentinel-Tribune)
With 18 months to go until the next gubernatorial election, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed Fitzgerald hasn’t formally announced his intentions to run for governor of Ohio.

Still he’s making the rounds, including a stop today (Saturday) at Ground for Thought in Bowling Green. What he found was a crowd of about 80 interested in hearing what he has to say, and a few willing to start knocking on doors to get him elected.

Tom Lingeman and his wife Karen Roderick-Lingeman drove in from Perrysburg to hear Fitzgerald.

“We put other stuff off to come here,” Lingeman said. “We’ll work for his campaign.”

Roderick-Lingeman said she was impressed that “he’s thought things through,” unlike the incumbent who tends to make “knee jerk” moves.

When Fitzgerald talked about charter schools, she said, he distinguished between those run by for-profit companies and those run by public school districts.

Lingeman asked Fitzgerald how he would make sure the Democrats controlled the agenda. The Republicans, he said, always seem to set the terms of the debate.

Fitzgerald agreed, saying he was baffled how the Obama Administration lost control of the debate even after the Affordable Health Care Law was passed.

Fitzgerald, 44, said he figures there are five provisions in the law that will help his son who had cancer deal with health insurance related issues in the future.

In his talk Fitzgerald went on the offensive against Gov. John Kasich’s plan to borrow money against future turnpike revenues.

Fitzgerald said that while Kasich has backed away from proposals to sell the turnpike, this new plan would “bury the turnpike in debt.”

Once the opposition to selling the turnpike showed its strength, Kasich backed off his support.

He did that as well, Fitzgerald said, with Senate Bill 5, which would have curtailed the rights of public service unions. After the bill was rejected by voters, he denied he initiated it.

But Fitzgerald said that the one time he’s ever met Kasich, the then newly elected governor told the newly elected county executive that he would be cutting aid to local governments, but would initiate labor reform that would more than make up for that loss of revenue.

Fitzgerald maintained that Kasich has kept the state’s budget balanced at the expense of local governments, including education

And his plan to expand what is subject to sales tax in order to slash income taxes by 20 percent would mean working and poor people would pay more, and the richest Ohioans would pay less. That would only exacerbate the growing inequalities in American society, Fitzgerald said.

Darlene Bevelhymer, of Bowling Green, asked him how he would accomplish anything given the strong Republican majorities in the state Senate and House.

Fitzgerald expressed optimism that getting a majority in the House was possible. But he said there’s also a lot an executive can do without support from the legislature.

And if the “right wing” majority pushed through legislation, he would be there to veto it.

Ultimately though the political process needs to be repaired, he said.

That means reforming campaign financing and changing the way the lines of legislative districts are drawn.

The Republicans majorities are more the result of gerrymandering than an expression of the will of the people.

Bevelhymer said later that she’d come to the gathering with an open mind, but was now more convinced that Fitzgerald was the right candidate to carry the Democratic banner in 2014. She was particularly impressed by his comments on school funding.

Matthew Thacker, a Bowling Green State University student, and Daniel Gordon, a member of Bowling City Council and recent BGSU graduate, both said they were impressed by Fitzgerald.

He’ll be able to do more than “push an agenda,” Gordon said. He’ll also be able to “speak to issues and values.”

Thacker said that it speaks volumes that Fitzgerald visited the city now. “You can judge which party cares for you by who shows up in the off years.”
Last Updated on Saturday, 30 March 2013 18:30

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