Candidate For Governor Of Ohio: Ed FitzGerald (D)

1. Please provide your name, age, family status, education, current job(s) held, and any current or previous elected offices held.

Name: Ed FitzGerald  

Age: 46

Marital status: Married    

Number of children/grandchildren: 4 children, 0 grandchildren   

Education: Law degree, Cleveland-Marshall School of Law (1993), Bachelor’s of Arts, Ohio State University (1990/1991) 

Current job(s) held: Cuyahoga County, County Executive

Previous employers: Lakewood mayor, Lakewood city council, assistant county prosecutor, FBI special agent - Chicago 

2. If you were grading the current Governor and Administration in Columbus, what grade would you give them? What have they done well and what do they need to improve upon?

Governor Kasich has run this state largely for the benefit of the wealthy and well-connected at the expense of Ohio’s middle class. I’m running to make sure that Ohio works for working families again, primarily by strengthening our public education system and bringing back family-sustaining jobs through our state. 

While 9 out of the 10 jobs lost in Ohio during the Great Recession were mid-wage or high-wage jobs, nearly all the jobs that have returned pay just $7-13 per hour. As Governor, I would invest in Ohio’s small businesses rather than overseas corporations so they are able to create family-sustaining jobs that will stay in this state. I would also raise the minimum wage so that full-time adult workers are no longer living in poverty. I would also work to strengthen Ohio’s new energy economy, which was providing billions in investments and thousands of good paying jobs to our state until Governor Kasich signed into law legislation effectively ending Ohio’s wind farm industry and freezing renewable energy and efficiency standards. 

Our tax code also needs to be reoriented to focus on giving money back to middle class families and small businesses rather than large corporate interests and wealthy Ohioans who will only put that money back into the stock market rather than Ohio’s economy.

Additionally, we need to restore the half billion dollars Governor Kasich cut from our public schools to fund tax breaks towards the wealthy, and ensure that it goes towards creating a diverse public school curriculum that keeps are students interested and engaged.

3. Explain how, given your background and experience, you plan to address the areas that you noted above as those that could be improved upon? Please be as specific as you can.

For the last four years, as Cuyahoga County Executive, I was able to make significant investments in our economy and public education system all while keeping our budget balanced. Governor Kasich said that making such investments would be impossible without increasing taxes, but I showed that’s just false. By making county government more efficient, I was able to create the state’s largest economic development fund and the country’s largest college affordability program. I would bring that same focus on government efficiency to Columbus in order to increase state investment in public education and create more good, middle class jobs. 

I also had the honor to serve as a special agent with the FBI and as a county prosecutor. As the Mayor of Lakewood, I used that background to improve public safety and public services without raising taxes. I’m very proud that the city was named one of the best places to raise a family under my leadership.

Finally, as a father of four children and a husband for 22 years, I understand firsthand the issues facing Ohio’s working families. My two oldest attend Cincinnati-area colleges and my two youngest are in high school, so the issue of college affordability is very personal to us. It’s unacceptable that when the cost of college is higher than ever before, Governor Kasich is investing the smallest percentage of our budget into higher education in nearly forty years. As Governor, I will restore funding to Ohio’s financial aid programs, so that students and their families see immediate relief. I will also expand on a program I pioneered in Cuyahoga County, and create universal college savings programs. Studies have shown that these programs not only help families save for college, but also increase the likelihood of completing post-high school education.  

4. If you are elected, how will the average citizen of Ohio, be able to tell that things are improving because of your work? 

This campaign is about making sure average people feel like they have a governor who works for them and is worried about their issues. Governor Kasich has repeatedly favored the wealthy and well-connected at the expense of Ohio’s middle class families. He cut half billion dollars to education to fund tax breaks that send just $48 back to the average middle class family but nearly $3,000 back to the wealthiest Ohioans. He drastically reduced funding to local communities at the same time he was growing the state budget, which caused local taxes to go up an average of 34 percent. He attacked the rights of police, firefighters and teachers through SB 5. His economic approach has also failed the middle class, as nearly all the jobs he created in are state pay just $7-13 hour. Ohio’s job growth is also lagging dramatically behind the rest of the nation. While the country has recovered the total number of jobs lost during the Great Recession, Ohio is still 120,000 jobs short of a complete recovery.

5. What other key issues, program, policies, etc., not already discussed, do you plan to take on if you are elected to the job of Governor of Ohio? 

As Governor, I will grow the economy from the middle out, rather than the top down, by investing in living-wage jobs, public education, and college affordability.

In a FitzGerald administration, we will (1) invest in our future by adequately funding public education and holding for-profit charter schools accountable, while investing in the future to make college more affordable for working families, (2) restore funding to local governments to re-hire laid off teachers, firefighters and police officers, and (3) ensure that economic development funds from the state are invested in an open and transparent process to work with companies that actually create good-paying jobs for working people. 

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Volume 10, Issue 23, Posted 6:05 PM, 10.28.2014