Earlier this month, GOPC was a table sponsor at the Gubernatorial Forum hosted by the The Ohio Association of Regional Councils (OARC). Speaking to a roomful of the state’s top political, business, and civic leaders, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray shared their campaign platforms related to transportation, infrastructure, job creation, and economic development. Both candidates were provided opportunities to outline their campaign platforms, and then participated in a “candidate interview” period to answer prepared questions regarding the state’s infrastructure challenges, regional development, and job creation activities.
Director Cordray shared his plan for creating progressive economic development in Ohio. Mr. Cordray spoke to the importance of integrating new technology into infrastructure and transit broadly, and pledged that he would lead an effort as Governor to pass a broad infrastructure bond program. Mr. Cordray stated that the bond program would include funding for a variety of issues, those of which include: road and bridge projects, broadband connections to rural Ohio, improvements for the electrical grid, funding for Ohio’s transit systems, and brownfields redevelopment efforts. Specifically, Mr. Cordray touched upon the need to address transit as a regional issue, beyond a focus on the local level, so as to make systems work better for customers. As a tool for revitalization, Mr. Cordray indicated that an investment in brownfield redevelopment will help prepare sites for development and serve as a tool to attract good jobs for Ohioans.
Attorney General Mike DeWine addressed the issue of rebuilding Ohio’s infrastructure by detailing his plan to appoint a Blue Ribbon commission, which will take an in-depth, detailed look at the challenges and ways to address them. Mr. DeWine expressed his plan to work with experts across the state, pledging to expand beyond Columbus. The Attorney General stated that, if elected, he will lead a statewide-conversation about what the challenges are and seek public comment and feedback before acting on any plan to ensure that all needs are being addressed. Mr. DeWine also said that in a DeWine/Husted administration, there would be a renewed investment in brownfield revitalization, pledging to have a new Clean Ohio-type program that would ensure former brownfield sites are ready for redevelopment, rather than waiting to clean-up sites when a designated end-user has been found.
Last year GOPC published 2018 Public Policy Program: A New Beginning for Ohio, which is our policy platform that focuses on three areas: brownfields, public transit, and reinvention cities. We were pleased that both candidates spoke to the importance of some of these policy areas during the OARC forum. As we continue to release research and policy recommendations, we hope to serve as a resource for the candidates' policy development on these critical revitalization issues.