Sharen Nuehardt

The 2014 Candidate’s Forum

By Alison Goebel, Associate Director OARC-CandidatesForum2014-Panel_cropped

On August 22, 2014, the Greater Ohio Policy Center co-hosted the 2014 Candidates’ Forum, sponsored by the Ohio Association of Regional Councils. Focused on transportation, economic development, infrastructure, and regionalism, the forum included remarks and a question-and-answer session with each Gubernatorial campaign and an excellent lunchtime conversation with national panelists.

Candidate for Lieutenant Governor, Sharen Nuehardt, spoke in the morning, emphasizing the commitment she and Candidate Fitzgerald have to support local communities' investments in transportation and infrastructure.

At lunch, the Forum brought together Simon Kennedy, associate partner at McKinsey & Company, the global management consulting firm; Teresa Lynch, principal of MassEconomics, a firm that assists communities in executing regional economic development strategies; Judge-Executive Gary Moore, president of the National Association of Regional Councils, the professional voice for regional planning organizations; and Beth Osborne, vice president at Transportation for America, a research and advocacy organization focused on advancing transportation reforms.

The panelists all emphasized the need to rethink community-making as a critical component for attracting and retaining jobs, businesses, and talent. Updated digital and physical infrastructure, connectivity among modes of transportation, and a strategic focus on what a region does best economically, were themes raised by the panelists. Some time was also spent on the role of congress in preventing strong economic development planning—without a multi-year transportation budget, local governments are unable and unwilling to make the resource-intensive investments that prepare a region for long term economic success and sustainability.

In the afternoon, Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor spoke. Her remarks focused on the transportation, economic development, and infrastructure accomplishments she and the Governor spearheaded in the past four years. She discussed how the approaches developed during their term in office provide templates for future action.

The Forum was well attended by mayors and elected officials, local government staff, regional planners, nonprofit representatives, consultants, Chambers of Commerce and advocates. As this was the first event of its kind this political season, GOPC was proud to co-host such a thoughtful and thought-provoking forum.