From the Cincinnati Enquirer…
Strickland: I'm leaving Ohio stronger
By Jon Craig
December 15, 2010
COLUMBUS - There were few parting shots. No bitterness, just a little bit of sadness and a few hiring tips for Gov.-elect John Kasich.
In his final public address at the Metropolitan Club on Wednesday, Democrat Ted Strickland said he did the best job he knew how as governor, but that Ohioans obviously wanted more when they voted him out of office Nov. 2.
"We are experiencing something that is unprecedented, at least in recent history," Strickland said, noting anyone under the age of 85 has never lived through such a terrible economy and persistent joblessness. "The economy is still in a very fragile condition.
"During a recession you keep things functional," said Strickland, adding no one should try to solve problems that have been around for decades.
"You survive," the one-term governor said. "That just seems like common sense to me, but 49 percent of Ohioans just didn't believe it."
Strickland reflected on Orville and Wilbur Wright of Dayton, who were ridiculed before their first flight. But their feat "changed the world," making Ohio an international center for aviation research and production. Today, Ohio is home to 1,200 aerospace firms that employ more than 100,000, he said.
"We may not have reached our final destination. But by God we got the plane in the air. ... The foundation of Ohio is stronger now than the day I took office," Strickland said.
Strickland said it would be foolish if his successor reverses advances made in funding public schools and increasing education standards.
"No one has ever made Ohio stronger by chipping away at the foundation of our public schools," he said.
Strickland indirectly criticized Kasich for opposing a statewide passenger rail system linking Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland. He said his saddest day as governor came this month when the federal government took back nearly $400 million in stimulus money for the so-called 3C rail project.
He suggested Kasich surround himself with people who "are in many ways more capable than you are." He said to hire people committed to public service, with deep knowledge of their fields, people with a Peace Corps spirit and who live by the golden rule.
The governor said his happiest moment came in 2007 when he hugged then-House Speaker Jon Husted after near-unanimous passage of his first state budget - "the slowest growth budget in 40 years. ... That was a very proud moment for me."
Asked what he'll do next, Strickland said: "I hope to die working. I remain committed to public service."