Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald says Ohio Gov. John Kasich hasn’t done enough to try to keep Lockheed Martin from moving jobs out of Akron.
“He ought to be here personally and get everybody around the table and say, ‘Is there any stone that has been left unturned? Is there anything else that we can do?’?” FitzGerald said Monday during a 10-minute speech at the United Auto Workers hall on George Washington Boulevard.
“The only time this governor will show up is when there’s good news.”
Lockheed Martin is a short distance from the UAW hall.
More than 500 Lockheed Martin workers are expected to be laid off starting in June as the defense contractor moves work to other plants out of state. A majority of workers will be offered an opportunity to transfer.
FitzGerald, the Cuyahoga County executive, said the Republican governor also failed to visit Hannibal in southeastern Ohio when Ormet Corp. shuttered an aluminum factory last year and about 700 workers lost their jobs.
Chris Schrimpf, spokesman for the Ohio Republican Party, said the Kasich administration, as well as congressional members from both parties, tried to keep the Lockheed Martin jobs in Akron.
“And if he would spend a little less time playing politics, he’d know that the changes happening at the company are a result, in part, of President Obama’s budgets and spending plans,” Schrimpf said in an email. “Apparently, Ed’s campaign is floundering so much that he is now lashing out at his own political party.”
He added that Ohio lost 400,000 jobs under the last Democratic governor and has added 170,000 private sector jobs under Kasich.
FitzGerald said Ohio ranks 45th in the country for job creation. He traveled around the state criticizing the governor in advance of his State of the State speech delivered Monday night in Medina.
FitzGerald also offered the Democratic response to the governor’s speech.
The economic reality doesn’t match Kasich’s description of the economy, FitzGerald said.
UAW Local 856 President Fred Jones said the state needs a change at the top.
“I have never heard from Kasich about Lockheed,” he said. “Lockheed is really a big company here in Akron and I haven’t heard from him. It means a lot to keep these jobs here.”
In a comical moment, Jones introduced FitzGerald as “the next governor of this great state of Ohio, Ed Fitzpatrick.”
“It’s FitzGerald,” FitzGerald said. “It’s Irish, though. Close enough.”
FitzGerald has faced an uphill battle for name recognition in the state.
Despite that, Kasich holds only a 43 percent to 38 percent lead over FitzGerald, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released last week.
Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or email@example.com.