A Day on the Border

Staff and Wire Reports

U.S. Border Patrol agent Rene Cisneros gives migrant Gerberht Caraac, from Guatemala, a pat-down after he was caught trying to illegally enter the United States, Monday, June 25, 2018, in Hidalgo, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

U.S. Border Patrol agent Rene Cisneros gives migrant Gerberht Caraac, from Guatemala, a pat-down after he was caught trying to illegally enter the United States, Monday, June 25, 2018, in Hidalgo, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

A transport officer, right, helps immigrants Dilma Araceley Riveria Hernandez, and her son, Anderson Alvarado, 2, get off the bus after they were processed and released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Sunday, June 24, 2018, in McAllen, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

In this image taken through a caged window, U.S. Border Patrol agent Rene Cisneros, left, gives a pat-down to migrant Francisco Tum de Huachac, from Guatemala, after he was caught trying to illegally enter the United States, Monday, June 25, 2018, in Hidalgo, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

A day with Border Patrol: imperiled infant, distraught dad


Associated Press

Tuesday, June 26

McALLEN, Texas (AP) — The 4-month-old Honduran had just entered the United States illegally with a man who first claimed to be her father, then said he was her uncle, and presented what appeared to be a false birth certificate.

The girl, wrapped in white bedding, was placed in a white crib under close watch of U.S. investigators, who waited for a Honduran consular official to arrive Monday. She was among about 1,100 people in a former warehouse that tripled in size last year, largely to accommodate people — many from Central America — traveling as families, and children traveling alone.

Customs and Border Protection allowed news media organizations to tour of the 77,000-square-foot facility in McAllen on Monday on condition that no photos or video be taken. Families and children rested under shiny thermal blankets in cells of chain-link fences adorned with high-hanging televisions. They exited their cells for a lunch of a sandwich and apples.

After a similar facility in Nogales, Arizona, built for an influx of Central Americans in 2014 closed, McAllen’s “Ursula” processing center — named for the street on which it is located — became the agency’s only holding facility in the country with chain-link fences to detain children and families. There are separate pods for boys who came alone, girls who came alone and parents with their young children. Some older children are split from their parents to avoid having them mix with much younger children.

Within 72 hours, the adults and families are turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and unaccompanied children are turned over to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The agency also gave reporters a tour of the McAllen station’s area of responsibility along the snaking Rio Grande, the nation’s busiest station after the key drivers of illegal immigration shifted over the last decade from adult Mexican men entering in Arizona to Central American families and unaccompanied children crossing the river on Texas’ southern tip.

Two Honduran women — one with a 12-year-old daughter and one with a year-old boy — and two teenagers turned themselves in to Border Patrol agents a short distance from the river. The smuggler escaped back to Mexico on a dirt road surrounded on both sides by a lush landscape of mesquite trees and thorny brush.

Agents found Gerberht Charac, 19, on the roof of a trailer with a fellow Guatemalan seeking to elude authorities. Charac said he agreed to pay a smuggler $12,000 to get from Guatemala to Houston, where he planned to join a friend. He swam across the Rio Grande and stayed in a smuggling organization’s house before getting caught.

“I had hopes of making it,” Charac said after he choked up explaining that he came to the U.S. to provide for his wife and daughter who stayed behind in Guatemala.

Going to a Festival? BBB Encourages Research Before Buying Tickets

Columbus, OH (June 27, 2018) – According to everfest.com, Central Ohio will host over 30 festivals for all occasions between June and August. While planning out your summer adventures, BBB wants consumers to avoid those who may prey on your fun.

Each summer, scammers target festival enthusiasts by promising a variety of events. Whether the event doesn’t actually exist or doesn’t live up to your expectations, you end up losing money or at the very least, being very disappointed.

A Dublin, Ohio woman purchased tickets last fall for The Light Fest, which was scheduled for June 2, 2018. The Light Fest, also known as Viive Events, LLC, is headquartered in Utah, and has an F rating with BBB.

The event was advertised to be held in Columbus, Ohio, but actually took place in Waynesville, Ohio – well over an hour away. Due to the drive being longer than was promised, she was no longer able to attend the festival. The festival refused to refund her for the tickets she never would have purchased initially if had she known the actual location.

When looking for festivals around your area, BBB offers these tips:

Do your research. Search the festival’s name online and see if it matches the name advertised on the website. Look for a website with an “https” and a small padlock in the address bar. You can search for the festival at bbb.org to find out more information.

Check for contact information. Make sure the festival website has a phone number, physical address and email address. Be wary of sites that make it hard to reach someone, such as those that rely on a contact form instead of offering a customer service phone number.

Avoid tickets sold on sites that have free listings. Look up vendor Business Profiles at bbb.org.

Pay with a credit card. You can dispute the charges if the business doesn’t come through. Be wary of online sellers that don’t accept credit cards.

Check to see if you are able to buy tickets upon arrival. If you can wait until you get to the event to purchase an entry ticket, this is another easy way to ensure the festival is legitimate.

Determine if entry to the festival is free. There are many local festivals that don’t have a charge to enter. If you’re asked to pay for a festival that is free of charge, this is a red flag.

Don’t be pressured by a too-good-to-be-true deal. Compare ticket prices from multiple vendors before making a decision.

Avoid tickets sold on Craigslist and other free online listings. Scammers are skilled at providing realistic tickets and fake receipts. Check out third-party ticket sites at bbb.org before making purchases.

Consumers are encouraged to report scams to BBB Scam Tracker to help protect others in the Central Ohio community.

For more information, follow your BBB on Facebook, Twitter, and at bbb.org.

About BBB

For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2017, people turned to BBB more than 160 million times for BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.2 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. There are local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Serving Central Ohio, which was founded in 1921 and serves 21 counties in Central Ohio.

Editorial: When a foolish tariff hits close to home

By Editorial Board

June 1, 2018

Tariffs like those the Trump administration is imposing on imports invite trade wars — in this case, foolishly, with U.S. allies and neighbors. Thursday’s rollout of new tariffs on steel and aluminum from the European Union, Canada and Mexico have us baffled. One reason: Friday’s federal employment report, reflecting strong May hiring and unemployment at an 18-year low of 3.8 percent, speaks to a growing economy that tariffs threaten to undermine.

The Tribune has a long record of supporting free markets and opposing trade barriers. Open competition enables a dynamic economy that creates jobs and prosperity; government intrusion, by contrast, rarely leads to efficiency. So a federal tariff with repercussions close to home is especially vexing.

Trump’s Commerce Department has picked a trade fight with Canada over that country’s newsprint exports to the U.S. That means higher costs to American newspapers. Fortunately, some members of the U.S. Senate want to end this needless confrontation. If you care about the future of newspapers — as we obviously do — we hope you’ll look at the facts and support efforts to resolve the mess. In this particularly odd case, the Commerce Department is helping one U.S. manufacturing firm at great cost to an entire national industry.

The brief background: Commerce Department has added anti-dumping duties of up to 32 percent on newsprint and some other paper products from Canada. The agency says these products benefit from unfair Canadian government subsidies. U.S. publishers retort that Commerce is misreading the state of the newsprint industry, and using government power to benefit a single paper mill owner in Washington state. That one mill owner, North Pacific Paper, had asked Commerce to punish the imports from Canada. No other U.S. newsprint mills supported North Pacific’s claim, according to the News Media Alliance, an industry group.

The American newsprint industry is in decline as more Americans read newspapers’ digital editions. There isn’t much of a domestic newsprint industry to protect. Newsprint is also a regional business: Publishers and other users of printed products in the Midwest and East import their newsprint from Canada because there are no longer U.S. mills operating in their regions. And no one is clamoring to invest millions to build new mills on this side of the border.

This is an example of trade that was working as it should: Canada, blessed with forests and efficient paper producers, selling to an eager American market. But now because of pressure from one firm, publishers are seeing their costs skyrocket. Jobs are at stake.

The U.S. government is collecting duties at the border and newsprint prices in the U.S. are up 20 to 30 percent. But the situation still appears fluid. The International Trade Commission will conduct a final investigation, which will include a public comment period and hearings. Meanwhile, a group of Democratic and Republican senators have introduced legislation that would suspend the tariffs and require Commerce to review the economic health of the American printing and publishing industries.

Trump’s skeptical, inconsistent views on trade make our heads spin. While claiming to embrace free and fair trade, he’s been quick to threaten sanctions in certain industries, even against close trading partners. But he’s also pulled back from the brink in some circumstances. In the case of newsprint tariffs, lawmakers have an opportunity to reverse a bad decision. We’d like to see more members of Congress get involved.

BBB Partners with FTC and Law Enforcement to Stop Small Business Scams 

Columbus, OH (June 21, 2018) – BBB is partnering with state and federal agencies on Operation Main Street: Stopping Small Business Scams — a law enforcement initiative targeting operations seeking to defraud small businesses and an education outreach effort to help small businesses protect themselves from fraud. BBB joined with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), eight state Attorneys General, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and two U.S. Attorneys’ Offices to launch the efforts. The agencies announced a total of 24 actions involving defendants who allegedly perpetrated scams against small businesses.

BBB announced a new research report, “Scams and Your Small Business,” that provides substantial new insights into how fraud affects small businesses. In addition, the FTC and BBB announced new business education materials, designed to help small business owners and their employees avoid, identify, and report scams.

“Millions of U.S. consumers either own or work at small businesses nationwide, and the FTC is happy to join with our law enforcement partners and BBB to help stop scams and spread the word about how they can identify and avoid scams targeting their livelihood,” said FTC Chairman Joe Simons. “A top FTC priority is to stem the tide of fraud against small businesses.”

“Scams are a significant – and growing – problem for small businesses,” said Beverly Baskin, President and CEO, Council of Better Business Bureaus. “Nearly two thirds of those we surveyed said their business had been targeted by a scammer in the past three years, and many said that their businesses suffered a loss of consumer trust as a result. BBB is pleased to partner with the FTC to help small businesses spot and avoid scams and fraud.”

More information on the “Operation Main Street” enforcement actions is available on the FTC’s website.

BBB recently issued its “Scams and Your Small Business Research Report.” The report, which is available on BBB’s website and in hard copy format, is designed to educate and empower small businesses to speak up and report fraud, enabling BBB to expand its knowledge of how scams uniquely impact these consumers.

The report is based on results from a new survey that was conducted in March 2018 by six regional BBBs. It contains information from approximately 1,200 small businesses nationwide.

As an important component of Operation Main Street, the FTC and BBB issued co-branded materials that are available on their respective websites to help small businesses identify and avoid potential scams.

“Scams and Your Small Business” is available in both English and Spanish, and includes information on scammers’ tactics, how small businesses can protect themselves from scams, common scams that target small businesses, how to report a scam and related resources.

Consumers are encouraged to report scams to BBB Scam Tracker to help protect others in the Central Ohio community.

For more information, follow your BBB on Facebook, Twitter, and at bbb.org.

Ohio capital launches unique ‘Smart City’ operating system


The Associated Press

May 17

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s capital city unveiled an operating system on Thursday that will gather data for its pioneering smart city transportation project.

Columbus beat out six other mid-sized cities in 2016 to win the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge, a contest aimed at encouraging innovative ideas for moving people and goods more quickly, cheaply and efficiently.

The effort is supported by a $40 million federal grant and $10 million from Paul G. Allen Philanthropies. It has the potential to reduce collisions, speed first responder response times, curb freeway delays and get products to consumers faster.

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said launching the Smart Columbus Operating System is a major milestone on Columbus’ smart city journey, allowing officials to better analyze, interpret and share data that will help solve critical challenges and inspire innovation.

But the Democrat said the ultimate goal is to make life better.

“Fundamental to ‘becoming smart’ as a city is discovering how to use data to improve city services and quality of life for residents,” he said. “When we apply data to the challenges we experience as a city, we can transform outcomes in education, employment, healthcare and even access to healthy food.”

The city’s Smart Columbus team will manage and distribute 1,100 data feeds through the new operating platform to government offices and private companies.

The information that’s collected will help Columbus integrate self-driving cars, connected vehicles, smart sensors and other developing transportation technologies into the life of the city.

The city won its spot as the testing ground over San Francisco; Pittsburgh; Denver; Portland, Oregon; Austin, Texas; and Kansas City, Missouri.

Thursday’s operating system launch comes amid efforts by Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich to advance smart transportation technology statewide.

Kasich signed an executive order last week authorizing autonomous vehicle research to take place on all public roads across the state. The order laid out safety parameters for such projects and creates a voluntary pilot program linking local governments to participating companies.

The order extended Kasich’s efforts to make Ohio a hub of smart vehicle research and development.

Kasich Administration Accomplishments for 2017


 Keeping Ohio on Solid Financial Footing: A climate of fiscal balance and stability continues to be the most important signal Ohio can send to job creators as they look to do business in a state that’s on solid financial footing. The biennial budget signed by Gov. Kasich in June 2017 continues the Administration’s tradition of conservative, structurally balanced budgeting and restrained spending that has served Ohio well for the past seven years.

 Streamlining Ohio’s Tax System: The most recent biennial budget reduced the number of state income tax brackets from nine to just seven and streamlined Ohio’s tax system by giving businesses the option of filing just one form for their municipal taxes and making a single payment through the Ohio Business Gateway. This builds upon progress in recent years to address long-standing issues in Ohio’s municipal tax system.

 Giving Back to Ohio Employers Another $1.1 Billion in Workers’ Compensation Rebates: The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation returned more than $1.1 billion in rebates to Ohio employers in 2017, including $136 million to local schools, governments and other public employers. Combined with two previous rebates of $1 billion, a $1 billion credit and nearly $2 billion in rate cuts, the bureau has saved employers $6.3 billion since 2011.

 Spurring Economic Development: Through November 2017, JobsOhio worked on 227 projects with companies that committed to create 19,322 new jobs, retain 63,480 jobs and invest a total of $5.3 billion in new capital investment. (Final job-growth metrics for 2017 will be available from JobsOhio in March 2018).

 Reforming Ohio’s Regulatory Environment: The Common Sense Initiative (CSI) was one of the earliest initiatives of the Kasich Administration, charged with eliminating excessive or duplicative rules and regulations. In 2017, CSI examined 2,483 rules and either amended or rescinded approximately 58 percent of those reviewed.

 Growing Businesses at Record Levels: Through October of 2017, nearly 100,000 new entities have filed to do business in the state of Ohio. That’s more than 11,000 new entities than at the same point in 2016. Each year of Gov. Kasich’s administration has led to a new annual record for business filings, and Ohio is well on its way to reaching that same milestone in 2017.

 Creating Jobs: Since January of 2011, Ohio private sector jobs have grown by nearly 500,000, making Ohio one of the top job creators in the nation over the course of the Kasich administration. At the same time, Ohio’s ranking for job growth rate has skyrocketed. In the 20 years prior to the Kasich administration Ohio ranked 46th in job growth rate. Since January 2011, Ohio has leapt to 24th, making the Buckeye state the 5th most improved state in job growth rate.


 Unlocking the Full Power of State Government’s Data Resources: Ohio state government is taking the benefits of advanced data analytics to the next level by requiring state agencies, boards and commissions to share the data they now store in more than 1,600 separate databases. By better connecting and correlating these individual data resources and applying advanced analytical technologies, the state can tackle complex problems such as infant mortality, child welfare issues, opiate addiction, poverty, and school dropout rates. For example, in December 2017, the state awarded a contract to harness the power of data analytics by coordinating databases dealing with efforts to reduce infant mortality.

 Creating Smart Highways as Testing Corridors for New Transportation Technologies: To complement two advanced transportation research corridors along the Ohio Turnpike and a 35-mile stretch of U.S. 33, the state began work on two additional smart highway projects in 2017. Portions of the Interstate 270 beltway in Columbus and Interstate 90 in northeast Ohio are being outfitted as laboratory highways for innovators to refine jobs-creating technologies for linked and autonomous vehicles. Also in 2017, construction began on Ohio’s first SmartLane, along Interstate 670 in Columbus, providing flexible lane capacity to meet rush-hour demand, advanced digital signage and variable speed limits to adjust for road and traffic conditions.

 Making Ohio the Premier Destination for Smart Mobility: Ohio is creating a statewide center that will bring together those responsible for building infrastructure in Ohio with those who are developing new transportation technologies to better coordinate efforts and connect transportation providers with automotive and equipment manufacturers.

 Investing in the Transportation Research Center, North America’s Foremost Independent Automotive Proving Ground: Funding in the Kasich Administration’s transportation budget, together with commitments from the federal government and other partners, invests $45 million for expanded research capabilities at the Transportation Research Center in East Liberty – North America’s most advanced independent automotive test facility and an ideal environment for autonomous vehicle and smart highway research.

 Developing the Nation’s First “Sense and Avoid” Test Site for Drones: Ohio is working with the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory to develop a ground-based “sense-and avoid-system” for unmanned aircraft and has already invested in a $5 million cooperative effort. The state remains committed to advancing work underway at the Ohio Unmanned Aircraft System Center and Text Complex in Springfield for further research that gives Ohio a major advantage as drones become the basis for new industries and economic growth.

 Improving Cybersecurity: To ensure that Ohio’s government, education and research infrastructure is protected against outside cybersecurity threats, the Kasich Administration initiated plans for a “cyber range” – a virtual environment used for cybersecurity training and IT infrastructure testing. In addition, the state is working with the business community to encourage an increase in the number of students who pursue certificates or degrees in cybersecurity.

 Encouraging New Business Development through University Discoveries: To encourage more technology commercialization and the formation of start-up businesses using discoveries made at Ohio’s public colleges and universities, Ohio is directing schools to adopt policies to break down barriers to taking intellectual property to the marketplace. The chancellor of higher education may now consider whether an institution has a tenure track for faculty members who pursue commercialization activities in order for that institution to receive research funds from the Ohio Department of Higher Education.

 Moving State Computer Systems Into the Cloud: Cloud computing is transforming business and industry across the world, and state government in Ohio has been moving aggressively over the past seven years to capitalize on the benefits of storing its data in the cloud. Through 2017, state agencies have moved about 87 percent of their computer systems to the cloud, improving the way government interfaces with the public, strengthening security and reducing costs.

 Bringing State Government into the Digital Age: State government in Ohio has been aggressively finding ways to modernize its processes, using digital and electronic technologies to move away from paper forms and applications. A number of improvements in 2017 – including statewide document management and e-Fax systems – helped toward removing paper from state government transactions and improving customer service, enhancing security and reducing costs. Ohio is also developing a statewide grants management system to support the electronic processing of all grants as well as a system to allow signatures required on state documents to be submitted electronically.


 Allocating Record Resources for K-12 Education: In the FY2018-2019 biennial budget, the Kasich Administration increased base support to Ohio schools by more than $166 million, spending $1.5 billion more for K-12 education than in 2011 – the strongest level ever at nearly $10.6 billion.

 Better Preparing Students with Expanded STEM Programs and New STEAM Education: Ohio has grown educational opportunities focused on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. The state budget enhances those opportunities with a new STEAM designation available for schools, with the “A” representing Arts. This new designation recognizes the additional career opportunities and critical creative skills offered to Ohio’s students by exposing them to these increasingly important fields.

 Leveraging the Strength of Ohio’s Public Library System: The state budget positioned Ohio’s public libraries as “continuous learning centers” and helped adult learners access online programs to gain additional skills.

 Addressing the Skills Gap, Making It Easier for Schools to Provide Work Experience: While public schools have had flexibility in providing credit for internships and other work experience, that ability has often been underutilized. The biennial budget requires districts to review and update their plans and policies to ensure that all students have the opportunity to receive credit for appropriate work experience. In addition, schools now offer an OhioMeansJobs designation on high school diplomas for students who demonstrate that they are job-ready.

 Awarding Degrees and Certificates Based on Competency Instead of Just Classroom Time: Ohio’s chancellor of higher education can now recognize Western Governors University, a multi-state, nonprofit online institution that awards college credit and degrees based on a student’s demonstrated competencies instead of just the amount of time spent in the classroom. The university provides a flexible college option for working, adult learners to pursue a college degree in four career fields.

 Offering Bachelor’s Degrees at Community Colleges Where There Is a Demand That Is Not Being Met: Six Ohio community colleges have requested permission to offer nine different bachelor degrees in regions of the state where Ohio’s universities do not offer specialized degree programs. The program must demonstrate employer demand and be a partnership between industry and the community college. This provides another low-cost pathway for students and strengthens Ohio’s ability to meet workforce demands in the Knowledge Economy. Proposed degree programs range from culinary and food services to unmanned aerial systems.

 Strengthening Pathways to a Low-Cost Degree: The success of Ohio’s efforts to provide a seamless transition between community colleges and four-year universities has paved the way for expanded opportunities to allow students to complete three years of their coursework at a community college and finish their degree at a four-year university. While a number of schools have “3+1” pathway agreements, Ohio’s new budget will help institutions interested in developing more such agreements between Ohio’s two- and four-year institutions.

 Preparing Ohioans for Today’s Workplace and for Jobs of the Future: At Gov. Kasich’s request, the Executive Workforce Board recommended 58 strategies for preparing and continuously retraining Ohioans of all ages for the jobs of today and the future. These recommendations, including many reflected in the FY2018-2019 biennial budget, constitute three main themes: 1) connecting business and education; 2) creating a culture of continuous learning; and 3) building alternative career pathways for students and job seekers. The Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation and Executive Workforce Board continue to collaborate with partners throughout the state to implement all 58 recommendations, making considerable progress to date.

 Helping Employers and Higher Education Improve Workforce Training for In-Demand Careers: Through the Regionally Aligned Priorities in Delivering Skills (RAPIDS) program, the Ohio Department of Higher Education has brought together higher education institutions and employers to provide shared equipment to be used for local in-demand workforce training needs. Nearly $8 million has been invested in eight collaborative projects, providing funds to purchase equipment for worker training in fields such as health care, cybersecurity and advanced manufacturing. For example, institutions across Ohio – ranging from community colleges to universities – were awarded nearly $600,000 to purchase additive manufacturing and 3D printing equipment, giving students advanced training opportunities in emerging technologies.


 Providing Better Choices for Ohioans with Developmental Disabilities: Building on the previous biennium’s historic investment of $286 million in additional state funding for Ohio’s developmental disabilities system, the FY2018-2019 state budget includes an additional $65 million. This increased support continues the Kasich Administration’s commitment to providing more opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities to receive care in the community.

 Supporting Mental Health Services: The state budget signed in June 2017 maintains the Kasich Administration’s strong commitment to support Ohioans with mental health needs, including the continued integration of Ohio’s behavioral and physical health systems, increased crisis bed capacity and strengthened support for children in crisis.

 Using Innovation and New Technologies to Improve Transportation for Those Seeking Health Care Services: Over the past seven years, as the state has improved health care coordination for the most vulnerable Ohioans, the transportation system many rely upon to access medical appointments remained outdated and inconsistent. The state budget signed in June 2017 allows the Ohio Department of Medicaid to assume responsibility for management of non-emergency medical transportation services, beginning as early as July 2018. Modernizing this system will enable these services to operate more efficiently; providing consistent, safe, and high quality service to Ohioans on Medicaid, no matter where they live.

 Protecting Young Ohioans from Lead Paint Hazards: Over the past five years, with the support of federal funding, the Ohio Department of Health’s Lead Hazard Control Program, has helped local communities identify and repair homes and apartments containing lead-based paint, a toxic hazard for infants and children. The department now maintains an on-line registry in 34 counties, listing residential units that have been made lead-safe through this program.


 Strengthening Efforts to Protect Lake Erie: Senate Bill 2, championed by the Kasich Administration and signed by the governor in 2017 strengthens the Ohio Lake Erie Commission’s ability to help the state meet its commitments under the binational Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement to reduce phosphorus in Lake Erie’s Western Basin 40 percent by 2025 and to refocus efforts on its Lake Erie Protection and Restoration Strategy.

 Partnering with Higher Education to Study Water Quality: To create solutions to combat harmful algae blooms in Lake Erie and across Ohio, the state continued its partnerships in 2017 with The Ohio State University, University of Toledo, Bowling Green State University and Heidelberg University, among others. The coalition of universities is now completing its research on an expedited schedule and working with agencies to identify priorities and gaps relating to the state’s algae-prevention strategy, inform policy makers on drinking water treatment, and provide research and analysis on Ohio’s water quality program. Since the start of the Kasich Administration through the end of FY2018, the state will have spent a total of $8 million to study harmful algae blooms.

 Encouraging Better Use of Dredge Materials: Senate Bill 2 also provides a straightforward regulatory framework for the safe and beneficial reuse of material dredged from federal navigation channels by giving users and marketers of dredged material defined criteria for classifying this material.

 Requiring Financial Assurance for Privately Owned Water Systems: When the owner of a private water system shows an unwillingness or inability to make repairs to ensure safe drinking water for Ohio citizens, the Ohio EPA now has tools to fix the problem, while requiring financial assurance from new or modified private water systems to ensure that needed repairs are made.

 Requiring Ongoing Asset Management Efforts by Public Water Systems: Ohio addressed poor management seen at some public water systems in the past by requiring each system operator to implement an asset management program to demonstrate ongoing technical, financial and managerial capability,

 Ensuring Responsible Disposal of Construction and Demolition Debris: Ohio established much-needed regulatory oversight of construction and demolition debris processing facilities to ensure these potential pollutants are properly managed and disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner.

 Strengthening the State’s Ability to Clean up Abandoned Landfills: The Kasich Administration championed new laws to strengthen the Ohio EPA’s ability to inspect, evaluate and clean up abandoned landfills.


 Investing $1 Billion in Ohio’s Fight against Drug Abuse and Addiction: In FY2017, the state invested more than $1 billion to help fight drug abuse and addiction. The new biennial budget maintains this strong funding commitment in order to provide continued access to health care for many Ohioans struggling with addiction, while increasing support for other treatment and recovery efforts, as well as interdiction.

 Putting in Place New Limits for Opiate Prescriptions: Ohio put in place stringent new limits on prescriptions issued for the treatment of acute pain. Adoption of these limits – no more than seven days of opiates for adults and five days for minors – is projected to reduce opiate doses in Ohio by 109 million over the coming year to help save lives and fight addiction.

 Encouraging New Scientific Breakthroughs to Tackle Addiction: Ohio has developed the most comprehensive approach to fighting drug abuse and addiction in the nation, and recognizes that its world-class research centers and business community can be a tremendous asset in our fight against addiction. In 2017, at Gov. Kasich’s request, the Third Frontier Commission set aside up to $20 million to help advance new scientific breakthroughs that can help curb drug abuse and addiction. In the first round of funding, in December 2017, the commission awarded $10 million to seven different entities for innovative scientific ideas to address various components of the drug epidemic. .

 Strengthening Prescription Drug Oversight: In January 2017, Gov. Kasich signed Senate Bill 319, which included reforms championed by the Administration to strengthen opiate-prescription oversight by the Ohio Board of Pharmacy and encourage responsible treatment and preventing overdoses. Among its provisions are requirements for: Ohio pharmacy technicians to register with the Board of Pharmacy to ensure uniformity in the background-check process; for all technicians to maintain a set level of competency through continuing education: for all facilities in possession of controlled substances to be licensed by the Board of Pharmacy to reduce opportunities for diversion; and for facilities with prescribers who treat more than 30 individuals to be licensed with the Board of Pharmacy to ensure that buprenorphine products are appropriately prescribed.

 Reducing Opioid Dependence among Injured Workers: To cut the number of opioid painkillers prescribed to injured workers and thus reduce the risk of opioid dependence, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation developed rules requiring those treated for lower back injuries to undergo at least 60 days of comprehensive conservative care before considering a surgical option. This and other pharmacy management changes implemented by the bureau since 2011 have cut both the number of opioids prescribed and the rate of worker dependence in half over the past seven years.

 Ensuring Uniform Prescribing Guidelines to Help in the Fight against Addiction: Critical to work by the Kasich Administration’s Common Sense Initiative (CSI) in 2017 was its review and coordination of opiate prescribing guidelines submitted by four state regulatory boards. CSI helped ensure the separate boards established uniform standards for patient care while enhancing protection from addiction.


 Transitioning More Ex-Offenders into Jobs: The Kasich Administration has focused on policies that help those with criminal convictions get back on their feet, become productive members of society and take part in the state’s economic success. Each year, about 22,000 ex-offenders must wait as long as one year after leaving the prison system to apply for and receive a Certificate of Qualification for Employment, which helps them obtain employment in certain fields. The law now permits the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction to identify certain offenders (those with vocational skills or other exceptional program accomplishments) to apply to the courts for the needed certification immediately upon release.  Providing Resources to Local Communities for Enhanced Reentry and Diversion Efforts: In 2016, approximately 8,300 of the nearly 20,000 individuals committed to Ohio prisons were sent there for one year or less, and about half of those were the lowest level of felony offences. Legislation championed by the Kasich Administration created the Targeted Community Alternatives Program (T-CAP), making nearly $60 million in grants available through the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction to provide local communities with resources to manage such low-level, non-violent and often drug-addicted Ohioans in more effective local community settings. To date, a total of 48 counties are participating, and more are expected to join in 2018. By assisting local communities to manage these low-level offenders in a less costly, more effective alternative to prison, T-CAP helps ensure that these individuals receive the essential treatment they need at the community level, while contributing to the reduction of Ohio’s prison population.


 Continuing Ohio’s Record-breaking Pace for Highway Repairs and Improvements: Over the past seven years, during a time when many states have fallen behind in repairs and improvements to their highway infrastructure, Ohio has invested an unprecedented $14 billion in nearly 7,000 projects. The two-year transportation budget signed this year will fund 43 major highway improvement projects in addition to 446 separate bridge projects, 615 pavement projects and 356 safety enhancement projects.

 Laying Groundwork to Ensure Ohio’s Leadership in Smart Mobility Technologies: As detailed earlier (Preparing Ohio for the Jobs of the Future), Ohio took major steps in 2017 toward creation of smart highway corridors and other initiatives to make Ohio a premier destination for the testing, development and implementation of smart mobility technologies.


 Adopting First-Ever Standards to Improve Community/Police Relations: More than 500 agencies employing over 27,000 officers in all 88 counties are participating in Ohio’s new certification process to improve community and police relations. Each agency has demonstrated successful implementation of Ohio’s new statewide standards for the use of force, including deadly force, and model hiring and recruiting practices to ensure high-quality, diverse and professional law enforcement personnel.

 Gaining a Better Understanding of Officer-Involved Shootings: Ohio took steps in 2017 to enhance its current law enforcement reporting system to better track and analyze the use of force and to study common, contributing factors in an effort to improve overall community-police relations. As a result this will provide a better understanding of when officers across the state have used force in the line of duty – including Tasers, batons, hands or other weapons.

 Combating Human Trafficking: The Governor’s Human Trafficking Task Force is now enlisting the efforts of the Ohio Investigative Unit’s undercover agents who may interact with potential victims of human trafficking in the course of their assigned enforcement roles. The agents are uniquely positioned to reach youth and young adults on liquor permit premises, and routinely partner with local law enforcement on investigations.

Keeping the Rate of Workplace Injuries in Ohio Below the National Average for a Fourth Consecutive Year: Successful efforts by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation to promote safe and healthy workplaces are reflected in the most recent annual statistics, showing workplace injuries and illnesses in Ohio dropped nine percent last year – well below the national average for a fourth consecutive year. Ohio experienced 2.7 injuries per 100 full-time employees in 2016, bettering the national average of 3.2 injuries per 100. In addition, the total number of workers’ compensation claims dropped below 88,000, the lowest level in Ohio since at least 1997, when there were more than 277,000 claims.

Gun law changes embraced by Gov. Kasich introduced in Ohio

By JULIE CARR SMYTH, AP Statehouse Correspondent

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio would get a “red flag” law and other bipartisan gun law changes embraced by Republican Gov. John Kasich under a bill introduced at the Statehouse.

State Rep. Michael Henne, a Dayton-area Republican, introduced legislation containing six changes Kasich recommended last month to Ohio gun and background check laws. The second-term governor pitched it as a palatable package to policymakers of both parties.

“These are just sensible changes that should keep people safer,” Henne said.

Kasich’s recommended changes included a so-called “red flag” law that would enable family members, guardians or police to ask judges to temporarily strip gun rights from people who show warning signs of violence through a new gun violence restraining order. Several other states have embraced such laws.

Additional recommendations that Henne said are included in the bill are: forcing stricter compliance with deadlines and penalties around entering data into the national background check system; prohibiting those under domestic violence protection orders from buying or possessing firearms; and clarifying Ohio’s prohibition on so-called “strawman” third-party gun purchases.

“I’ve vetted this with my friends who are strong gun-rights, 2nd amendment people and they don’t have any problem with these issues,” Henne said. “No one should have any objections to this. This is just sensible stuff.”

The proposals emerged from a politically diverse advisory panel that Kasich assembled after Las Vegas saw the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history in October. He accelerated the group’s work after 17 died in a school shooting in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14.

Among Kasich’s advisers were former Ohio Attorney General Betty Montgomery, a tough-on-crime Republican, and Nina Turner, a former Democratic state senator from Cleveland who was a national mouthpiece for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential bid. Turner, whose son is a police officer, also served on Kasich’s commission on improving police-community relations.

Highly divisive issues — such as raising age limits of gun purchases, banning AR-15 assault-type rifles or imposing universal background checks — were absent, presumably because they continued to divide the group.

Kasich also called on Ohio to move quickly to implement measures to ensure timely and accurate compliance with required records reporting to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, to keep guns out of the hands of those with criminal convictions and other prohibited conditions.

Three other recommendations — in the areas of armor-piercing bullets, “strawman” gun purchases and gun restrictions on domestic violence offenders — involved bringing Ohio laws in line with tougher federal standards.

The panel’s final suggestion is that Ohio law be changed to automatically incorporate any future changes to federal gun regulations into state law.

Julie Carr Smyth can be reached on Twitter at: https://www.twitter.com/jcarrsmyth.

EVENT DETAILS – earlier this year

Fritsche Theatre at Otterbein University, 30 S. Grove St.

“In my last State of the State address, I’ll talk about the values that have guided our Administration for the past eight years. They’re values that can bring us together to guide Ohio – and each of us – going forward.” – Gov. John Kasich

Ohio Gov. Kasich to deliver Kennedy School graduation address

The Harvard Gazette

February 13, 2018

Ohio Governor John R. Kasich will deliver the graduation address to the Harvard Kennedy School Class of 2018, Dean Douglas Elmendorf announced.

Kasich was elected governor of Ohio in 2010 and re-elected in 2014. During his time in office, Kasich has worked to improve the state’s economy and has closed an $8 billion budget shortfall while reducing state income taxes and eliminating the state’s estate tax. He has also prioritized state infrastructure projects, innovation in education, and tackling the opioid epidemic. Ohio has added almost 500,000 jobs during Kasich’s tenure.

“Governor Kasich is a truly committed public servant who has gained respect from citizens and colleagues on both sides of the political aisle over a long and distinguished career,” Elmendorf said. “We are honored and delighted that he will deliver the graduation address to the Harvard Kennedy School Class of 2018.”

The graduation address will be delivered at 2 p.m. on May 23 at Harvard Kennedy School. It will be live-streamed on the School’s website: http://www.hks.harvard.edu/commencement. Journalists interested in covering the address should contact the School’s Communications Office at 617-495-1115.

10 governors shaping the future of politics

By Reid Wilson – 02/21/18

The Hill

The Trump administration is dramatically reshaping the relationship between the federal government and states.

It has shifted the burdens of paying for everything from health care to infrastructure out of Washington and into the states.

That transition is putting a new spotlight on governors as they meet this week for their annual gathering — and their annual audience with President Trump. What happens in state capitals often ends up driving the agenda in Washington. Here are 10 governors experimenting with new ways of doing business whose ideas are likely to shape the national debate.


Greg Abbott, Texas Republican

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott launched his bid for a second term with a rally in San Antonio, where his wife’s family lives. Then he spent a day and a half in the Rio Grande Valley, campaigning in some of the most reliably Democratic territory in Texas.

At a time when Republicans nationally have struggled to connect with Hispanic voters, who make up much of the state’s electorate, Abbott actively courts them.

“It’s asinine to run a campaign that only seeks votes from a portion of the voters and be successful,” said David Carney, Abbott’s chief strategist. “Hispanic voters in Texas have a long history, predating Anglos, and they are intertwined in every facet of Texas civic fabric. Gov. Abbott engages with Hispanic voters, listens to their aspirations and actively solicits their support, and that has paid off at the ballot box.”

Abbott is no less conservative than most Texas Republicans. Last year, he signed a measure banning “sanctuary cities” and has threatened to withhold funds from cities and counties that do not cooperate with immigration officials.

But his state relies heavily on trade with Mexico, and early in Trump’s term he told then-Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly that forcing Mexico to pay for a border wall by levying tariffs on imports would be bad for Texas businesses.

His outreach has produced results: Four years ago, Abbott won 44 percent of the Hispanic vote. This year, with more than $40 million in the bank and facing weak Democratic challengers, he hopes to beat that mark.


Charlie Baker, Massachusetts Republican

For such a liberal state, Massachusetts has a notable history of electing a certain type of Republican governor, a non-ideologue with a business background willing to work across the aisle with Democrats who control Beacon Hill.

William Weld. Paul Cellucci. Mitt Romney. And now Charlie Baker.

As Trump molds the national Republican Party in his own image, Baker has stood out for his willingness to break ranks. Baker said publicly he did not vote in the 2016 presidential election. He opposed Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord. And when Trump used derogatory language to describe El Salvador, Haiti and African nations, Baker said Trump should apologize for what he called “appalling and disgraceful” remarks.

Given the choice between Trump and Baker, Massachusetts voters seem stuck on the hometown boy. Trump’s approval rating in Massachusetts stands at 29 percent, according to a WBUR poll conducted last month. Baker’s approval rating, meanwhile, stands at an astounding 74 percent.

Baker spent his first several years cutting taxes and boosting funding to fight the opioid epidemic, but he largely avoids the partisan scrum that infects many other states. He does not face a top-tier challenger as he seeks reelection in 2018.

Baker is one of a handful of Northeastern Republicans who remain popular even in deep-blue states, along with Maryland’s Larry Hogan and Vermont’s Phil Scott. Together, they are proof that the right Republican can still win a blue state.


Kate Brown, Oregon Democrat

Portland, Ore., rarely draws the same kind of scrutiny for its liberal policies as Seattle or San Francisco. But the City of Roses has produced some of the most reliably liberal politicians in Washington or Salem, including Sen. Jeff Merkley (D), Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D) — and Gov. Kate Brown.

Since ascending to the governorship after her predecessor quit over an influence-peddling scandal, Brown has pursued arguably the most aggressively liberal agenda of any governor in America. She signed a measure to expand coverage of abortion services to low-income residents, and another ending Oregon’s reliance on coal-powered electricity.

This year, Brown’s legislative agenda includes a version of cap and trade and a bill that would allow law enforcement to take guns away from someone convicted of stalking a partner.

“Gov. Brown’s progressive agenda, especially her focus on closing loopholes to keep guns out of the hands of domestic violence abusers and stalkers as well as her efforts to help make Oregon a leader on reducing carbon emissions, should be replicated across the country,” said Tina Kotek, the Democratic Speaker of the state House.

At a time when Democrats debate the best ways to win back white working-class voters in red and purple states, Brown is giving progressives an agenda to cheer. She faces a potentially strong challenge in 2018 from state Rep. Knute Buehler (R), but Oregon hasn’t elected a Republican governor since 1982, the second-longest streak of continuous Democratic rule in the nation.


Steve Bullock, Montana Democrat

Trump won the White House in part by railing against a system rigged in favor of the elites and against the average American. The same night he carried Montana by 20 points, Gov. Steve Bullock won reelection by four points — in part by carrying the same message, one that could inform national Democrats who have fallen out of touch with voters in exurban and rural areas.

Bullock is a graduate of Columbia Law School who practiced at the white-shoe firm Steptoe & Johnson. But back in Montana he has fashioned an image as a populist who stands for public lands and public education, and against the big corporate interests.

That can be especially resonant in a state like Montana, where the railroads and the timber industry once owned the legislature.

Bullock stood up for the state’s campaign finance system, which set some of the lowest contribution limits in the nation, to guard against outsized industry influence. He opposes efforts to privatize public lands, in a state where many adults have either a hunting or a fishing license. And he became the first governor to fight the Trump administration’s plans to roll back net neutrality by signing an executive order requiring state contractors to keep the Obama-era rules in place.

Montana becomes first state to implement net neutrality after FCC repeal

The cornfields of Iowa and the diners of New Hampshire will be packed with coastal contenders in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. Bullock seems almost certain to be there too, with a decidedly different outlook on how his party should appeal to voters they have lost.


Eric Holcomb, Indiana Republican

Aides to politicians are accustomed to working in the shadows. They toil for years, with low pay and little recognition, in service of someone else. But Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb is one of the rare staffers who has stepped firmly into the spotlight in his own right.

Holcomb’s career includes stints working for then-Rep. John Hostettler (R), Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) and Sen. Dan Coats (R). He also chaired the Indiana Republican Party. But his first two runs for public office ended abruptly: He lost a bid for a state legislative seat, and ended his campaign to replace Coats.

But Indiana’s lieutenant governor quit unexpectedly, and Holcomb got his chance when then-Gov. Mike Pence (R) chose him to fill the ticket.

He won his own full term in 2016, when the GOP swept Indiana’s top offices.

Now, the staffer has become the one who needs staff. But longtime friends say he hasn’t let the power go to his head: he still shows up to high school basketball games on Friday nights and maintains a collection of presidential autographs. He needs only George Washington and John Adams to complete the set.

Holcomb has spent his first year focused on an opioid crisis that has hit Indiana especially hard. Instead of slashing taxes, which he worked on when Daniels was governor, he passed a 20-year infrastructure plan that raised gas taxes 10 cents per gallon and won bipartisan support.

“This is someone who’s been at the table, sees how it works, certainly has his principles and convictions, but knows it takes a team to get the work done,” said Pete Seat, a longtime friend of Holcomb’s who has worked on his campaigns.

As Congress turns to its own massive infrastructure plan, one that foists more responsibility to the states, Holcomb’s long-term initiative in Indiana may become a national model for other staffers — and governors — to follow.


Jay Inslee, Washington Democrat

As a member of Congress, Jay Inslee published a book spotlighting the coming revolution in alternative and renewable energy. As Washington’s governor, Inslee has pushed new clean energy projects across the state, especially in areas where unemployment rates have been high for decades due to the declining timber industry.

This year, Inslee is putting his political capital into a new carbon tax plan making its way through the Democratic-led legislature, a measure that would tax oil and gas emissions and emissions from power plants at a rate of $20 per metric ton. And as head of the Democratic Governors Association, he sees the shift away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy as a new message for his party.

Washington governor proposes new carbon tax

“This is fundamentally a jobs message,” Inslee told The Hill in an interview last year in his office in Olympia. “I was able to go out and demonstrate where these jobs are and show real people with their pickup trucks that are working today in manufacturing jobs that didn’t exist 10 years ago.”

Is a renewable economy something that could anchor a run for the White House? “I’m excited about this message,” Inslee said. “It worked in my race, it’s now worked twice. So I’m very happy to run on this issue.”


John Kasich, Ohio Republican

After losing a presidential campaign, some candidates fade into the background. Others go back to work. Most never completely get over the desire to sit in the Oval Office.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich is not the kind who goes quietly into that good night. He was one of the last candidates standing against Trump in the 2016 Republican primary, and has emerged as one of the president’s most persistent critics.

Kasich in recent months has criticized the administration’s proposed ban on immigrants from Muslim-majority nations, taken Trump to task over what he calls “loose talk” about going to war with North Korea, ripped Trump’s handling of violent clashes between white supremacists and peaceful protestors in Charlottesville, Va., and called on fellow Republicans to disavow Trump’s comments about African nations, Haiti and El Salvador.

If anyone is wedded to the old ideological roots of the Republican Party, it is Kasich.

Kasich’s allies still hold a candle for a comeback, and he has done plenty to stoke the fires of a possible primary challenge to Trump in 2020. His nationwide book tour, and an accompanying media blitz, makes him an evergreen public presence.

Perhaps most tellingly, Kasich for America, his former presidential campaign committee, is still raising money — not a lot, just $190,000 last year — but more than other candidates who dropped out.

Only one elected president, Franklin Pierce, has ever been denied renomination by his own party. That was in 1856. But with Trump’s popularity near record lows for a first-term president, those who pine for a return to the GOP’s roots still have Kasich on the brain. Other Republicans say Kasich will never be embraced by the GOP base and that he only won one state in 2016: Ohio.


Phil Murphy, New Jersey Democrat

In all eight states that have voted to legalize marijuana for recreational use, voters have passed ballot measures over the objections of their governors. New Jersey does not allow ballot measures like the ones that passed in Colorado, Washington and elsewhere — but it does have a governor who supports legal weed.

After eight years under GOP Gov. Chris Christie, Gov. Phil Murphy is steering the state in a starkly different direction: He has backed new gun control measures, ordered the state to rejoin a group of Northeastern neighbors working to curb carbon emissions and pledged to restore cuts to Planned Parenthood funding.

But Murphy’s support for marijuana legalization may be the starkest departure from Christie, a former U.S. attorney who called legal pot backers “crazy liberals.” And it may reflect a new era in which pot politics are far less fraught than before.

“Phil Murphy represents the changing political dynamics surrounding marijuana. He actually campaigned on legalization and then mentioned it in his inaugural address,” said Tom Angell, a legalization advocate who founded the group Marijuana Majority. “Especially in comparison to his predecessor, Murphy’s stance shows that the politics of cannabis are rapidly shifting.”

Murphy wouldn’t be the first governor to sign a marijuana legalization law: That distinction belongs to Vermont’s Phil Scott (R), who signed a compromise bill last month. And legalization is far from certain, even with the governor’s backing. Murphy’s main obstacles at the moment are the Democratic leaders in the state legislature, who are less certain that legalization is the proper path.

But at a moment when public opinion on pot is changing, Murphy is treading on turf that was unthinkable not too long ago.


Scott Walker, Wisconsin Republican

Few accomplishments shine as brightly on a governor’s resume than landing a major factory, one that will bring hundreds or thousands of good jobs and last long beyond a gubernatorial tenure. And Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker now has a mega-project of his own.

Last year, the Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn said it would build its first major American factory in Racine County, creating as many as 13,000 new jobs and infusing at least $9 billion into the local economy.

“The Foxconn project is a game changer for Wisconsin, with a $10 billion investment and tens of thousands of careers,” state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R) said. Vos said Walker and his staff worked hard to develop “an agreement that protects taxpayers while delivering the largest development project in state history.”

Walker, and Wisconsin, paid a steep price for the project. State and local governments will give Foxconn at least $4.1 billion in tax incentives, subsidies and new infrastructure spending. Walker has also said the state will spend almost $7 million on an advertising campaign looking to attract new workers.

The Foxconn deal is not unusual in the annals of states competing for business. Washington agreed to a package of subsidies and tax breaks worth up to $9 billion in order to keep tens of thousands of Boeing jobs in the Puget Sound area.

But Boeing had a long history in Seattle.Foxconn is new to Wisconsin, and it’s likely to foreshadow a rush of competition among states hoping to land the next big project. One only need look at Amazon, which is fielding proposals worth billions of dollars in subsidies for its HQ2 project.

Has Walker overpaid for Foxconn? Or did he score a deal that will bolster Wisconsin’s economy for generations to come? Other governors will take note of the Foxconn experiment years after Walker leaves office.


Tom Wolf, Pennsylvania Democrat

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf came to office as a businessman, rather than as a partisan. The multimillionaire, made wealthy when he sold his firm to a private equity group, has spent his first term battling the Republican-led legislature over budget issues.

But now he finds himself in the spotlight of perhaps the most partisan fight in politics today. Big Republican gains in the 2010 midterm elections handed the GOP control of the redistricting process, which they used to draw congressional district maps that gave them a leg up in the fight for control of Congress. Pennsylvania — where Democrats hold just five of 18 U.S. House seats — is the latest battleground in the Democratic Party’s multifaceted effort to reclaim control of the map-making process.

The state Supreme Court last month ordered Republicans to draw new congressional district lines. When the GOP delivered its new proposal to Wolf’s office, he declined to sign off — throwing the maps back to the court, where Democrats believe they will secure a better deal.

“Partisan gerrymandering weakens citizen power, promotes gridlock and stifles meaningful reform,” Wolf said of the new Republican maps.

Ohio Gov. Kasich unsure about presidential run in 2020

By The Associated Press

HENNIKER, N.H. (AP) — Ohio Gov. John Kasich said Tuesday (April 3) that he doesn’t know if he will run for president again but that in the meantime he’s “trying to be a voice that brings about stability and objectivity in our country.”

Kasich spoke at New England College in New Hampshire, the state where a second-place finish in the 2016 presidential primaries gave him a boost in national popularity. The former Republican candidate said any decision on mounting another White House bid would come at least nine months from now, after he finishes his second term as Ohio governor.

However, the term-limited official said earlier Tuesday that “all my options are on the table.”

When asked about gun violence and school safety, Kasich praised the push for stricter gun laws by students who survived February’s mass shooting in Parkland, Florida.

“Have you seen them on television the last couple of weeks? Have you ever seen more articulate young people?” Kasich said. “And shame on the adults who are attacking them. They’re incredible people. And they give us hope.”

Last month, Kasich introduced a six-point plan in Ohio to reduce gun violence, including tighter background checks for gun buyers.

“I can tell you in my state, I’m not going quietly on this,” Kasich told the 150 people in the audience. But he added, “We don’t want to denigrate people who believe so firmly in the Second Amendment.”

The event at New England College, the President’s Speaker Series, came at the end of a full day of media interviews and meetings with supporters and advisers from Kasich’s 2016 campaign in New Hampshire.

The governor also met with New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu at the beginning of the day. Two months after he ended his presidential bid, Kasich returned to New Hampshire to endorse Sununu during the state’s 2016 GOP gubernatorial primary.

Kasich praised Sununu, saying “I met with him today and I have to tell you I was really impressed.”

Kasich wasn’t the only potential 2020 presidential contender in the Granite State on Tuesday. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley — a 2016 Democratic presidential candidate — spoke earlier at Politics and Eggs at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics. The speakers’ series is a must stop for White House hopefuls.

O’Malley urged Democrats to end their pity party over losing the presidency and face the future. He said he thinks the party has a chance to win majorities in Congress in November’s midterm elections if it focuses on restoring trust in democracy and preparing children to succeed in a changing economy.


USA need a true leader selected by GOD whom be approved with skills to lead USA to succeed, John Kasich !

USA need a true leader whom be approved could lead USA to a bright future ! A leader that believe in and loyal to God! I believe Ohio Governor John Kasich is THE person whom is picked by God!

Here are part of Ohio Governor’s accomplishments:

In 2011, 1st Year of Governor John R. Kasich took office, Ohio faced historic challenges. Over 400,000 jobs were lost in the previous four years, unemployment peaked and remained at 10.6 percent between August 2009 and February 2010, and the state faced an $8 billion budget shortfall. You could see Ohio Governor Accomplishment in 2011 for Job creation and budget balance etc.: Closing an $8 billion shortfall without raising taxes while preserving the $400 million annual income tax cut and cutting taxes $300 million by eliminating the Estate Tax. Till 2013, after a Low of 89 Cents when Governor John Kasich took office in 2011, Ohio Rainy Day Fund Hits All-Time High — $1.5 billion.

I attached all 6 years Ohio Governor Accomplishments for you to review.


You are also welcome to watch this touching heart video : John Kasich – The Greatness of America is in Us

https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=bQvMtazw18w

U.S. Border Patrol agent Rene Cisneros gives migrant Gerberht Caraac, from Guatemala, a pat-down after he was caught trying to illegally enter the United States, Monday, June 25, 2018, in Hidalgo, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
https://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2018/07/web1_120825545-9842305520ad44ecadc41acd5bb98c9d.jpgU.S. Border Patrol agent Rene Cisneros gives migrant Gerberht Caraac, from Guatemala, a pat-down after he was caught trying to illegally enter the United States, Monday, June 25, 2018, in Hidalgo, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

A transport officer, right, helps immigrants Dilma Araceley Riveria Hernandez, and her son, Anderson Alvarado, 2, get off the bus after they were processed and released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Sunday, June 24, 2018, in McAllen, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
https://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2018/07/web1_120825545-c309b1c1df994ab1b4d99b3ae66d117f.jpgA transport officer, right, helps immigrants Dilma Araceley Riveria Hernandez, and her son, Anderson Alvarado, 2, get off the bus after they were processed and released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Sunday, June 24, 2018, in McAllen, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

In this image taken through a caged window, U.S. Border Patrol agent Rene Cisneros, left, gives a pat-down to migrant Francisco Tum de Huachac, from Guatemala, after he was caught trying to illegally enter the United States, Monday, June 25, 2018, in Hidalgo, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
https://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2018/07/web1_120825545-86e0b2a21ded4b9ba5d04df8030ecfd6.jpgIn this image taken through a caged window, U.S. Border Patrol agent Rene Cisneros, left, gives a pat-down to migrant Francisco Tum de Huachac, from Guatemala, after he was caught trying to illegally enter the United States, Monday, June 25, 2018, in Hidalgo, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Staff and Wire Reports