By John Celock
Two Republican presidential candidates used speeches to New Hampshire lawmakers Wednesday morning to focus on boosting power to state governments.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio kept the focus on state affairs in separate speeches to the New Hampshire House of Representatives Wednesday. Both focused on their past tenures as state lawmakers in their respective states and said they would return power to the states if elected to the White House. Their speeches are part of an on-going series of speeches by presidential candidates to state lawmakers.
“We should run our country from the bottom up,” Kasich said. “I always felt that tax cuts were putting power in people’s pockets. It is the most important thing we can do to empower people.”
Both Rubio and Kasich said that as president they will work to give more power to state governments, citing such areas as education, energy and welfare. Both said that they believe that the states are better equipped to deal with the issues and to make decisions that are tailored to the needs of the individual state rather than a uniform approach from the federal government.
“As president I will not tell you as state leaders to place your faith in Washington. I will tell Washington to place their faith in you,” Rubio said.
Both used the speech to reminisce about their tenures as state lawmakers. Kasich started his career as a staffer in the Ohio state Legislature before serving four years in the Ohio Senate. Rubio served for nine years in the Florida House of Representatives, capping his career in Tallahassee as the state House speaker. Both said their tenures as state legislators helped shape their outlook on government.
Kasich talked briefly about his tenure as a congressman, including chairing the U.S. House Budget Committee in the 1990s. He spent more time though on his tenure as governor, including what he says are the frustrations he has as a state chief executive with the federal government. He said that he wants to have more power as a governor to write welfare rules that are Ohio centric, without getting the permission of the federal government. Kasich, who has backed the Common Core education standards, also called for more state power over education policy.
Kasich said he wants to see more flexibility for the states, noting his issues with federal rules governing toll roads.
“The idea that you cannot toll a road with federal money makes no sense,” he said.