Ohio Lieutenant Governor Kicks Off Gubernatorial Bid

By John Celock

Ohio’s lieutenant governor officially kicked off her bid governor Friday, saying that she can challenge the status quo.

Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor (R) used a speech to the City Club of Cleveland to officially enter the gubernatorial race, which she has been competing in for several months. Taylor outlined a record that she says is one of challenging the status quo, while also outlining an agenda that she says will continuing pressing for regulatory reform, efficient government and education reform. She is one of four Republicans seeking to succeed term-limited Gov. John Kasich (R).

I know how to make organizations more accountable and efficient and make government more responsive to people who need it,” Taylor said.

Taylor used her biography as part of her pitch, noting her work as a CPA at Deloitte and Touche, service in the state House of Representatives, as state auditor and as lieutenant governor. She said that in all of her jobs she has worked for change including pushing for additional work/life balance in the private sector, leading a push for a tax cut while in the Legislature and pushing for government efficiency as state auditor.

As Kasich’s lieutenant governor, she noted that she leads the state’s regulatory reform efforts, which she said has also included closely working with the business community. Until earlier this year, she has served as the state’s insurance director as well.

“I have proved time and again that I am a tenacious fighter for common sense and common people,” Taylor said.

Taylor said that as governor she wants to build up state infrastructure, focus on working with the business community on job creation, market Ohio as a destination for business, fight opioid addiction and reform the state’s education system. In terms of education, Taylor said she wants to break down walls between college track and career track students and change how schools teach to move into a more modern day track. She also called for higher standards in schools and innovation from charter school curriculums.

In terms of opioid abuse, which has hit Ohio hard, Taylor said she wants to focus on addiction treatment and education against opioids, along with changes in prescription practices and securing the nation’s southern border. Unlike some of her Democratic rivals, Taylor said that fighting pharmaceutical companies in court is not the best way to handle the epidemic.

“I’m angry, I’m angry at what addiction does and the lives it destroys,” she said.

Taylor joins Secretary of State Jon Husted, Attorney General Mike DeWine and U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci in the GOP gubernatorial field. On the Democratic side, former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton, former state Rep. Connie Pillich, state Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley have entered the race.

Ohio has had one female governor, Republican Nancy Hollister, in its history. Hollister succeeded to the office on Dec. 31, 1998 when Gov. George Voinovich (R) resigned to become a U.S. senator. Hollister’s term ended 11 days later when Gov. Bob Taft took office.

Taylor pressed her ability to press for change while taking questions from the audience.

“It is who I am. It is my DNA,” said of her desire to press for change.