Gubernatorial candidates submit to interviews with USSA/ Outdoor Writers of Ohio
Editor's Note: Buckeye Firearms Association was the only Ohio gun group to have an outdoor writer (Region Leader Larry S. Moore) at the recent U.S. Sportsmen Alliance/Outdoor Writer of Ohio interviews with former Congressman and current Governor Ted Strickland and former Congressman John Kasich. Also represented at the interviews were Ohio Outdoor News, Ohio Valley Outdoors, Akron Beacon Journal, Columbus Dispatch, Dayton Daily News, The Buckeye Sportsmen Radio Show and the Greene County Dailies. Below is a list of the firearms law and Ohio outdoors-related questions both candidates were asked and their responses.
Are there some areas you will look at and with the legislature to improve concealed carry?
Kasich: It's like restaurants. Yeah I'm for it. Of course we don't want people carrying and sitting at the bar taking shots of whiskey but reasonable expansion is okay with me. I've agreed with the NRA more than I've agreed with my wife. I'm a Second Amendment guy. I am a gun owner. Mary Taylor can talk about this too. Let there not be any confusion about our support of Second Amendment.
Mary Taylor (Kasich's running mate): You will recall that I was in the legislature at the time. We passed the bill and it was important to get that done in Ohio. It's important to move forward. We don't want to create laws that are tough to follow or create inconsistencies. People get caught up because they don't know the letter of the law. We need to look at it and take that confusion out of the law.
Strickland: I've signed concealed carry legislation. I've worked with the NRA and Buckeye Firearms to provide support for legislation. I support the current restaurant bill to allow handgun license holders to carry into restaurants so long as they don't drink. Statistics indicate these folks are very responsible about what they do and I don't think this will be any different. I look forward to continued communications and working with groups like your Buckeye Firearms. The gun owners have my full support. That's why I am endorsed by the NRA and Buckeye Firearms. Let me just say, and again I don't want to be inappropriate, but my opponent has a vastly different record and he is trying to run away from his votes in Congress. I am proud of my record and received the endorsements based on that record.
The budget is the big issue. Where does the ODNR budget and the sportsmen wildlife budget fund fit into the budget?
Kasich: We are growing the state budget by about 10.7% out of the general revenue fund. Wouldn't you like to have a 10.7% raise? We have a lot of government, if we don't get the economic recovery we are all in trouble. Everything is going to be put under the microscope and everything is on the table. Our natural resources should be a money producer for the state generating tourism and revenue. Clearly we want to pump this up. I can't make a commitment to anybody what we are going to do. I consider the sportsmen programs a part of economic development so we don't want to be penny wise and pound foolish. We have to make them a priority but we have to examine everything.
Note from Mr. Moore: The Ohio Department of Natural Resources budget has not grown. The Ohio Division of Wildlife and the Division of Watercraft are not funded from the general revenue funds, so Mr. Kasich either side-stepped the question or was unaware of that fact. Additionally the Division of Parks has experienced severe cuts going back to at least the first Taft budget.
Strickland: Well you've heard from both of us and can see the difference. I've made the pledge to protect the wildlife fund; the hunting, fishing, trapping license and permit fees that sportsmen pay to support the Division of Wildlife. I protected it in the two previously budgets and I will continue to protect it.
State Parks have taken a major hit for 15 years in this state. They have taken GRF hits every budget. Is there a possibility to find a dedicated funding source for State Parks?
Kasich: When we look at the budget we look at best practices in all the states. We look at best practices and if we see some good things we will adopt them. The problem we have today is we do not know how much we are in the hole. What we do know is we've lost 397,000 jobs. If we turn around the job picture then everyone is going to be healthier. The way we do that is the way I was able to be the chief architect of the first balanced budget since man walked on the moon. Everyone those under the microscope, best practices - if it works make it better, if it doesn't work then get rid of it. If you can privatize it and make it more effective it's what you do. I'm not telling you any of what I am going to do. I am saying every option of delivering a better product to the customer is something we think about. The only thing I've defined as wanting to privatize is the Ohio Dept of Development. Beyond that, I'm not prepared to say what might be done.
Strickland: We've got lots of problems need attention. We are living through the most serious economic recession in the last seventy years. It is unprecedented in most of our lifetimes. The state has been deprived of significant amounts of revenue. The parks funding issue has been ongoing for a very long time. It needs attention but I don't think we can solve problems that have developed over decades in the middle of the recession. What we are trying to do is maintain essential services. Once the economy recovers, we need to get serious about a lot of things. Parks will be on that list. There are some signs that recovery is on the way. Our unemployment has gone down every month for five straight months. We have the sixth fastest growing states economy in America. That is good but the recovery is still fragile. We need to maintain and invest in our parks. We can't tackle that problem while we are in the aftermath of this serious recession. I want to be careful that we don't make a decision in the recession that is short-sighted. I want to be very careful how we manage our public lands, parks. I am proud of the fact that families can go to our parks and enjoy them even if they don't have a lot of money.
TRAVEL/TOURISM/PROMOTING OHIO HUNTING/FISHING/NATURAL RESOURCES:
Kasich: There are many ways to start promoting what we have. There are new media opportunities. We are going to use everything we have to start telling people about Ohio. People don't know what's in Ohio. We've got to start pulling people to Ohio. We have to do a much better job. We are going to look at what other states are doing to amplify what we are doing. It's fun, it's good family fun, good basic values. It's just great! But we are not taking enough advantage of it. You have to think differently. Doesn't cost much to get on Twitter; not much for a website. Are these little booths at shows effective? I don't think so any more. Let's use cutting edge stuff that's cheap. I know ways to weasel my way onto national television to talk about stuff. I've been doing it all my life. So let's go. It's about using money more effectively and effectively.
Strickland: I heard Mr. Kasich speak and about letting people know we've got all these things. Well, we've had more out of state hunters in Ohio last year than ever before; we sold more fishing licenses than ever before. We've got a thriving hunting/fishing opportunity – we can make it better sure. But to imply that people don't know about hunting/fishing/ trapping and eco-tourism in Ohio is a sign is that you are pretty naïve about what is going on in Ohio. I don't think they do a lot of hunting or trapping on Wall Street. He's like 'no one is doing anything and we need to promote Ohio as a hunting/fishing paradise.' We are that and we are promoting it!
What steps will you take to organize all the governors and those of the Canadian provinces with shorelines to the Great Lakes to prevent the spread of Asian Carp into the Great Lakes?
Kasich: It should have already been done. This is a very serious problem. Lake Erie is a jewel in Ohio that has not been exploited. Whether it is the excellent deer herd, the turkey population or whether we can work with private land owners to expand hunting. We’re not doing enough to promote the natural resources we have. We need to get people from around the country to come to Ohio to enjoy the hunting, fishing and all our waterways. We need to exploit these to our advantage as well as protect what we have. We have to stop the carp. What I understand about it from meeting with fishermen at Lake Erie if those carp come into the lake it would be devastating blow to Ohio. It can't be permitted to happen. We have to take action. I've made a commitment to meet with a delegation – you know there are so many parties at Lake Erie – once a quarter meeting – someone in the Governor's office or DNR to simply monitor Lake Erie – and I don't mean just the Asian Carp but everything.
Strickland: I have written the President a letter asking him to appoint a point person and get all the interested parties around the Great Lakes together. They were slower than I had hoped in doing that. They have done that. The designated person is from DNR in Indiana – John Goth was with him in Washington D.C. week before last. All the states surrounding lakes were representatives including Canada. We were all around the table. They have identified additional multiple vulnerable entry points for the carp. Of course the Chicago Canal is the primary point and the greatest danger. I've called for a permanent barrier at the canal. Other states have called for it. This needs done. It's something that is now being pursued aggressively. We can't wait years to come to a conclusion. We had economic and ecological tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico with terrible oil spill that could have been prevented. We've got an ecological disaster with the Asian carp that has not yet happened. It can still be prevented. But if it is not, but I'm not sure the Great Lakes could ever be restored. It needs to be looked at with that kind of urgency.
GRAND LAKE ST MARY'S:
Are you aware of and looked into the situation at Grand Lake St. Mary's and how would you make an impact to that
Kasich: I've been there with the committee trying to resolve all the issues. When Grand Lake is hurting we are all hurting. It doesn't matter if it is Grand Lake or Youngstown when one part of the state hurts we all hurt. We have to take care of our assets in the community. We will work aggressively with the community. They had meetings with state officials, they showed up, left and they still don't know. They are frustrated. It's an important issue. We are getting the farmers on board and making progress but will have to be a step by step program with common sense and consistency over time. It cannot be ignored.
Strickland: What has happened at Grand Lake St Mary's is not something that occurred within a short period of time. It's been terribly painful to so many people in the community surrounding the Lake who depend on the lake for recreation and for income. We've taken that very seriously. The plan is to remediate the problems that exist within the lake but also to attempt to understand what lead to the growth of the blue-green algae so we can prevent that going forward. We are trying various methods of dealing with the blue-green algae with private projects to deal with the blue-green algae. We are also looking at the watershed to determine what we can do to prevent the lake from being further polluted. The first thing was to protect human health and safety. That required swift and strong action that was necessary to deal responsibly with the problem. The state will have to provide more support and knowledge to those who may not understand best practices. Grand Lake St Mary's was the first lake to have a major problem but we've seen it in other lakes around Ohio including Lake Erie. These efforts are underway.
ALTERNATIVE ENERGY: WIND/SOLAR/NUCLEAR:
Kasich: We want all alternative energy. We want to embrace that and bring jobs to Ohio. But we don't have a good environment. We've lost 397,000 jobs. It's not a place where people are high-tailing it here to start businesses, plus business we have is leaving or failing. We need an economy where we are out in front thinking ahead of ourselves. It's a great state. There has to be opportunity for young people and that's what we want to give them. That's why I am running for Governor. I think we should do the entire spectrum. But that's not going to solve Ohio's unemployment problem. It's part of a big portfolio. One of the things we should be doing in Ohio is manufacturing capital of the US . Anything we can do to promote alternative energy is good. Quite frankly, I'd like to dig coal, clean it and burn it. We have a lot of coal and need to take advantage of what we have. I believe we ought to have expanded nuke power. Zero omissions should be our goal with coal. But I don't want to overreact either. I study these issues. You cannot wreck the creation of the good Lord but I don't want to worship. The algae bloom in Lake Erie could be related. There are things we could be and should be doing it. The people most concerned about global warming should be out front in nuke power.
Strickland: I think it's a great future. We are going to have wind energy on Lake Erie. We are going to do it responsibly to make sure that it doesn't interfere with fishing, shipping and we look after the wildlife. Lake Erie is a large place and has great potential for wind energy. We have a growing solar energy industry in Ohio near Upper Sandusky with 80 acres of solar panels. All of them made in Perrysburg, Ohio. We have a lot of farmers interested in wind energy. There are a lot of sites applications for wind farms. I think there is incredible potential for economic development, jobs, energy production in Ohio that will benefit our state. I'm a huge proponent. Solar in the Toledo is an expanding industry. We have two new ones just getting into production now. They are already creating jobs and will create many more over the next several years. Jobs are being created. I don't want to be inappropriate with my opponent but we were together at the Dayton Daily News and he said he talked to a company in Cincinnati and they figured out how to make some parts for the wind energy industry and we need to take advantage of that. I replied, "My goodness John, we've got hundreds of companies in Ohio right now making parts for alternative energy. We are already doing it. There's a lot happening.
RECENT DEPT OF AG/FARM BUREAU/HUMAGE SOCIETY OF THE UNITED STATES (HSUS) AGREEMENT:
Kasich: We have to be very careful about the way we approach the animal extremists. I am very concerned. The more I hear about the back room deal that was cut, and look I'm not in the middle of it and the Farm Bureau was there, Strickland was there. I am very concerned about the ability to have expanded egg production. I don't know what this means for hunters and dogs? When it comes to extremists of any kind you've got to get out early and get out front, you need to make it clear to the people that those who hold extreme views from the outside should not be the ones to dictate the policy inside our state.
Strickland: I'd like to explain to you what occurred and my role in the agreement Mr. Kasich referenced As you know the HSUS was trying to have an initiative on the ballot. I was very concerned it would pass. All the polling indicated it would likely pass. That would have been devastating for Ohio agriculture. What I did was to say to the Farm Bureau, 'whatever you find acceptable I will support.' I didn't tell that what I find acceptable or what I thought they should do. I didn't sit in the negotiations. Both sides came out to the Governor's residence and went to the 3rd floor where there was privacy. I was not personally engaged in those talks. The producers, Farm Bureau and all the others were present and signed off on it. This was not my agreement. I signed off after they said okay. For those who say this shouldn't happen, I simply disagree with them. I think it would have passed, terrible for agriculture and a permanent part of our Constitution. It would have harmed agriculture which is arguably Ohio's largest industry.
Related Media Coverage:
The Columbus Dispatch - Gubernatorial candidates weigh in on outdoor topics
The Springfield News-Sun - State parks will continue to suffer, Gov. candidates say