At the turn of the 20th Century, my great-great grandfather was the village blacksmith in my hometown of Cardington. He worked hard to support his family and serve our community. He, and millions like him across our state, was part of a generation of Ohioans that brought light and flight to the world, revolutionized the way we do business and make things, put a man on the moon, and whose optimistic spirit drove our very special state to lead the nation in so many areas. It was a time for choosing, and they chose greatness. Through hard work, core convictions, the right policies, and a lot of courage, they built the state that today we are all proud to call home.
We stand today in 2015 with a similar choice to make. Many elites in Washington and Columbus are trying to convince us that our best days are behind us, that our job is to manage decline and find new ways to divide an ever smaller pie. We must categorically reject such thinking, and the temptation to despair that accompanies it. Ours is not a false hope, but one based on the rightness of our principles, the experience of our past, and an unshakeable faith that good men and women who work hard can and will live the American Dream right here in Ohio.
The job before us as a state is to unleash the potential of our people—potential that for too much of the last few decades has been shackled by over-extended government, and the stagnant economy that accompanied it. We should be proud of our recent steps in the right direction, but we can and must do more to make Ohio once again a regional, national, and even global economic leader.
First, we must limit the size and scope of government in Ohio. Recently, the Buckeye Institute released a report detailing $2.6 billion in savings within Ohio government. Put another way, that is almost $1,000 in savings for a family of four in our state. Through commonsense reforms like easing government growth rates, ending corporate welfare, and ending government advocacy and philanthropy, we can create an environment where state government is limited and predictable, and private sector growth and job creation can expand.
Second, hard-working Ohioans should keep more of what they earn. Over the next decade our state should work toward eliminating Ohio’s income tax in favor of a revenue system that is more fair and simple, and that doesn’t punish success and entrepreneurship. Ohio must also resist the urge to cripple new industries and technologies with punishing taxation that discourages innovation and investment in our state.
Third, we must stop Obamacare in Ohio. The Founders intended the states to be the first line of defense against federal overreach. No law in recent memory embodies that more than the federal takeover of health care of Obamacare. Ohio can and must stand up to Washington to protect our citizens from the worst effects of this harmful law. Our state cannot succeed while the tentacles of Obamacare cripple our state. We can only truly serve patients and providers and make our state a real health care leader by stopping Obamacare in Ohio.
Fourth, we must empower families, communities, and educators, to make Ohio schools the best in the nation. We cannot allow bureaucrats in Washington or Columbus to drive the education choices of our students. Failed programs like Common Core must be ended in favor of solutions that present families and educators with real choices and high-quality curriculum to help our students succeed.
Fifth, Ohio’s leaders must stand with Ohio’s workforce by supporting worker freedom that recognizes the basic right of all Ohio workers to associate freely with labor organizations of their choice. No Ohioan should be compelled into union membership as a condition of employment. Free workers help businesses create more jobs at higher wages with more opportunity.
These five solutions are a commonsense start to keeping and getting Ohio on the right economic track. We also must realize that healthy, intact families with married moms and dads are the most stable, the most productive, and the best way to pass on the American Dream to the next generation of Ohioans. Thriving families are the only way that we will have a thriving economy with a limited government.
Finally, too many politicians will agree with these solutions but lack the political courage to stand up to special interests when the time comes to do what they promised voters. It is not enough just to subscribe to the right policies. You must have the courage to stand and fight to make your state the best place to live, work, raise a family, and start a business. With new, principled, and accountable conservative leadership, Ohio will do just that. Our history is not greater than our destiny, and together we will lead the way.
Wes Goodman is a lifelong Ohioan, and grew up on his family’s farm in Morrow County. For over six years he worked for Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan. A lifelong conservative, Wes is currently running for the Ohio House of Representatives in the 87th District, which includes Crawford, Marion, Morrow, Seneca, and Wyandot Counties.
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