Ohio Gov. John R. Kasich, who before he was elected governor two years ago spent 18 years as a congressman from central Ohio with several years as a TV political talk show host thrown in for good measure, is off to Davos, Switzerland, site of the World Economic Forum.
The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.
This event is tailor made for Gov. Kasich to tell his story of how his policies have helped Ohio recovery from an $8 billion budget deficit when he took office to a replenished rainy day fund he claims had literally diminished to a few cents in it, to an economy that while it lost hundreds of thousands of jobs during the Great Recession can now boast an unemployment rate below the national average.
Critics of Kasich, especially Ohio Democrats, say he stepped into an already rising ship of state, and that the improving fortunes of the state not only started more than a year before he took office but might be in a far worse state had President Obama not made the decision to save the American auto industry, over the objections of Republicans like Mitt Romney and Kasich, who wanted the companies to go bankrupt rather than accept help from the government.
President Obama won a second term in the White House in large measure because he won Ohio, a state Gov. Kasich said he wouldn't let Obama win in again if voters elected him.
On the political stump last year with Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, Gov. Kasich showed up at Romney rallies to tell his tale of how bad off the state was under his predecessor and how much he's done to reform government through the wizardry of reformers who see government as an impediment to business and believe that the only really good job is a job in the private sector, and that in any event, government shouldn't do anything that prevents job-creators and entrepreneurs from exercising their ingenuity to fashion their own world.
Talking to the only Ohio print newspaper to send a reporter to shadow him in Davos, a paper that endorsed him in 2010 and continues to be a big backer of the supply side relic of Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp days, the peripatetic CEO- style governor said, "I’m hoping I’m going to meet a lot of people in one place without having to travel all over the place to find these folks." Reports say he wants to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Joining the governor on this overseas trip will be long time political operatives and confidants, Jai Chabra and Scott Milburn.
According to Press Secretary Rob Nichols, this isn't a traditional trade mission of the kind previous governors have undertaken. Costs and funders of the trip have remained a secret, since they are not being paid for my government now that the governor created a private economic development group called JobsOhio, funding by selling liquor profits and not subject to public records rules.
Gov. Kasich is scheduled for four sessions in Davos:
1. Workforce development; 2. Advanced manufacturing as it fuels the transportation and logistics industries; 3. Biotechnology/R&D; and a young leaders session called Great Expectations to be held Friday at the Hotel Cresta Sun, Restaurant.
"How are expectations for the United States in the 21st century changing around the world and across generations?" is one session Gov. Kasich will participate in.
Per Gov. Kasich's communication office, other discussion leaders include:
Tal Keinan, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, KCPS & Company, Israel; Young Global Leader·
Kevin Lu, Regional Director, Asia-Pacific MIGA, World Bank Group, Singapore; Young Global Leader; Global Agenda Council on China
Jasandra Nyker, Chief Executive Officer, BioTherm Energy, South Africa; Young Global Leader; Global Agenda Council on New Energy Architecture
Fahd Al Rasheed, Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Board, King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia; Young Global Leader; Global Agenda Council on Urbanization
Santiago Siri, Founder and Chief Innovator, Grupo 42 Argentina, Argentina; Global Shaper; Global Agenda Council on New Models of Leadership
Paul Smyke **, Senior Director, North America, and Special Adviser to the Chairman, World Economic Forum USA
Mario Diaz-Balart *, Congressman from Florida (Republican), 21st District, USA
Jeff Fortenberry *, Congressman from Nebraska (Republican), 1st District, USA
Jon Leibowitz *, Chairman, Federal Trade Commission, USA
Carolyn B. Maloney *, Congresswoman from New York (Democrat), 14th District, USA
Jack Markell *, Governor of Delaware, USA
Patrick McHenry, Congressman from North Carolina (R), 10th District, USA
Martin J. O'Malley *, Governor of Maryland, USA, who reports says may withdraw.
Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman will be in Davos with Kasich to promote Ohio to the world.
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