MEDINA — Democratic governor hopeful Ed FitzGerald criticized the Republican budget cuts for local governments and schools during a party fundraiser Saturday.
FitzGerald, who was elected Cuyahoga County executive in 2010, said millions of dollars of state funding cuts have affected Medina County.
“There’s a better way that the state can be managed,” he said Sunday in an interview.
As Cuyahoga County executive, FitzGerald said he has put more money into education and law enforcement.
FitzGerald will challenge Republican Gov. John Kasich next November. He spoke to more than 80 people gathered Saturday at the Medina County Democratic Party’s annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner and silent auction.
FitzGerald said Kasich hasn’t done enough to encourage job growth, saying Ohio’s unemployment rate is increasing while in the rest of the country it is going down.
“The governor’s approach has been to create this JobsOhio program, which is very secretive,” he said.
By contrast, FitzGerald said he has been open about how much money Cuyahoga County spends on economic development.
FitzGerald said that if elected governor, he would make more of an investment in early childhood education. Also, he said Cuyahoga County’s program that provides college savings plans for children should be expanded statewide.
John Welker, Medina County Democratic Party chairman, said the crowd was impressed with FitzGerald’s speech.
“He was everything that you would expect in a candidate,” Welker said. “He had presence; he was very social with the crowd.”
Welker agreed with FitzGerald’s criticism of Kasich’s budget.
“We’ve seen a state budget that was balanced on the backs of local municipalities, removing funds that would have gone to the schools, and the safety forces,” Welker said.
State Rep. John Patrick Carney, of Columbus, who is running for state auditor, also spoke at the fundraiser.
On Saturday, FitzGerald also made campaign stops in Springfield, Columbus and Coshocton.
Contact reporter Kiera Manion-Fischer at (330) 721-4049 or firstname.lastname@example.org.