October 25, 2014

Elyria
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Democrats criticize Kasich’s involvement in Ford deal

While Gov. John Kasich was in Avon Lake on Tuesday formally announcing a tax credit deal designed to help Ford Motor Co.’s $128 million upgrade of its Ohio Assembly Plant, Democrats were taking political jabs at the Republican governor during a conference call with reporters.

Gov. John Kasich, left, and Ford Vice President of North American Manufacturing Jim Tetreault talk Tuesday at the Ohio Assembly Plant. (CT photo by Bruce Bishop.)

U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton, D-Copley Township, and state Rep. Matt Lundy, D-Elyria, both said Kasich was taking credit for the deal, approved Monday by the Ohio Tax Credit Authority, even though they accused the governor of failing to support the auto industry in the past.

“The governor did, in fact, oppose the bailout of the auto industry, and now he wants to take a victory lap, and I think that’s hypocritical,” Lundy said during the call.

Rob Nichols, a Kasich spokesman, said his boss wasn’t even in public office at the time of the bailouts for Chrysler and General Motors in 2009.

Nichols said Lundy should be embarrassed because he opposed the JobsOhio public-private partnership championed by Kasich that was most responsible for the tax deal with Ford.

“Of course he’s going to lash out and try to muddy the waters,” Nichols said.
Even though Ford didn’t take the bailout, Sutton and Lundy said, the program made the entire U.S. auto industry stronger. That wouldn’t have happened, Sutton said, if the current Republican presidential frontrunners, Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney, had been in office instead of President Barack Obama.

She accused Kasich of “sitting on the sidelines” of the problem instead of actively trying to help the auto industry.

Lundy later said he wasn’t trying to imply that Kasich and other state leaders weren’t involved in working on getting the Ford deal, but he also insisted that the governor wasn’t the one who personally got the $128 million investment in Avon Lake.

The credit for that, he said, should also include local officials, but mostly it belongs to the Ford workers themselves.

“Ohioans shouldn’t think that John Kasich has supported the auto industry all along, because that’s not case,” Lundy said.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.