Economy rests with success of every town

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 11, 2008

As the chairman of the Senate Finance and Financial Institutions Committee, I hear from people who believe that southern Ohio gets all the state’s money at the expense of northern Ohio and vice versa — rural versus urban, one county versus another county.

The reality is that we as Ohioans have a stake in the condition of every inner-city neighborhood as well as the most remote farm.

While my No. 1 task as a state senator is to represent the best interests of the 17th District and work to make sure we are treated fairly, the longer I serve in the General Assembly the more I realize that I have a responsibility to the entire state.

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There are issues that go beyond geography. For instance, when assistance was needed to keep the Jeep facility in Toledo open and help save thousands of jobs in the area, Ohio stepped up to make it happen. Part of being a state is having the resources available to help our cities and local communities in a time of need.

Unfortunate-ly, the 17th District is in a very troubling position right now with the news that DHL has been negotiating with UPS to handle their future air-freight business, citing a need to cut costs because of high fuel prices and competition in the world economy.

This move would outsource a devastating number of jobs from the Wilmington Air Park to

Kentucky. Ohio has invested roughly $400 million into locating DHL in Clinton

County, and the workforce at the facility, which comes from several counties in the region, is excellent.

Recently, I met with Gov. Strickland, Lt. Governor Lee Fisher, State Rep. David Daniels (R-Greenfield) and representatives from DHL to discuss the company’s decision and relay our concerns about its potential impact not only on the surrounding community, but the economic success of the entire state.

Senate President Bill Harris, Senate Minority Leader Ray Miller, House Speaker Jon Husted and House Minority Leader Joyce Beatty were also in attendance. We asked DHL to reconsider its decision. However, there was no indication that would happen.

At the very least, we established an open and frank line of communication with the company, and hopefully, this will help as we move forward with additional discussions.

In addition, I have joined a task force led by Wilmington Mayor David Raizk and Lt. Governor Fisher to do what we can to impact DHL’s decision and assist the community. Unfortunately, DHL is a private company and we cannot force them to keep their operations in Ohio, but it is important that we do everything possible to save such a valuable employer in the region.

The economy is always in transition, and as much as we would like to do so, there are some things government cannot control. However, it is important that no matter how difficult the situation gets, we remain positive and do what we can to make it better.

The best treasure we have is our workforce, and my goal has been and will always be to help foster an economic environment in

Ohio where everyone has a chance for success.

Obviously, we have major hurdles to overcome in the coming weeks and months, but I believe with the workforce that we have in

Wilmington and throughout southern Ohio and our great state that things will turn around.

John A. Carey is a member of the Ohio Senate and represents the 17th District.