Gov. John Kasich touts jobs record, talks to WCPO about big issues for Cincinnati area

CINCINNATI -  It's all about jobs. And government statistics show, Ohio is the top job creator in the Midwest.

Gov. John Kasich is touting his record of creating jobs as he runs for another term in office.

Kasich stopped by 9 On Your Side Monday afternoon and sat down for an exclusive interview. He also talked about running for president, chances of hosting the Republican National Convention in Ohio and overcoming obstacles to tolls so a replacement for the Brent Spence Bridge can be built.

Kasich ran on jobs in 2010 and his focus remains jobs. He proudly said Ohio is up almost a quarter of a million jobs in the last three years.

Question: What would you like to accomplish in the next four years?

Kasich: "More jobs, better job training, improved education connected to real job opportunities, trying to get in the business of providing affordable education at the higher education level -- which we work on."

Right now, Ohio is among the fastest growing states in the country.

"I'd like to get to number one,  but there's still too many people out of work, too many people under employed," Kasich said.

One of the pillars of his plan is to increase the connection between education and job opportunities.  He feels so strongly about this he's already talking to his twin teen daughters about it.

"What I say to them is, based on the grades you make is where you are able to go to college: The better grades you make, the better college you go to," Kasich said.

Just like most dads and daughters, Kasich says his twins know when a lecture is coming on.

What do they say? 

"'Daddy, if this is a lecture, which it will be, we've heard them all before,'" Kasich said.

"But they're 14, what do you expect?"

After Kasich's trip to Las Vegas for a Republican conference with many 2016 hopefuls, there were reports that he might have his eye on the White House. 

Question: Would you like to be president?

Kasich: "No. When I was running for president the last time in the late 90s, I went all over the place saying, 'Hey, look at me. I'm trying to run for president,' and nobody paid any attention. Now all I want to do is be governor of Ohio."

Kasich said Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky will get a new bridge -- and the issue of tolls is not going away, despite opposition from the Kentucky legislature.

"Tolls are involved (and) the video stuff to get across the bridge quickly, that will be used. It will get done," he said.

He said Ohio is moving forward with bridge plans and Kentucky will, too.

"I am confident that the governor of Kentucky will be able to work with the legislative leaders and they will be able to get it done," Kasich said.

As for Ohio hosting a national political convention in 2016, why not make it two?

Both the GOP and Democratic conventions could be in the Buckeye State if Columbus gets its way.

The state capital is now bidding for the Democratic convention after losing to Cincinnati, Cleveland and other cities in the early running for the 2016 GOP  convention.

Tourism officials say they will use that national media exposure to compete for the Democratic convention. The city pledged $250,000 to win either convention.

Kasich is not taking sides between Cincinnati and Cleveland, but he says the choice of either would be great for Ohio.

He said having the 2016 convention in Ohio would undoubtedly give the Republicans a boost in this pivotal swing state.

"I would come to Ohio because we're so pivotal," Kasich said. "We matter so much that, to me, putting a convention in Ohio would charge up the state.

"The reason I like is it will showcase our state and we have so much to show, and that's what I'm excited about."

Kasich's likely opponent in November will be Democrat Ed FitzGerald.

FitzGerald has been invited to talk with 9 On Your Side.

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