- Associated Press - Monday, February 24, 2014

The text, as prepared, of Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s State of the State speech Monday in Medina, Ohio.

Thank you Mr. President and Mr. Speaker. Thank you members of the General Assembly, members of my Cabinet, the people of Medina and, of course, my wife Karen Kasich and my daughters, Emma and Reese. Thank you for being here tonight.

Medina is the hometown of Speaker Batchelder. This is his final year in the Legislature and Keith and I are going to miss working with him. And Keith, thank you for your leadership and everything you’ve done in the last year.

There will be a lot of time in the coming year to celebrate Speaker Batchelder’s career, and let me kick that off tonight. The Speaker has been a strong and constant booster of the Ohio Highway Patrol, and in honor of that support I’m proud to announce that we are renaming the Medina Highway Patrol Post for him. Speaker Batchelder, congratulations and thank you for your service.

Medina is one of Ohio’s great communities, and like all great places, the reason is its people. One of Medina’s most famous citizens was H.G. Blake. Mr. Blake was an orphan who was raised by his neighbors. He tried his hand at medicine and shop-keeping and the law, and eventually became Speaker of the Ohio House, was elected to Congress and became a friend of the great Abraham Lincoln.

It was in 1860, as a freshman member of the U.S. House, at a time when the debate over slavery was at its most heated and our country was about to tear itself in two, that Congressman Blake introduced a brave resolution that had really never been introduced before_a resolution to simply abolish slavery. It was one of his first official acts. There had been other similar efforts, but up to this point abolitionists in Congress had been less direct, fearing the backlash of going too far too fast. Congressman Blake didn’t really have that concern. He was impatient and probably a bit of a pot-stirrer_I imagine we would have gotten along just fine.

Needless to say, Congressman Blake’s resolution was soundly defeated. He didn’t win on that day, but he set an example of courage for others to follow. Congressman Blake has an elementary school named for him here in Medina and we’re remembering him still tonight, 138 years after he died. Why? Because he stood up and made a difference. What difference will you and I make?

Some of the best times I’ve had in my life have been hiking in the mountains with my family.

When you start out on a hike you’re moving through the trees and the brush and you help clear the way for each other, then you scramble over the scree and the loose rocks and help each other to keep from falling. After you’ve struggled through the early obstacles you get out on more solid ground, and you get the first glimpse of your goal_the summit_and you come together and it lifts your spirits, and you get an extra boost to keep going.

That’s kind of where we are now in Ohio. Together we’ve come through a very difficult patch.

We had an $8 billion budget deficit.

We lost 350,000 private sector jobs.

We had just 89 cents in our rainy day fund.

We had lost our hope and feared that our best days were behind us.

That’s not the Ohio we wanted. We knew we had to change things, so we took up the hard work and we moved ahead without fear of failing, and with urgency and resolve.

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