Of all the challenges facing the state of Ohio during the next four years, two issues stand out: the state of the economy and the looming budget shortfall.
These concerns aren't unrelated. A growing economy would create jobs and generate tax revenue for state coffers.
But at last count, the statewide unemployment rate stood at 10.1 percent, worse than the national average. The stagnant economy indicates the next two-year budget would be be $8 billion out of balance.
That, not coincidentally, is the same shortfall encountered with the current budget - a budget largely balanced with an infusion of federal funds, which added to the national debt.
Gov. Ted Strickland cannot be blamed for the catastrophic state budget or for high unemployment. But he has not demonstrated the necessary leadership in addressing those challenges.
Ohio needs someone willing to take the initiative to get the state back on track. For that reason, Ohioans should elect John Kasich as their next governor.
During his nine terms as a congressman, Kasich gained expertise on economic issues, serving for a time as chairman of the House Budget Committee.
He favors a pro-growth policy of holding down taxes for Ohio families and job-creating businesses.
More importantly, he understands the need to address the state budget gap realistically - and quickly. The stimulus funds used to balance the current budget actually stifled efforts to deal with the imbalance and delayed taking decisive action to deal with the issue.
Again, addressing these issues require leadership, which Kasich is willing to provide. For that reason, we urge our readers to elect him governor.