The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

April 16, 2014

Secretary of State speaks at open forum at ACMC

Star Beacon

— Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted stressed the importance of voicing your opinion and voting in the upcoming May Primary.

“There are many important issues on the ballot, including a state-   wide infrastructure bond issue,” he said. “In the 2013 general election, there were 43 races that were either tied or decided by one vote, and so every vote matters.”

Husted spoke to about 25 people for more than an hour at an open forum Tuesday afternoon  held at Ashtabula County Medical Center, and hosted by the Ashtabula County Chamber of Commerce.

“We don’t usually have an ear of Columbus right here,” said Tina Stasiewski, chairwoman of the Ashtabula County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, who also is the vice president of business development at ACMC. “Take the opportunity to ask him questions.”

As Ohio’s chief elections officer, the Secretary of State oversees the elections process and appoints the members of boards of elections in each of Ohio’s 88 counties.

 The Secretary of State also supervises the administration of election laws; reviews statewide initiative and referendum petitions; chairs the Ohio Ballot Board; canvasses votes for all elective state offices and issues; investigates election fraud and irregularities; trains election officials, and works with counties to train poll workers.

His office also grants authority to do business in Ohio.

“We are the place you have to register for a new business,” he said, noting he’s streamlined the process so it only takes 1 1/2-days now.

The Business Services Division receives and approves articles of incorporation for Ohio business entities and grants licenses to out-of-state corporations seeking to do business in Ohio.

The topic of business led Husted to talking about jobs for Ohioans.

 “Things are looking up, getting better,” he said. “Automation is bringing back jobs from overseas.”

Husted said state unemployment statistics are at the lowest rate now since the recession — 3 percent for college graduates and 13 percent for non-college graduates.

“Ohio is coming out of it but job training is important,” he said. “We have to get education and business to work hand in hand.”

Ashtabula County Technical & Career Campus (A-Tech) in Jefferson Township has done just that working with 16 local manufacturers, said Tina Ray, workforce development director at A-Tech.

Putting together a 10 common skill set, they came up with a customized training program for adults to start in September, she said.

“There will be an investment in equipment but the companies said they will help,” Ray said.

ACMC officials said they are looking behind healthcare, reaching out to the young people in the community through such programs at the ACMC Academy. The academy exposes top-ranking  high school students to various jobs in the medical field.

Husted commended the programs, noting “we need to reach out to young people and expose them to the jobs available in the community. Chambers, educational institutions and businesses can do this.”