Updated Fri, Jan 31, 2014 11:45 am
With the State of the State only weeks away, Gov. John Kasich (R) remained mum about politics during a forum Thursday.
The governor is presumed to be running for reelection in 2014, and is considered by many as a possible 2016 presidential candidate.
When asked about backlash from the Tea Party due to some of his policies, Kasich says he doesn’t consider politics while legislating.
"Haven’t you figured out now, after three years, that I don’t sit around doing political calculations about what I think I need to do?" Kasich said.
He continued to give examples of his policies.
"I spent four years in the legislature. It’s where I wrote my first budget against Republicans who wanted to raise taxes," he said.
Kasich also discussed the need for further educational improvements and stressed the need for welfare reform.
A number of legislative leaders were also at the panel.
The conversation got heated when leaders of the Democratic and Republican parties talked about job growth under the Kasich administration, a subject the two sides disagree on.
House Speaker William Batchelder, a Republican, defended Kasich.
"The principle concern of our caucus has been jobs. Ohio’s unemployment rate has improved from nine percent when we took office to seven point two percent today," Batchelder said.
House Minority Leader Treacy Heart, a Democrat, argued with the Republican claims that more Ohians are employed thanks to Kasich.
"I’m challenged by the perspectives of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle and the governor specifically in terms of jobs numbers. With the exception of the Kasich administration, there is not a single economic entity in this country that has ranked us as improving," Heart said.