RIO GRANDE — There were those on the inside and those on the outside of Gov. John Kasich’s visit to Gallia County on Monday night.
Standing outside where the governor was to speak at the Gallia County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day Dinner were employees, both current and former, from the Gallipolis Developmental Center (GDC) which sustained the news of 80 layoffs from the state in 2013.
Those protesting the governor carried signs asking “Where are the jobs?” As well as “Laid off by your administration” and “No jobs, no votes.”
After speaking to those gathered at the Lincoln Day Dinner, Kasich spoke with the Gallipolis Daily Tribune about the situation at GDC, saying there was no decision forthcoming to close GDC and “no surprises” in regards to the facility. He said he doesn’t want to see anyone, employees or residents in the facility, left behind.
Kasich reiterated that between 2007 and 2010, the number of residents at GDC declined 38 percent (from 1,603 to 992) while the number of staff declined 27 percent (from 3,700 to 2,700). He added that all of the employees impacted by the 2013 changes were offered alternative employment opportunities with the state or early retirement options.
During his speech to the Gallia GOP, Kasich said unemployment in Gallia County dropped five percent since he took office and he is focused on attracting more job opportunities. Kasich kept hitting on the fact that jobs, creating and sustaining them, are a top priority for himself and his administration — including jobs in southeast Ohio.
Of course, for those protesting in Monday’s bitter cold who were unemployed, the speech fell on cold and deaf ears.