GALLIPOLIS — Ohio Democratic gubernatorial candidate Connie Pillich (D-Montgomery) spoke with Gallia residents Tuesday at the Bossard Memorial Library about the future of Ohio and how she seeks to improve it if she is elected in the 2018 election as Ohio governor.
“Over the last five years, we have trailed the nation in job growth and trailed the national average,” said Pillich. “We are 45th in college affordability and 22nd in education but we are in the top five for opioid deaths…We do have a large rainy day fund and things are doing pretty well in Columbus and some parts of Cincinnati but raining in a lot of parts of Ohio. Now, we’re not going to drain the fund but we should be using it to make investments to help grow the state.”
Pillich said the fund would be one of the resources she would utilize for her projects, should she take office.
“My education stimulus plan is probably the most ambitious,” Pillich said. “Education is a little bit of a different kind of vision and its tied to our jobs.”
According to Pillich, she believes the education of Ohio has fallen from fifth in the nation to 22nd and is going the wrong way. Part of her proposed education stimulus plan seeks to create universal preschools for four-year-olds and streamline a balanced grade school system with arts and technical education needs met, instead of students being taught just to pass a test. She said she has a plan to make post-secondary education opportunities debt free for Ohioans and would like to institute stronger mentorship programs with schools. She emphasized a strong desire to shut down “charter school scams” while not penalizing those that are seeing student graduation success.
To tackle the opioid epidemic, Pillich, again, said a focus in education would lead to greater prevention of opioid addiction. She also wants to increase addiction treatment resources as well as increase state resources given to local law enforcement to stop drug trafficking efforts.
Pillich, a former member of the Ohio House of Representatives representing the 28th district in in 2009, graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a degree in law before opening her own law firm named Webb and Pillich, LLC. She had also served as a U.S. Air Force captain during Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield as well as serving in Berlin, Germany. She also has a masters in business administration. Pillich claims to have put herself through school utilizing the ROTC scholarship program, student loans and part-time work.
Pillich announced her candidacy January 21 for governor during the Cincinnati Women’s March. She ran unsuccessfully for Ohio Treasurer in 2014.
In Pillich’s first term as a representative, she was appointed as the Vice Chair of the House of Criminal Justice Committee as well as to Veterans Affairs, Public Utilities, Financial Institutions, Real Estate and Securities and Alternative Energy committees.
According to conniepillich.com, she served as a public defender and has worked with both Republicans and Democrats to introduce bipartisan legislation to connect with veterans to better help with benefits and assist military families meet financial challenges and get jobs.