You have heard the saying, "Issue One is Jobs"? In Ohio, that is more than a slogan.
Between now and May 4th, Ohioans will vote on Issue One: a spectacular jobs program. It is an urgent reason to go to the polls: in person, or by absentee ballot.
Issue One is a $700 million continuation of a program called Ohio Third Frontier, begun by Governor Bob Taft (R), and supported by Governor Ted Strickland (D). Astonishingly, in today's acrid hyper-partisan atmosphere, Issue One is truly bipartisan, supported by overwhelming majorities in both houses of the legislature.
What is so good about it?
Issue One is not make-work.
These are career jobs, in industries with strong growth potential, which fit a societal need.
Issue One is a public-private partnership, with the virtues of both governmental planning and corporate caution--and it has already begun to work.
How about almost 55,000 good paying new jobs, 637 new companies, and an amazing nine-to-one return on investment?
Let me say that again--better yet, let an Ohioan have the floor.
Ohio Department of Development Director Lisa Patt-McDaniel announced the program's latest performance metrics this afternoon at a Third Frontier Commission meeting in Columbus.
Drawing from two 2009 reports... the program has:
• Created nearly 55,000 direct and indirect jobs
• Created, attracted or capitalized 637 companies
• Attracted nearly $4.8 billion in investments to Ohio by making $548 million in grants, for a leverage ratio of 9-to-1...
-- Mary Vanac, co-founder of Med City News, March 24, 2010.
How does it work?
Ohio chose five areas of strength, prospects for future growth. Then they provided careful allotments of seed money to each area. Here is roughly what they spent. (2008 figures).
Advanced Energy--$70 million
Advanced Materials--$96 million.
Instruments, Controls and Electronics--$27 million.
Power and Propulsion--$22 million.
That seed money attracted private dollars--$4.8 billion private dollars--and created jobs in the private sector.
But I live in California. Why do I care about a jobs program in Ohio?
Issue One offers positive answers to gigantic problems: biomedicine, which may heal millions suffering incurable disease and disability: people like my son Roman, paralyzed in a college football accident, fifteen years ago; and my sister Barbara, who has cancer.
Issue One encourages clean energy: fostering companies which design solar power panels, reliable electric vehicles, efficient fuel cells, and long-lasting, better materials.
And at a time when almost one in ten Americans cannot find employment, Issue One offers careers of self-respect and value.
It is a model to be studied: American ingenuity at its best.
Let us hope, that like another old saying, "As Ohio goes, so goes the nation."
If I lived in Ohio, I would run, not walk, to the nearest computer--investigate the issue, maybe even get an absentee ballot, so I could vote early-- and vote yes on Issue One.
For more information: http://www.unitedforjobsohio.com/.
Follow Don C. Reed on Twitter: www.twitter.com/diverdonreed