I had an opportunity last week to speak on the steps of the Statehouse with TV cameras and reporters in attendance. It was a nerve-wracking experience. Probably even more so for my campaign manager who has seen me bomb more than once. I told Fred Strahorn, the house minority leader, that I wanted to talk about jobs but I had not thought through what I wanted to say before offering. I nervously stayed up until midnight writing draft after draft until I finally said “good enough” and fell into bed. But then I woke up at 5 am knowing that I had to completely rewrite the speech. So, by 7:00 am draft 4.1 was born. I was able to deliver it without passing out or falling down the steps. I even got some applause that I wasn’t expecting and the next morning the Dispatch quoted me liberally. Copy and paste this link into your browser to see the Dispatch article.
Here is the full text of the speech if you would like to read it.
Good morning! My name is Kris Keller. I am a candidate for the 24th Ohio House District. I am a native of central Ohio. I grew up in a farming family but found my own niche in health care. I earned a Doctor of Chiropractic Degree and established my practice and home in Columbus where my wife and I raised our daughter and have lived for 26 years. For the past four years, I have served as an Area Commissioner in Columbus where I learned that problems can be solved if we find common ground and engage each other with civility.
Today I want to say a little bit about jobs. For 40 years I have run small businesses in central Ohio. Before that I studied business management and economics at OSU. So I have always had an interest in economic policy. I have been watching the continued misguided attempts of our governor and his supporters to make trickle down economics work. In doing so they have created one of the most regressive tax structures in the history of the state.
The total tax burden on lower-income Ohioans is almost twice the tax rate for the highest income brackets. Despite years of this policy, the State of Ohio continues to fall behind most other states in job growth, income and income equality. It is abundantly clear that giving tax breaks to rich people doesn’t improve the lives of the working middle class. It doesn’t create jobs and it doesn’t improve the economy of the state. I want you to send a clear message in November that we see that failure and want something better.
What we need in Ohio is a tax system that rewards hard work, not punishes it. A tax system that is equitable and asks those who can afford it to pay their fair share so that we put Ohioans to work repairing our crumbling infrastructure, making our bridges and water supplies safe again, cleaning our lakes and streams, and maintaining our beloved parks.
We need to reinvest in our children and labor force by adequately funding schools, making higher education more affordable and by increasing our investment in trade schools so that our workers are ready for the jobs of today and our children are ready for the jobs of tomorrow.
We also need to look deeply into what kinds of jobs are being created and what the net result will be. Low paying retail jobs have a negative net impact on the community because they help funnel money out of the local economy and use your tax dollars to support those minimum wage workers. Whenever you see a shopping mall or a big box retailer just imagine a huge vacuum cleaner sucking up all of the disposable income in the area.
We need jobs that build communities. We must focus on creating Jobs that provide a livable wage. This requires strong unions and legislation to protect the rights of workers to collectively bargain. We need legislation that provides a livable baseline wage for hourly workers and puts limits on what can be demanded from salaried employees. And, even now in 2016, we need legislation that provides protection for workers against discrimination.
We need to encourage local business start-ups. Ohioans are notoriously inventive and hard working. Let’s look for opportunities to encourage and support local innovation. Link existing businesses with start-ups to create supply chains that are local rather than going across the country or across the world to find those resources.
None of this is rocket science. It is just common sense and compassion for the workers who built this state and continue to make it work. Keeping money in the community and paying workers a livable wage stimulates the economy by pumping more money directly back into the local community.
Once again. I am Kris Keller. I am running for the 24th Ohio House District. I am asking you to send a clear message in November that we know that the policies of the past are not working and we need new leadership to get Ohio working again. Thank you!