OHIO IS in a deep economic rut. Unemployment stands at 10.1 percent, higher than the national average.
The state's budget, expected to be at least $8 billion out of balance during the next two-year cycle, is a disaster. Far from improving, many public schools are struggling to remain afloat. Scandal continues to plague state government.
What is Gov. Ted Strickland doing to address those problems and others facing Ohioans? Little or nothing, as far as most Buckeye State residents can tell. We suspect the vast majority of voters would be hard-pressed to name even one meaningful Strickland initiative to address their concerns.
It is time for a real change. Ohioans should elect John Kasich as their next governor, replacing Strickland.
Kasich earned Ohioans' trust through nine terms as a congressman. His expertise on economic issues is unquestioned; he served for a time as chairman of the House Budget Committee.
He favors a pro-growth policy of holding taxes - both for Ohio families and job-creating businesses - down. He understands the need to address the state budget gap realistically - and quickly.
It has been said that Strickland should not be blamed for the catastrophic state budget or for high unemployment. Even if not, however, he has not demonstrated leadership in addressing those challenges. Ohio needs someone willing to roll up his sleeves and get the state back on track.
It appears Strickland's approach has been to trust President Barack Obama and liberals in Congress to somehow bail out the state's budget and economy. But hundreds of billions of dollars in "stimulus" have only stimulated Strickland to delay state-level initiatives. Again, leadership is lacking.
If Strickland is re-elected, there is every reason to believe Ohio will remain in an economic rut.
For that reason, we endorse John Kasich for governor.
The state doesn't need a staunch follower of President Obama. It needs a leader - and Kasich is that. We urge Ohioans to vote for him on Nov. 2.