BOARDMAN, Ohio - As Ohio Governor John Kasich took the stage at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber's, "Celebrating Success" luncheon, he made it clear that when it comes to job creation and economic development, the Mahoning Valley is doing things right.
"The diversification we're seeing here now, and of course this unbelievable discovery of energy, but we don't want to just bet on that," Kasich says.
Kasich believes the Valley has learned from lessons of the past that diversification is the key to economic success, not depending on one single industry to carry a community.
But he does have confidence that the predicted shale boom could help guide the way to economic prosperity.
"You take a look at V&M Star, which has been such a fantastic operation. You're looking at the investments here in oil and gas. You're seeing big support, even though you have a handful of anti-frackers out there, you have people that understand this and want it," Kasich says.
However, he understands that while job creation and economic development are critical, it can not come at a cost to the environment.
So he's pushing for stiffer regulations to punish those who violate the Clean Water Act, in light of the recent illegal dumping incident that happened in the area.
"The one thing I was concerned about is if somebody is a repeat offender and they keep damaging the environment, just to be forced to keep giving them permits until you catch them again doesn't make a lot of sense. What we want to do is have good a good regulatory system that will protect this environment, but at the same time isn't going to be so onerous that it's going to drive this industry away," Kasich says.
He says the Valley is long overdue for this renaissance and it's clear the business community is working together with one vision, to grow and prosper.
"We have a lot of good things here. We have good skilled people. They're hard working people, and we have great neighborhoods, and we have a good cost of living. We just have to market all these parts of Ohio and that's a winner for us," Kasich says.