Joint recommendations for higher education on capital budget a first
John Kasich ran for governor touting his ability to get people to work together and achieve results.
He cited his success with that bipartisan approach in Washington, particularly on the House budget committee, and said he was a proven negotiator. Among his examples: his work as a Capitol Hill liaison for U2 singer Bono, who sought money and political clout for his efforts to end poverty in Africa
"I had Jesse Helms and Teddy Kennedy at a news conference with Bono," he said, referring respectively to the late ultra-conservative and ultra-liberal U.S senators.
Kasich pledged to bring that attitude to the governor"s office, saying he would promote cooperation among colleges, universities and major institutions.
"Do I think I can get University Hospitals and Cleveland Clinic to work together? I have no doubt I can," he once said in an interview. "I'm not a technocrat. I'm a change agent. And I'm a big change agent. I think about doing things differently."
So how has he done?
Earlier this month the governor signed legislation containing $1.74 billion for capital improvements. Included was $400 million for higher education. The money was allocated based on recommendations that the state"s 37 public universities, colleges and technical schools worked out together.
In December 2011, Kasich gave the leaders of those institutions an assignment: Collaborate on a $350 million wish list for construction and renovation projects; find projects that could include public-private partnerships – and turn it in by February.
A supercommittee led by Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee got the job done. The recommendations were then approved by consensus, with all of the college presidents signing their approval.
The collaboration is a departure from previous years.
"All the different universities used to send their lobbyists to Columbus and whoever"s lobbyist yelled the loudest got what they wanted,” said Rob Nichols, the governor"s chief spokesman. This approach, he said, "leads to a better-thought out effort.”
In discussing the need for collaboration during the campaign, Kasich also said the effort needed to extend to Ohio"s major institutions, including, specifically, the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals.
But getting Ohio"s universities, colleges and technical schools to pool their efforts for the first time to come up with unanimously supported recommendations for the capital budget is a significant achievement.
Based on this result, we can set the Kasich-O-Meter for this pledge to In the Works.
Interviews with Rob Nichols, spokesman for Gov. John Kasich, March 29 and April 19, 2012
The Plain Dealer via Cleveland.com, "Cleveland State University's innovative engineering program among recommendations for $350 million in capital funds,” by Karen Farkas, Feb. 15, 2012
The Plain Dealer via Cleveland.com, editorial "Kasich craftily gives colleges a group project to set bricks-and-mortar priorities,” Jan. 10, 2012
The Plain Dealer via Cleveland.com, editorial "All together now, a useful motto for Ohio's public universities,” Feb. 26, 2012
The Plain Dealer via Cleveland.com, "Gov. Ted Strickland and challenger John Kasich figure out strategies, must sell them to voters," April 2, 2010
Ohio Higher Education Capital Funding Collaborative, report to the governor, Feb. 15, 2012
The Columbus Dispatch, "Gee gets honor of dotting ‘i" on budget bill,” by Joe Vardon, April 3, 2012