Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Ohio governor calls victory for Issue 1, Ohio Third Frontier « MedCity News

Ohio governor calls victory for Issue 1, Ohio Third Frontier « MedCity News

Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland has called a victory for Issue 1 — the extension of the Ohio Third Frontier program, the state’s largest and arguably most successful, economic development program.

With the votes of more than 85 percent of Ohio’s precincts counted, Issue 1 was being approved by 61 percent of voters, while 39 percent had voted against the constitutional amendment to extend Third Frontier by four years with the proceeds of a $700 million bond issue.

Third Frontier is the 10-year, $1.35 billion project started by Strickland’s predecessor, Bob Taft, to energize Ohio’s economy by investing in technologies in five industry clusters, including biomedical. The project had a $6.6 billion economic impact on the state, creating nearly 50,000 jobs and more than 600 companies during its first eight years, reports have shown.

In recent weeks, elation at overwhelmingly positive and bipartisan votes by Ohio’s General Assembly to put Issue 1 on the primary ballot gave way to nagging doubts that many Ohioans knew too little about Third Frontier to approve its extension. Taking nothing for granted, Strickland last week asked supporters to “please spread the word” about Issue 1.

Wildly popular among people who have been touched by the program, Third Frontier is largely unknown by others. Lacking opposition, Third Frontier backers waged a quiet and grassroots campaign to connect jobs creation with Issue 1 — not with Third Frontier.

If Issue 1 passes, as expected, Third Frontier would have an annual grant-making budget of about $175 million from 2012 through 2015.

“Today, in voting booths across the state, Ohioans embraced the future,” Strickland said in dramatic fashion in a written statement.

“I’ve seen firsthand the effects of the Ohio Third Frontier. It’s helped create companies and careers that didn’t exist in Ohio, or anywhere, just a few years ago. Assembly line workers are finding a new era of opportunity making medical imaging equipment. Recent college graduates are staying put because they see their future right here designing the next generation of aerospace parts and wind turbines and scores of other products.

“The Ohio Third Frontier is the single most effective tool we have to create jobs and spur economic development in Ohio,” Strickland said. “Third Frontier companies are literally inventing the cure for rust, and in the process they are inventing the cure for the Rust Belt. Because that’s not who we are, and today the voters of Ohio said that loud and clear.”

Baiju Shah, president and chief executive of BioEnterprise, the bioscience company developer in Northeast Ohio, was grateful for the likely passage of Issue 1.

“Thank you for supporting the Issue 1 Third Frontier renewal campaign,” Shah said in an email to supporters. “Due to your support, 62 percent of voters (nearly 1 million Ohioans) supported the initiative.

“The campaign was successful both because the program has accelerated high-tech jobs in Ohio, and because your grassroots efforts shared that information with colleagues, friends and family members. We look forward to continuing to work with you on growing high-tech and health care jobs in Ohio.”


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home