Columbus -- I told you a couple of months back that Gov. John Kasich has a lot riding on the future success of Ohio's energy industry, particularly the emerging horizontal hydraulic fracturing method of extracting oil and gas from shale formations located deep under the eastern part of the state.
That's probably even more true following the stomping Issue 2 took at the ballot box earlier this month, when more than 61 percent of voters said they didn't want the controversial collective bargaining reform outlined in Senate Bill 5 to become the law of the land.
But it's way too early in Kasich's four-year term to think that Senate Bill 5 will have the kind of lasting impact on his re-election chances that some Democrats have suggested.
That's where fracking comes into the picture. Because three years from now, all will be forgiven and forgotten if Ohioans are able to find stable, good-paying jobs -- the types of positions that have been nonexistent for a few years in the state.
In speeches before a variety of audiences, Kasich touts the potential economic impact of horizontal hydraulic fracturing.
"If in fact we find what we hope we will find, which is dry gas in the east, wet gas in the middle and liquids or petroleum oil in the western part, we've got a bonanza," he said one day last week.
The governor also points out the billions of dollars that have already been invested in the state, via land leases by companies hoping to tap into the Ohio's energy potential. Those funds will ripple through the state's economy, with more expected as steel tube, compressor and related products and services are produced to accommodate the industry.
"... Beauty salons and barber shops and restaurants and hotels -- it's fantastic that there are people now starting to get some money," he said. "Outsiders are investing in our state."
State officials have said repeatedly that they are working with drillers to ensure that facturing activities are done within the confines of Ohio's laws and regulations, but there's another aspect of this emerging industry that will gain increased attention in coming months and years -- job training.
Kasich has hinted for months that his administration has been working with colleges and universities on ways to better prepare students for future careers at companies with job openings in the state.
During a speech in Columbus last week, he said efforts are under way to recruit a company to help train students for oil and gas drilling work. And he said he wants more interaction between schools and businesses to help Ohio's youngsters identify their passions earlier in life, then work toward careers that fit those interests, whether the latter takes them to four-year universities for bachelor's degrees or to two-year colleges or other technical programs where they can learn a trade.
"I want to have more kids out there into the workplace where they can learn and get excited about things," he said, adding, "We ultimately need to have an education system that taps into our children's'or our grandchildren's passions. We need to find out at an early age what they're interested in ... We then need to build our education system around their passions and not build their passions around somebody else's idea of what education ought to be."
If successful, such a system would provide a ready, willing and able work force for companies that want to expand in Ohio, including those involved in horizontal hydraulic fracturing.
Kasich has a lot riding on quick and positive results of such efforts.
Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at email@example.com or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.
The big question is not how many jobs will be created with 'fracking', but what will we sacrifice by 'fracking'? Yes, I do understand and respect the fact that Ohio; like the rest of the nation, like the rest of the world needs jobs, but we also need fresh water even more. After all, many Ohioans, like my sister and her husband rely on well water, which is already very hard and already quite poluted, it needs cleaning up, not more polution. In addition to that, there are other job sources, many green jobs, such as installing solar panels and wind mills and the like.
After all, many Ohioans still work the 'Family Farm' who need to water their crops. In addition to that, there is the growing number of Ohio vineyards, which is why if we need and must do anything, clean up our ground water, not make it even worse than it already is