- Laura A. Bischoff Columbus bureau
Ohio Gov. John Kasich on Thursday outlined plans for leveraging technology in 2017 as a way to grow the economy: drones, driver-less cars and big data.
Ohio’s “Big Three” political leaders — Kasich, Senate President Larry Obhof and House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger – bragged about tax cuts and job growth over the past six years and promised to invest in advanced new technologies and K-12 education in 2017.
The trio appeared at an event Thursday billed as a look-ahead for Ohio’s economic development efforts in 2017. While Obhof, R-Medina, and Rosenberger, R-Clarksville, made brief remarks about the opiate addiction crisis and the need to improve education, Kasich ran most of the 75-minute show.
Here is a breakdown of what the governor said:
Local School Boards. Kasich wants to put three business people on school boards in Ohio’s 600-plus districts. Each would be non-voting members and would be appointed by the superintendent. Look for more details on this plan when the governor unveils his budget plan at the end of January.
Innovator in Chief. Kasich will create a new Ohio Institute of Technology and hire a “chief innovation officer” who will pull together university research on key areas and move it toward commercialization.
Self Driving Vehicles. Ohio will invest $15 million to put fiber optic cable, sensors and data devices along a 35-mile stretch of U.S. 33 between suburban Columbus and the Transportation Research Center, a high-tech testing track in East Liberty. It’ll allow for the testing of autonomous vehicles on a real highway.
Drones.The governor talked about a project underway at the Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport that will allow researchers to test new drone technologies and fly unmanned aerial vehicles out of the line of site.
Data Analytics. Kasich said the state will use its massive troves of data to spot trends and help solve problems such as infant mortality, child abuse and opiate addiction. The data will help determine where the state deploys resources.
Kasich also warned again that Ohio will face a tight upcoming budget and a possible economic slowdown.
“This is the worst economic recovery since World War II,” he said.
“Now, are we in a panic? Absolutely not,” Kasich told the 250 staffers, economic development experts and journalists attending. “But it means you look at every program and you make some choices.”