Speaker Budish, President Harris and Chief Justice Moyer. President Harris and Chief Justice Moyer will both be retiring at the end of this year. This is their last State of the State as public officials and I want to thank them for their service to Ohio. Leader Batchelder and Leader Cafaro, Lt. Governor Fisher, statewide elected officials, members of the Cabinet, and a special word of thanks to Director Terry Collins who is retiring after 33 years of service to the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, members of the General Assembly and the Supreme Court, distinguished guests, First Lady Frances Strickland, and my fellow Ohioans…
I believe in Ohio.
I believe in Ohio because you can’t write the history of the world without us–without flight, without light, without Rock and Roll, without professional football, without John Glenn in space and John Glenn on the Earth, without the tomato, without the underground railroad, without Roy Rogers, without tires and ignition switches, without the humble fly swatter, without the Richter Scale, without Jesse Owens running for gold and for all of us in Berlin, without street lights, without fire departments, without Superman.
I believe in Ohio because Ohio will power the future.
The first major glass company to open its doors in Toledo was Libbey Glass. It was energy that brought Edward Libbey here. He brought his company from the East Coast to Ohio in the 1880s because our natural gas could fuel his operations at a lower cost.
From that fateful decision more than a century ago, Toledo became an international center for glass production. And while energy once brought us the glass industry, today that glass industry is bringing us new energy companies making solar panels.
That means jobs in solar research and design and production and distribution and installation. And that means a renewable source of power that will attract new companies in countless industries who flock to places where there is better access to better energy. Just ask Libbey Glass–the largest glass maker in the country, still at home in Toledo, and once again in the midst of a great energy center.
I believe in Ohio because we have made a commitment to advanced energy and we are seeing results.
When I took office Ohio had the nation’s weakest advanced energy standard for electricity production. Today, Ohio has the nation’s seventh most aggressive standard.
In 2007, not one drop of ethanol was produced in Ohio. Today, four ethanol facilities in Ohio are producing 295 million gallons annually.
In renewable and advanced energy manufacturing projects, Ohio now ranks first among the 50 states.
The Council of State Governments scoured the nation to tally the total number of new green jobs created last year. And what did they find? Ohio ranks first.
We’ve made it this far, this fast on advanced energy because we pursued smart, responsible policies and we made smart, responsible investments.
Two years ago, Ohio was one of the first states to respond to the international economic crisis with a bipartisan jobs bill that made key investments in several high growth industries, including a 150 million dollar commitment to advanced energy.
And now Quasar Energy Group is building an anaerobic digester in Franklin County. The facility will keep waste product from farms, food companies and elsewhere out of landfills and transform it into fuel and fertilizer.
In Shelby County, Wayne Trail Technologies is creating a better battery for hybrid vehicles.
Aided by our jobs bill, energy projects like these are in the works all across Ohio.
Our electricity reform bill prevented the kind of skyrocketing rate increases of 50, 60, 70 percent that crippled states that failed to act. Instead, Ohioans pay 10 percent less for electricity than the national average.
And that reform bill established reliability standards that are essential to Ohio companies.
DuPont officials testified two years ago that they would not expand their Circleville plant because their electrical service wasn’t dependable. But just last week, DuPont announced a 175 million dollar investment to retool a facility that once made components for VCR tapes into one that will make film for solar panels. The company credits our energy reforms with making Ohio a better place for them to do business.
We are rapidly deploying federal stimulus funds to advance 500 million dollars in projects supporting an array of energy jobs from cutting-edge research to home weatherization.
We have continued the vital work of the Third Frontier– which has made 150 million dollars in energy technology investments.