Wilmington Prepares For Ohio's Political Spotlight
Wilmington is preparing for a political invasion. Governor John Kasich and most state lawmakers will travel to the southwest Ohio city tomorrow for the State of the State address. It's a return visit for Kasich to a city that was deeply scarred by the Great Recession. Five years ago Wilmington was dubbed 'ground zero" of the recession. It's major employer D-H-L shut its domestic air cargo hub at Wilmington throwing 7,000 workers out of jobs. Unemployment topped 19 percent. Mayor Randy Riley says economic suffering was widespread. "At one time, probably five or six years ago there would be a few foreclosures posted in the paper once a month and it got to the point where there were six or eight pages of foreclosures," says Riley. Governor Kasich visited Wilmington as a candidate and produced a T-V commercial drawing attention to its plight. National celebrities such as Rachel Ray and Jay Leno also highlighted the city's economic misfortune. Now, mayor Riley says Wilmington shows signs of recovery. "We are certainly on the rebound, in fact somebody was asking me, have we turned the corner and I said it's kind of like NASCAR I think we're accelerating through the curve right now. So I think we're moving," says Riley. Wilmington's jobless rate has fallen steadily from its 19 percent peak five years ago to below 6 percent. But total jobs in Wilmington remain well-below pre-recession numbers, household incomes are down and poverty levels are up. Laura Bischoff of the Dayton Daily News will travel to Wilmington to report the State of the State address. She told 'Allsides with Ann Fisher' that the Governor will likely focus on the economy and helping those in need. "I think he'll talk alot about helping people in shadows as he calls them, folks who are in poverty or who have serious mental illness or other big challenges and he'll also talk about how he's managed to put the state on the right fiscal track.We'll have more about that and kind of building for the future," says Bischoff. Governor Kasich has made a practice of moving his State of the State addresses out of Columbus. This year's speech marks the first time he will deliver his remarks in southwest Ohio.