Mary Taylor brought her conservative campaign to become Ohio’s next governor to the Liberty Tavern in Powell on Thursday.
For about an hour, the current lieutenant governor of the state outlined her credentials and policies, and fielded questions from a dozen or so people who learned of the meet and greet event from Facebook, not counting campaign staff and the media. Republican Taylor joked that she didn’t want to give away too much of her campaign strategy due to the presence of the latter.
“It’s unmistakably clear where I stand on the issues,” Taylor said. “I am a conservative who’s not afraid to take on the establishment.”
Taylor said she’s never lost a campaign, winning what were thought to be unwinnable seats, including that of state auditor in 2006.
“I’m the first certified public accountant ever to be the watchdog of the treasury,” she said. While in office, Taylor said she has launched a Common Sense Initiative to eliminate wasteful regulations, opposed tax increases, and fought for the repeal of Obamacare.
Taylor said her policy positions include ending Medicaid expansion; “ending Common Core and restoring local control to schools;”simplifying tax compliance so that state returns can be done on a postcard. She said she is pro-life and pro-2nd Amendment. Regarding the addiction crisis, she said, “Government doesn’t solve these types of problems.”
Calling her main opponent in the May primary a liberal, Taylor said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine was a five-decade career politician typical of the establishment who thinks government can cure all of society’s ills.
“I want to build a firewall against government over-reach,” she said.
Taylor said DeWine “was in the Gang of 14 who blocked conservative judges,” plus “he earned an F (grade) from the National Rifle Association, and that’s hard to do” and even supported the DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors).
“In 2016, our nation stated very clearly what it thinks of the establishment,” she said in support of President Donald Trump and his tax cuts. “You have more power than you know,” voters were told.
Most of the audience’s questions were about immigration. Taylor said she was opposed to Sanctuary Cities and would use the power of the purse to withhold funding to cities such as Columbus, until they did comply. “We have to build the wall to secure our borders.”
One person said he liked her, but no longer liked Gov. John Kasich.
“I hear this everywhere I go,” Taylor said. “I’m the same conservative I’ve always been. View me for who I am and not for John Kasich. I am the true conservative.”
She also pointed to recent endorsements from fellow conservative politicians such as Minnesota’s Michele Bachmann.
Taylor admitted she was in a tough race, and that DeWine had an advantage in name recognition. However, she felt that events such as the Powell meet and greet had a compounding effect on guests, who would tell others about the candidate. Indeed, as they were leaving, several people in the tavern said they would vote for Taylor in the May 8 primary.
Liberty Tavern was an aptly-named place to hold the meet and greet, containing patriotic-themed memorabilia amid its chairs, tables and televisions. Taylor’s talk took place in a quiet room of the busy restaurant that was graced overhead by a quote attributed to founding father Benjamin Franklin — “The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.”
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.