Energy prices, policy play role in race for Ohio governor
TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Nan Whaley, the Democrat trying to unseat Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine in November, is out with her energy policy proposals as high gas prices continue to fuel voters’ concerns ahead of the 2022 midterm election.
Her main focuses include investing in renewable energy and cracking down on corruption in the state.
Poll after poll shows that inflation is the most pressing issue for voters, including one released Wednesday from Quinnipiac University that saw 34% of respondents ranking the issue as the most urgent facing the country. Gun violence was second in the poll at 12%. No other issue reached double digits.
It’s expected to remain a hot issue ahead of the Nov. 8 election, now 111 days away. Whaley, the former mayor of Dayton, blames DeWine for not doing enough to bring down gas prices. DeWine, who is seeking his second term in the governor’s office, blames President Joe Biden and suggests that Whaley’s policies are too closely aligned with his.
Experts say that while policies play a role in high gas prices, the issue has far more factors that play into the equation.
However, Whaley says there are options that the state’s chief executive has in their arsenal. Among them is the option to pause the state’s gas tax, something DeWine opposes because the state stands to lose hundreds of millions of dollars in funding without it, ODOT estimates. Whaley believes the money for highway projects could be replaced by cash from the state’s rainy day fund.
She also endorses sending a $350 ‘inflation rebate’ to 7.4 million qualifying Ohioans to help foot the bill or things like gas prices and groceries.
“The pain people are feeling is because of Mike DeWine’s Ohio,” Whaley said. “He has a role in making changes to make working-class families have an easier time right now. And he’s not doing a thing to make that happen.”
In a statement, DeWine’s campaign spokesperson said the policies outlined by Whaley are ‘irresponsible and costly.’
“Ohioans are paying the high price of President Biden’s energy policies—reducing domestic energy production, surrendering American energy independence, and, in turn, begging despotic regimes to ramp up production,” the statement said. “Now, Mayor Whaley says she wants to implement these same irresponsible and costly policies in our state. Ohio voters are fed up with the Biden-Whaley policies that are causing pain at the pump.”
Ohio has seen the second-steepest decline in gas prices over the last month with the state’s average down 65 cents, something experts say is attributable to the current oil market and not the actions of politicians.
Whaley wants to see investments in energy sectors across the board but wants the state to prioritize renewable energy sources. If elected, she says she would set and implement a goal for 100% renewable energy supply for the state’s government by 2030. She also pledges to convert the state’s fleet to electric and hybrid vehicles.
House Bill 6, the subject of the largest corruption scandal in Ohio’s history, scaled back efficiency standards that Whaley wants to be restored. The bill, signed into law by Gov. Mike DeWine, also bailed out two nuclear power plants including the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station in Ottawa County.
Whaley pledges to fire the current Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, the group tasked with regulating and watching over Ohio utility providers, and investigate its role in the drafting and passing of House Bill 6.
“We need to hold utility companies accountable,” Whaley said. “We’ve seen the rising utility cost and that consumers aren’t at the front of these discussions at the statehouse, or with the public utility council of Ohio.”
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