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Government and Politics

Squabbling over drillers hiring Ohioans
Ohio officials fight to make sure natural gas companies in the state make Ohio workers first priority

Bill Cohen
Ohio Gov. John Kasich
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Ohio’s Republican governor and Democrats in the legislature usually don’t see eye to eye on bread-and-butter economic issues, but they are agreeing on one thing. They say oil and gas drillers who are flocking to Ohio’s Appalachian region to take part in the shale energy boom are not hiring enough Ohio workers. Statehouse correspondent Bill Cohen reports.

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GOP Gov. John Kasich has been job owing on the drilling jobs issue, but minority democrats have tried to put the rhetoric in action. They proposed an amendment that would require oil and gas drillers, here, to hire at least 60 percent of their workers from Ohio. But Democratic State Representative Bob Hagan notes, Republicans who control the Ohio House use their numbers to simply table the idea.

Hagan: They’re just slapping the faces of working people who are trying desperately to find work.

Ohio’s oil and gas industry says it’s trying to hire as many Ohio workers as possible, but some workers here don’t have the lengthy experience workers from other states have and the best workers must be hired for safety sake.

Industry officials say some companies here hire more than 50 percent of Ohioans, others more than 60, and as more Ohioans get trained, the proportion industry-wide will rise.

One official contends Pennsylvania is up to 80 percent hiring in-state workers. There’s no reason for a government hiring mandate says gas driller lobbyist Tom Stewart.


Stewart: There’s not going to be a requirement for every kind of business in operating in the state of Ohio or is it just special to one business— special planning, government haven’t worked out so well in other place around globe?

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