COLUMBUS, OH (WTOL) - Governor John Kasich is known for liking to challenge conventional wisdom. In many ways, bucking the norm defines how he has governed Ohio.
While a smaller government footprint is Republican principle, he touts expanding Medicaid for the neediest Ohioans, arguably one of his biggest accomplishments he credits to support from citizens he calls compassionate and pragmatic.
“They don’t want the mentally ill to live, sleep under a bridge," Governor Kasich said. "They want to make sure you get some treatment."
One of the dark spots to happen during his administration was the opioid crisis. Although the state made some strides to combat the epidemic, he considers it “unfinished business.”
“I’m not saying we’re winning, I’m saying we’re gaining. We have a six-year low in deaths and a 20 percent drop in the number of doses of opioids," Gov. Kasich explained. "Part of the reason why I feel so strongly about Medicaid expansion is that it provided the resources in the communities for treatment and rehabilitation.”
Governor Kasich is also proud of the 485,000 jobs he says were created during his term. But he is not satisfied with this number and wants to pass the half a million jobs mark by the time he leaves on January 24, 2019.
He says this is an important part of his last days in office because he believes each job represents opportunity for a person, their family, and neighborhood.
The Governor is passionate about the role education plays in securing not just a good job, but creating a competitive workforce that is flexible to forthcoming changes like automation, robotics, and even artificial intelligence.
“As frustrated as I am about the workforce, I think we’re leading most of the states in the country," Govern Kasich said. "Is this going to be done in my term? No. We need to have more business people involved in setting the curriculum. We need to have lifelong education. We’re working on all of these issues. We have gains in all of them but it’s going to be a long road. I’m very anxious about this.”
According to the latest Morning Consult poll, 52 percent of surveyed Ohioans approve of the job Governor Kasich is doing.
But in his first year in 2011, that number was in the thirties. He says that is all a part of a trend in politics.
“The people on the street would say, what kind of poll is that? I haven’t warmed up to him. I don’t like him. You go up and down in politics," Kasich explained. "But you go up and down if you play for the Toledo Mud Hens. They were hitting 350 and they love you. Then you strike out five times in a row, with men on base and they say you’re a bum.”
As for what's next, many speculate Governor Kasich might try to challenge President Donald Trump for the Republican nomination in 2020. But Kasich says he is not sure if he wants to run or not. However, he does plan to stay in politics.
“I have no idea what I’m going to do. But I do want to be a voice," Governor Kasich said. "I appreciate the fact that the people have given me a chance and the Lord’s given me a voice.”
Lima, Ohio - More than 50 truckers dropped off petitions to U.S. Representative Jim Jordan's district office in Lima, Ohio.
Part of a nationwide protest on Monday, with signs and American flags, they are sending a message to Washington that they're against the federal mandate called the electronic logging device ELD or e-log which tracks truckers' drive time.
They said it is bad for highway safety, your pocketbook and their bottom line.
"For me and my family, this is the way I make a living. We wait on chickens to lay eggs. How do you justify a time clock waiting on an animal to lay an egg?," said Ron Bowers of Bowers Trucking who transports a variety of goods, including chicken eggs.
The American Trucker Associations supports the ELD, claiming it makes the roads safer for truckers and drivers.
ATA spokesperson Sean McNally made a statement to WTOL 11 News.
“ELDs work by improving compliance with the current hours-of-service rules, as supported by federal data showing that use of an ELD reduced the truck crash rate by 11.7% and reduced hours-of-service violations by 50% when compared to users of paper logs."
Pamela Cox from Radebaugh Trucking Inc. refuted the ATA's findings.
"We as truck drivers, we're not criminals. We're out here. We want you to get your family. We want to get to our family," insists Ms. Cox.
Small business owner-operators make up the bulk of the American long and short distance freight trucking industry, transporting goods ranging from food to steel. They said this federal mandate will hurt consumers since the truckers will have to pass along increased costs.
The ELOG federal mandate is scheduled to go into effect on December 18th.
Shenzhen, China (WTOL) - Shenzhen is known as the Silicon Valley of China. And the communist government is banking technology will be the key to China's global and economic development and dominance.
The Chinese government gives businesses incentives such as tax breaks for tech companies, encouraging them to be environmentally sustainable.
This focus and support allows for inventions to take off at offices, co-working spaces and business parks.
Entrepreneurs are developing drones controlled by a user's thoughts or a “smart” door lock that opens only with fingerprint biometric identification technology.
But there are significant problems in the development of these technologies including Chinese industrial spying. This results in the theft of intellectual property from American companies that critics say total billions of dollars in lost revenue.
Chinese companies are imitating concepts drawn up by successful U.S. tech companies. For example, Didi is a ride sharing company similar to Uber in the U.S. However unlike Uber, Didi allows users to check taxi and bus schedules as well as look up bike sharing locations.
Similar to the USSR in the latter half of the 20th century, communist China is America's foremost competitor economically in the 21st century. However, unlike the USSR, they are unapologetically following an American model to compete with the US.
Tokyo, Japan (WTOL) -The Daiya Seiki Company in Tokyo manufactures precision gauges for Nissan vehicles with micro detailing only workers’ hands can achieve.
Yet the small business faces big challenges, including more expensive raw materials and declining car sales.
The most significant hurdle has to do with the workforce.
Japan is struggling with a decline in the population due to workers aging and low fertility rates.
These factors have squeezed small businesses, resulting in 100,000 small companies closing since 2000.
To combat the business pressures, Daiya Seiki is focusing on its workforce of just 34 and experimenting with new ways to keep them.
Young workers, for example, receive constant and intensive training from older workers who act like mentors and coaches.
And the veterans, including Daiya Seiki’s most senior employee at 72, aren’t forced to retire at the mandatory retirement age of 60.
That’s because his experience is virtually priceless, developing over the years the ability to detect an error to one thousandth of a millimeter.
The precision achieved, not through a machine but workers’ hands, is critical for the gauges’ performance and safety.
The former Japanese Prime Minister YoshihikoNoda was so impressed, he likened a veteran’s hands to “god’s hands.”
Not divine, but forced by circumstances to survive in a competitive business—both for workers and companies.
Manila, Philippines (WTOL) - While Manchester, England roils in the aftermath of an ISIS-connected bombing, right now there's fighting in the Philippines between security forces and extremists with links to the Islamic State.
Within minutes of landing in Manila minutes, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in the southern province of Mindanao where nearly two dozen have been killed in the last few days of clashes.
At the time, Duterte was in Russia meeting with Vladimir Putin, cutting short a visit that raised international eyebrows. Under Duterte, this key U.S. Asia Pacific ally has been cultivating closer ties with Russia and China.
The Filipino President is known in the region as the Donald Trump of Asia.
At a briefing I attended with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, officials admit that while Duterte's statements are contradictory, he is strategic--tailoring his message to different audiences.
Like Trump, President Duterte is an outsider who has an unconventional approach to international and domestic issues such as the so-called drug war.
Since he assumed office last year, he has rounded up drug dealers. With drug addicts, he's taken the opposite approach of Lucas County Sheriff John Tharp and his D.A.R.T program, warning addicts they have one year to get clean or deserve to die. Despite his controversial rhetoric and actions, Duterte's supporters, many who are poor and traditionally outside the political system, remain steadfast with their support.
In the Philippines, people are closely watching the Trump Administration's hard line approach on immigration and trade. This island nation houses call centers with workers servicing U.S. companies.
It also exports service-oriented workers to the U.S., including tech workers, as well as nurses and caregivers who work in nursing homes and hospitals, including in Northwest Ohio and Southeastern Michigan.
Their remittances, or money they send back to family in the Philippines total $9.6 billion in 2015, according to the Pew Research Center. A change in U.S. trade and immigration policy could be devastating to a country struggling to overcome hundreds of years of poverty.
Beijing, China (WTOL) - North Korea tested a second medium-range ground to ground ballistic missile leader Kim Jong-un reportedly describes as "perfect" while I am in China.
That's two missile launch tests in one week as North Korea continues on a path that could eventually result in developing the capacity to deliver a missile that can hit a target in the region such as South Korea and Japan, or even the U.S. west coast.
Government officials and experts in the U.S. and Japan tell me China has the most leverage with the rogue nation because it provides 90 percent of the goods traded with North Korea.
But why isn't China heeding the U.S. and its allies' calls to use this power to reign in North Korea?
A spokesperson tells me at a Chinese Department of Defense briefing I attended, that's not China's job.
"We are not like certain countries whose policies in foreign affairs are to mentor or coach or to intervene in other countries so that they need to do things in a certain way," insisted Army Senior Colonel Yujun Yang through a translator.
Experts here also tell me China may want to maintain this status quo to distract the U.S. and its allies from its military expansion in the region, specifically in the South China Sea.
Tensions show no sign of easing as North Korea indicates it will continue testing missiles, and the U.S. Navy is soon moving the USS Ronald Reagan to the area while the USS Carl Vinson continues operating there.