I have to be honest, I had tempered my expectations going in… and Strickland blew me out of the water. Belt-tightening in excess of Blackwell’s ridiculous spending cap nonsense, a freeze on college tuition, and a real focus on improving the lot of Ohioans living in the bottom half. In addition to killing the voucher program, he’s increasing the state’s funding of schools while cutting property taxes, targeting increases to troubled districts, and dramatically increasing accountability. Lots of excellent stuff about education.

Then there is health care. I wish I took notes, or fisked the speech live, but bottom line – Strickland will make health care dramatically more available to all low-income Ohioans, and guarantee it for children. In addition, he’s finding innovative ways to use federal dollars to help seniors and those at risk of losing health coverage maintain proper care.

What’s likely to be overlooked amongst the health care and education issues was one of the very first things Strickland talked about: advanced energy research and implementation. This is really an emerging market, and if we get a jump on it, Ohio could be well poised to land a significant chunk of the alternative energy industry. Really, this goes hand-in-hand with the health and education issues – ensuring Ohioans are healthy and educated makes them more likely to want to live here, and make them a more employable workforce. The alternative energy market provides cutting-edge jobs for these employees to fill.

Fabulous SotS address, IMO. I don’t think I could have dreamed of something better.

UPDATE: Full text of the speech