MASON, OH (FOX19) - Former Arkansas Governor and former Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is in the Tri-State on Friday, trying to convince Ohioans to pass the most debated issue the state has seen in years.
"If they don't pass issue 2 you lose jobs. People move to other states where it's cheaper to do business. It's really as simple as that," said Mike Huckabee.
Huckabee was in Mason to persuade voters to say yes in November.
Many people are asking: "What is Issue 2?" Issue 2 is the language Ohioans will see on the ballot in November that puts Senate Bill 5 to a vote.
Quite simply, a 'yes' vote on Issue 2 would uphold Senate Bill 5; the measure that would ban 400,000 public workers from striking and would curb collective bargaining rights.
A 'no' vote would repeal the law, which was penned by local State Representative Shannon Jones. It is strongly endorsed by Governor John Kasich.
During Huckabee's visit to Mason, Ohio, he started off light, but the topic was one that's weighing on many Ohioans as the vote nears for Issue 2.
"They're going to be making a decision not about whether Ohioans care about public employees," said Huckabee. "That's really not the issue. The issue is whether Ohio cares about its own future."
He rallied for Issue 2 for about 20 minutes and before he jetted off for a sit down with Bill O'Riley, FOX19 caught up with him in the parking lot and asked him more questions.
In response to whether Senate Bill 5 (SB-5) would result in government job loss, Huckabee admitted inefficiencies might necessitate some cuts.
"I don't think there's anybody that's worked in government, I was governor for 10 and a half years, lieutenant governor for three years, there's not one of us who can say 'Oh yes, every single person we absolutely have to have, and there's no way that we couldn't' be more efficient through technology'," Huckabee admitted.
He strayed, however, from calling for police and firefighter cuts.
"There are some jobs that always have to be staffed up," argued Huckabee. "My father was a fireman. I hope that we don't ever run short on firefighters and police officers. But do we need all the bureaucrats?"
He was also sure to make it clear the Issue 2 vote would have implications countrywide.
"It is important on a nationwide scale because what it is, is sort of a microcosm saying if we don't manage our cities and counties and states efficiently then probably we're not going to manage the federal budget efficiently," Huckabee said. "And we're not doing that."
He also argued that no politician can afford to create a situation where people are unsafe, referencing anti-Issue 2 cries that SB5 would put government workers in danger.
Cincinnati Police and Firefighter union members disagree, however.
"I would hearken back to when we got collective bargaining," retired policeman John Wainscott said. "Cincinnati actually had a lot of officers gunned down in the streets and they would not buy us the proper equipment because that's when collective bargaining came about. There were a lot of labor strikes back then because of those issues. We do not want to go back to that era."
"There's no final resolutions piece in SB5," argued Matt Alter, Vice President of Local48. "The ultimate say is the politicians so it's like a kid trying to negotiate with their parents."
Join the conversation on the FOX19 Facebook page by CLICKING HERE. Or call the FOX19 Rant Line at 513-655-RANT (7268)