Kasich to visit Germany, England during European trip

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (KAY'-sik) is headed to Europe for a series of economic development and policy meetings with corporate CEOs and world leaders

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Ohio Gov. John Kasich is headed to Europe on Thursday for a series of economic development and policy discussions with corporate CEOs and world leaders.

The Republican governor plans stops in Germany and England.

Kasich was invited by Sen. John McCain to join a bipartisan congressional delegation at the Munich Security Conference, said Kasich spokesman Jim Lynch. The Republican senator from Arizona chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee and is heading the delegation. Vice President Mike Pence, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly also are expected to attend the event.

Kasich also plans business meetings in London seeking new development for Ohio in the fields of advanced manufacturing, energy, finance and automotive technology. His itinerary was arranged by JobsOhio, Kasich's privatized job-creation office, Lynch said.

"This trip reinforces the focus placed by the state of Ohio and JobsOhio to attract foreign direct investment and jobs to the state," Lynch said. "With the help of JobsOhio and its regional partners, Ohioans have generated nearly 450,000 new private sector jobs since 2011 and diversified the state's economy with forward-looking industries."

The United Kingdom and Germany are among top nations with investments in Ohio. Some 60,000 Ohioans are employed by companies including Siemens, BMW Financial Services, Laird Technologies, Smiths Medical and Steris.

The trip continues a pattern of out-of-state travel by Kasich, a 2016 GOP presidential contender who has said he intends to remain relevant on the national stage.

Recent appearances have included a talk on U.S.-Dutch relations under the Trump administration at the Embassy of the Netherlands in Washington and remarks on Martin Luther King Jr. Day at the King Center in Atlanta.

Kasich will be accompanied to Europe by Lynch and chief of staff Beth Hansen, as well as his usual security detail.

The costs of protecting Kasich are already running higher than average, though still far less than during last year's presidential run.

Online state expense records show travel expenses from the Ohio State Highway Patrol's non-highway enforcement fund have totaled about $102,000 so far this fiscal year. Last year, the fund spiked at more than $657,000, records show.

The patrol says the fund can be used for out-of-state travel unrelated to Kasich.

JobsOhio will cover Kasich's travel expenses for the trip, Lynch said.

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