Columbus -- At least one statewide officeholder has taken a public position on efforts to prohibit mandatory union membership and dues.

Republican Treasurer Josh Mandel said Jan. 31 that he supports right-to-work issues and would be willing to campaign as a proponent, should a constitutional amendment qualify for the November ballot.

"I'm concerned that, with Michigan and Indiana passing [right-to-work] laws that up and down the Michigan border they're going to be poaching Ohio businesses," Mandel said. "I think small businesses who are looking to grow will want to operate in a free market type of environment."

Mandel made the comments during a legislative preview day sponsored by the Ohio Associated Press.

Mandel and three other Republican statewide office-holders were asked whether they would support making Ohio a right-to-work state.

An effort was launched last year to put the issue before voters, with an eye toward qualifying for the 2013 general election.

There has been speculation that Republicans, with super majorities in the Ohio House and Senate, could move a ballot issue of their own, though there's been no public indication that GOP members intend to do so.

Gov. John Kasich dodged the question Jan. 31, saying that right-to-work was not among his priorities, though he did not take a position on the amendment.

Secretary of State Jon Husted and Auditor Dave Yost both declined comment.

But Mandel said he thought right-to-work would bolster economic growth.

"Not being a legislator, I can't introduce it, but if there's a legislator that introduces it, I would tell [him or her] that I'm supportive of it and would be proud to speak publicly in support of it."

Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.