Key takeaways from Gov. DeWine's State of the State address
For the first time since 2019, Gov. Mike DeWine gave a State of the State address at the Ohio Statehouse Monday afternoon.
The address was filled with comments about current crises and longterm issues in Ohio. DeWine touched on the opioid epidemic, healthcare, water infrastructure, jobs, law enforcement, drug education and other subjects. These are the key takeaways from his speech.
DeWine began with a quote about the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine.
"Glory to Ukraine, glory to the heroes," DeWine said.
DeWine then introduced former Ohio House Speaker Bill Batchelder's family before giving remarks about the late lawmaker. Batchelder died in February. He served as Ohio House Speaker from 2011 to 2014.
THE STATE OF OHIO:
DeWine's first comments about Ohio's current situation concerned the "American Dream" and the foundation he believes the government has built for residents.
"Together we invested in the people of our great state," DeWine said, in reference to recent years.
The governor spoke then about those specific investments. DeWine discussed the future of Ohio's children and expectant mothers while applauding healthcare and social workers who have fought the opioid epidemic and expanded care.
DRUG EDUCATION AND SCHOOLING:
DeWine said he wants to work with local communities to help combat issues in cities like better schooling and addiction programs. He went as far as focusing on the Appalachian region of Ohio receiving those benefits too. Over 30 of Ohio's 88 counties are recognized as being part of Appalachia, the only federally recognized region because of its extreme poverty rates.
"We want to give kids someone who can help them," DeWine said. "Someone who will teach them the dangers of alcohol and drugs."
LAW ENFORCEMENT EFFORTS:
DeWine again discussed drugs, this time thanking the Ohio National Guard for efforts to stop drug trafficking.
He approved of all work done by service members as well as law enforcement and firefighters. DeWine even recommitted his effort to funding law enforcement.
"We are doubling down on our support," DeWine said about police.
DeWine announced $4.7 million for law enforcement body cameras at the end of 2021.
Distracted driving was another issue. DeWine quoted a study which he said shows most Ohioans want to see stricter enforcement. DeWine said that Ohio's lawmakers have the power to pass legislation to press law enforcement of distracted driving further than it exists. He said the main mission is to make sure Ohio continues to see a decrease in distracted driving related deaths and injuries.
The governor finished his discussion of law enforcement by calling for a moment of silence in memory of Marine Gunnery Sergeant James W. Speedy from Cambridge, Ohio. Speedy was one of four U.S. soldiers who died in a plane crash during a NATO drill on Friday.
JOBS AND WATER INFRASTRUCTURE:
The H2Ohio water plan was another talking point. DeWine claimed this was the first time in years that Ohioans would have not to worry about water. He said H2Ohio created better quality of life for everyone and created jobs.
Then DeWine nodded towards what he called the innovation districts, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus.
The newest corporations calling Ohio home were highlighted. DeWine touched on the Ultium Cells battery plant in Lordstown. Ultium Cells said in February that they will hire 500 new employees by May.
"You rallied together, you made extraordinary sacrifices and you showed the whole world that Ohioans are resilient," DeWine said about workers.
The governor thanked everyone from doctors and educators to restaurant workers and public servants for the work they did during the COVID-19 pandemic, which entered its third year earlier this month.
DeWine gave a glance into mental health. It was among the topics he spent the most time on during the address.
"Suicide is the leading cause of death in people ages 10 to 24," DeWine said.
He explained the history of mental health in Ohio and mistakes made in the past.
DeWine says he wants to make Ohio the model for behavioral health treatment and research across the nation. He said there are steps the state can take to encourage the discussion on mental health.
A main point was the large number of research institutions in Ohio that can devote time and resources to mental health. Case Western Reserve, Cleveland State, Kent State, Miami, Ohio and Ohio State universities are all classified as research institutions.
"We can change the course through them," he said.
The governor promised he would announce proposals to help with mental health in the coming months. He gave no specifics but said the plans will take a long time to commit and fund.
PARKS AND RECREATION:
DeWine also applauded conservation efforts for Ohio's parks and wildlife. He said the great presence of animals and recreational services increased the quality of life for Ohioans.
He expressed joy for the new Shawnee State Park in southern Ohio, saying it will have a great campsite as well as spots for bikers and hikers. The Governor applauded Hocking Hills State Park which will soon open a new lodging site, the first of its kind to be built in Ohio in over thirty years.
DeWine made many promises to Ohioans. The Governor's promises will impact anyone from children, law enforcement, workers, homeowners, drivers, addicts and patients.
DeWine expects that legislation covering those areas could be passed in the coming weeks. The Governor said he wants to work with communities to make those fulfillments.
Watch 21 News at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Wednesday for a recap on Gov. DeWine's State of the State address.