Ohio Gov. Mike Dewine holds State of the State address

WTAP News @ 11 - Ohio Gov. Mike Dewine holds State of the State address
Published: Jan. 31, 2023 at 6:46 PM EST
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - “It’s a budget that focuses on our people. On our families. And our children. For they are truly Ohio’s greatest assets,” says Ohio Gov. Mike Dewine (R).

Dewine spent a significant amount of his address speaking on issues and goals centered around children in the state of Ohio.

Such as improving healthcare for children, impacting foster care, child mental health and school safety.

The Ohio governor talked about wanting to improve literacy and reading for children — citing the Dolly Parton Imagination Library and his wife, Fran’s efforts in that area.

“Fran told me this morning that 51 percent of Ohio children from birth to five are now enrolled in the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. When we took office when she became First Lady, that number was under 10 percent,” says Dewine.

Dewine says that his budget will look to create a new cabinet level agency called the “Department of Children and Youth” to focus the effort with these issues.

“Our proposed Department of Youth Services will consolidate programs from six different state agencies,” says Dewine. “And focus specifically on the following: One, the physical health of mothers, infants and children; two, children’s behavioral health and the early identification of and intervention in mental health needs; three, children in foster care; four, early childhood education. We’re excited about the prospect of this new department and what it will mean for Ohio children and for their families.”

Dewine is also looking at improving ways for younger people in higher education. From wanting to fund career centers in the state of Ohio.

“To reach more students and to provide better training for 21st century jobs, our budget will invest $300 million of one-time funding for capital improvements and equipment for our career tech education across the state of Ohio,” says Dewine.

To an increase in helping with affording college. Such as increasing the scholarship amount to six thousand dollars per student renewable for each of the four years and other opportunities in this area.

“To reward academic excellence, if you’re in the top five percent of your high school graduating class – wherever you go in the state of Ohio – we plan to reward you with a $5 thousand per year scholarship,” says Dewine. “Also renewable for each of four years if you choose to attend college in the state of Ohio.”

Outside of the focus of children, Dewine wants the state of Ohio to continue to expand its economic development. Something that was an emphasis for his staff over the last few years.

“In the last four years, 48 companies left the East and West Coasts for Ohio, creating more than 14,000 new jobs, $1.1 billion in new Ohio payroll, and $24.9 billion in new capital investment,” says Dewine.

Dewine credits a good amount of this success to his Lieutenant Governor, Jon Husted.

The governor also wants a significant focus on mental health assistance. As Dewine says, “As author and civil rights activist James Baldwin once said, ‘Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed unless it is faced.’ And so, we must face the fact that no Ohioan will ever fully live up to their potential or be able to lead purposeful and meaningful lives if their mental illness remains in the shadows and untreated.”

Dewine wants to use these four principles:

  • Building a community care system that increases prevention efforts;
  • Offering better crisis response services and treatment options;
  • Growing our behavioral health workforce; and
  • Focusing on much-needed research and innovation.

The governor is also wanting the state to prioritize affordable housing measures in Ohio. Dewine says, “For the first time ever, we will create both state ‘Low Income Housing Tax Credits’ and ‘Single Family Housing Tax Credits’ to stimulate the construction of more housing for families.”

Dewine is also wanting to look at improving the quality of the 960 nursing homes in the state of Ohio.

“So, in the coming days, I will be appointing a task force to study the issues surrounding quality of life and quality of care in our nursing homes. This matter is urgent, and I will give this group a short timeline to report back to the people of Ohio,” says Dewine. “They will travel across the state and will hear directly from residents and families about their lived experiences. We will give them a voice, and we will empower them to help drive solutions.”

And Dewine is wanting to add more training to law enforcement in the state. Saying, “In addition to more resources for body cameras, my budget will include $40 million per year for continuous training for Ohio law enforcement officers on topics ranging from de-escalation to use-of-force to crisis intervention for someone with a mental illness. This is consistent with one of the recommendations of the Legislature’s ‘Law Enforcement Training Funding Study Commission.’ Training matters, and it makes a difference.”