Ohio Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Mike DeWine stopped by the Delaware County GOP Headquarters on Wednesday to discuss the future of Ohio.
DeWine is one of four Republicans seeking the party’s nomination for governor. His opponents, so far, in the May 8, 2018 primary are Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, Secretary of State John Husted, and U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci.
“Part of the job of governor is to set the agenda for the state,” DeWine said to the group in Delaware. “To talk about the issues that matter.”
DeWine said the spotlight is returning to the Midwest and to Ohio. He said businesses are considering Ohio as a location because “we have a lot of great things going for Ohio that we just take for granted.”
“Within 600 miles of here is probably 60 percent of the population of this country,” he said, “We’re well situated.”
DeWine said the state has an abundance of water and natural gas that will transform southwest Ohio.
“It’s going to make us more competitive if we do it right,” he said.
DeWine said only certain calls can be made by the boss or, in this case, the governor.
“You want the boss to make the calls that no one else can,” he said. “I will be very aggressive. I will be calling CEOs. I will be calling anybody I have to call to get jobs in Ohio.”
DeWine said the majority of the jobs “will come from the businesses that are here or from people that are here.”
He said by working with the state legislature, keeping taxes down, and keeping regulation under control, the state can create a pro-business, pro-jobs climate, “so entrepreneurship, men, and women can prosper in starting a business and keeping that business going.”
DeWine said the state’s biggest obstacle to overcome is the opioid epidemic.
“No matter how bad you think it is, it’s worst,” he said. “We’re losing 15 people every day (to overdoses).”
DeWine said the epidemic is filling up the jails to the point “they are bursting at the seams.”
“The jails have become detox centers,” he said. “Collectively, as a state, we don’t do a very good job with prevention and education in regards to drugs.”
DeWine said his plan is to begin education about the dangers of drug use at a very young age.
“We start at kindergarten and do something every year that is age appropriate,” he said. “I think we have to do it in everything.”
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.