COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Governor-Elect Mike DeWine addressed County Commissioners and Engineers today at their annual winter conference in Columbus.
He reiterated his pledge to do what he can to increase the Local Government Fund that has been cut back drastically over the last few years.
Just like the campaign trail, he made no specific promises about that, leaving the door open to the possibility that there may be nothing he can do.
Contrasting that, he gave a full-throated pledge to increase funding for children’s services which in turn will in some part help counties fiscal woes.
Ohio is currently ranked 50th out of 50 states for funding of children’s services, something DeWine finds unacceptable.
“That is just inexcusable, that is just wrong. We will change that. We have a couple of pilot programs I started as the Attorney General; we’re going to carry those over to the governor’s office. We’re going to do those for all 88 counties, again in the area of foster care and adoption,” said DeWine.
DeWine points out that many of those needing children’s services are a result of the opioid epidemic in the state, saying in some cases both parents of the child are addicted to drugs.
Prior to DeWine addressing the County Commissioners, the Senate President and Speaker of the House both detailed what was on their agendas for the remainder of the General Assembly.
Speaker Ryan Smith intimated there will be a better working relationship with the Governor’s Administration moving forward.
“The conversation going forward is going to be much more amenable to how we can do things together instead of just being told how we’re going to do it,” said Smith.
When asked about the differences in leadership between himself and Kasich, DeWine said he is a good listener but people should not mistake that for not having an agenda.
“I know where we want to go, I laid that out during the campaign and we’ve got a skills gap problem; we’ve got a drug problem,” said DeWine. “From January 14th, from the moment I am sworn in, we’re going to be focusing on those two problems.”