Lt. Gov. Jon Husted on Innovation Ohio, saving manufacturing jobs, controversial heartbeat bill

The Spectrum

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) —Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted are settling into their new offices, and with Husted’s new job comes a new role for him to play in the administration.

Husted stopped by the NBC4 studio to talk with Colleen Marshall one-on-one about he plans to streamline state government, how the administration is working to save jobs and where he stands on the controversial heartbeat bill proposals.

Husted is now heading up Innovation Ohio, a newly created entity designed to use technology to improve the way state offices and agencies serve the public.

“People may say this is a pipe dream, but I want to make it so you never have to go into another government office again,” Husted said. He said Innovation Ohio will work to streamline processes, cut costs and improve the lives of everyday Ohioans.

“I think if we can do that, I think we will position Ohio as a creative, innovative state where more people want to invest, more people will want to live and more people will feel like government is on their side,” Husted explained.

He pointed to the success his office had when he was Secretary of State. They implemented procedures to allow Ohioans to register their businesses online, register to vote online and more, and he said that allowed them to reduce his staff size by 40 percent over the course of eight years.

“What Innovate Ohio aims to do is to push that innovation throughout state government,” he said. “[Innovate Ohio] is an entity that we will use as a change agent to take all of the great ideas that are out there across Ohio and push them into all aspects of state government and make state government change to better serve people.”

Another focus for DeWine and Husted’s administration is manufacturing jobs. After General Motors announced they would be closing their plant in Lordstown, Ohio, DeWine and Husted met with GM executives.

 “We felt like we created a good relationship and a good dialogue about the future of that,” Husted said.

While he would like to see GM put another line of automobile in the plant, GM has not been able to say if that is feasible.

“What we’ve encouraged them to do is to work with us to find another end user to put in that plant,” Husted said.

Both DeWine and Husted are on record saying they would support a bill that bans all abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected. In the last session of the General Assembly, the bill originally passed before former Gov. John Kasich vetoed it, citing that there were no exceptions for rape, incest or as a life-saving measure for the mother. The attempt to override the veto ultimately failed. Just this past week, DeWine said he would “absolutely” sign such a bill if it were passed by the legislature again.

When asked about DeWine’s support, Husted pointed to what he called a “pro-child” platform that he and DeWine ran on.

“This isn’t something new,” Husted said. “This has been his longtime position, this has been my longtime position, and it was on well on the record when voters made their choice last November.

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