Mar 24, 2022 - Politics

DeWine notes "shared successes" in State of the State address

Photo illustration of Ohio Governor Mike DeWine with lines radiating from him.
Photo illustration: Allie Carl/Axios. Photo: Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

With a shovel in hand, Gov. Mike DeWine wanted to make sure the metaphor was impossible to miss.

  • Alongside First Lady Fran DeWine, he planted a dogwood tree on the Statehouse grounds after yesterday's State of the State address to reflect public investments that sometimes take years to show positive results.

State of play: Legacy may have been in mind during yesterday's speech as DeWine faces re-election — likely the last of his five-decade career in public office.

Some themes from his Statehouse address:

We, not I

Centering on collective achievement, DeWine highlighted "shared successes" and legislative investments during his first term to support children, seniors and those with disabilities, along with broadband internet expansion and water safety improvements.

Between the lines: DeWine needs lawmakers' support to enact his agenda. Emphasizing their legislative work might placate hostile members who spent the past two years bitterly complaining about a heavy-handed executive branch.

Old and new proposals

Many of DeWine's gun reform ideas have fallen on deaf ears in the Republican-dominated Statehouse, but he argued again for one of them: strengthening laws designed to keep firearms away from violent offenders prohibited from possessing them.

Separately, DeWine made another case for stricter distracted driving laws following a 2021 increase in traffic fatalities.

He also previewed other major agenda items that may take until a second term to achieve: improving mental health and addiction services, a targeted plan for Appalachian development and creating a statewide scholarship and mentorship program for children.

Morning in Ohio?

DeWine paid tribute to those who died from COVID-19 and thanked Ohioans for their sacrifices since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, particularly health care workers.

  • He otherwise kept pandemic talk to a minimum, focusing optimistically on the state's resurgence and path forward.

What he said: "The sun is coming up in Ohio," DeWine proclaimed, perhaps channeling Ronald Reagan's "Morning in America" theme ahead of the president's 1984 re-election.

  • "The wind is at our back, and together we have the power to change the course of Ohio's history."
A Twitter photo showing Gov. Mike DeWine planting a tree on the Ohio Statehouse grounds.
Via Twitter.
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