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Some Of State's Top Officeholders Talk Issues At AP Forum

Feb 2, 2017

(L-R) Ohio Auditor David Yost, Julie Carr Smyth of the Associated Press, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine at an AP forum
Credit Ohio Public Radio

Some of the state's top Republican officeholders who are likely to run for higher positions in 2018 say the state needs to make some critical decisions right now.

Ohio Public Radio's Jo Ingles explains.

Attorney General Mike DeWine says when people ask him about the problem facing the state that haunts him the most, he’ll say the opioid crisis. But DeWine says, in reality, that’s a subset of a larger problem.

“I think the biggest problem the state faces is we have a large number of children growing up in dysfunctional homes and a large number of children growing up in very stressed homes. If they aren’t dysfunctional, they might be very very stressed. That is our challenge is how to ensure that each one of those children, no matter where they live in the state of Ohio, can live up to their God given potential.”

DeWine has said he will run for governor in 2018, though he hasn’t officially launched his campaign. Secretary of State Jon Husted is also thought to be considering a run. Both men have already started raising funds for their campaign war chests, and both have raised about $2.5 million. Husted says the decisions made now are going to have a profound effect on Ohio’s future. So he says it’s important to invest in educating kids in general and in particular, he says the state needs to focus on taking care of children who lack basic needs….things like food, health care and guidance.

“We are going to be economically competitive to get the businesses here and we want people to earn more because in that decade period that I talked about, more and more of them, we are going to rely on more and more and more of them for our economic health and they need to learn more if they are going to have economic security and a better life. And I promise you, you look ten years from now, the states that get this right are the ones that are going to be prosperous and the states that don’t are going to fall further and further behind.”

Auditor Dave Yost has announced he’s running for Attorney General next year. As a former Delaware County prosecutor, he says he’s qualified to deal with the opioid epidemic facing the state. And he says the state needs to face the truth. Yost rejects the notion voiced by President Trump and some others in his party that the media is “the opposition party.” Yost, who worked as a Columbus Dispatch reporter in his early adulthood, extols the role of a free press.

“We need an independent free, robust press that’s willing to ask difficult questions, to demand answers to dive in and do the hard work of going through banker’s boxes worth of public records, to draw out the truth of what is going on. And we need to support that freedom of the press. Without that and without a robust working press, democracy doesn’t work and we are right in the middle of George Orwell’s dystopic vision of the future.”

Yost, Husted and DeWine made their comments at an Associated Press forum with journalists throughout the state. Treasurer Josh Mandel, who has announced he wants a rematch of the race he lost against Democratic US Senator Sherrod Brown six years ago, was also invited but did not appear.