CIRCLEVILLE — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine spoke in Circleville Wednesday afternoon, sharing what his office is working on and taking a few questions from the audience before being recognized by Pickaway County Sheriff Robert Radcliff.
DeWine, 72, spoke at the Buckeye State Sheriff’s Association’s Southwest District meeting Tuesday. Invited by Radcliff, DeWine addressed some of his administration’s initiatives they’re working on.
Among those topics included the Dayton shooting and some measures his office has asked to be put in place to ensure those that shouldn’t have access to weapons, such as those with violent criminal convictions, don’t.
“One of the things I’ve talked about before that I want to do has to do with weapons under disability,” DeWine said. “We’ll continue to mourn the people killed in Dayton but we should remember that every week that there are people killed in Ohio who are shot by people who shouldn’t have a gun to begin with because they’ve been convicted of a violent offense in the State of Ohio.”
DeWine also talked about the need for more “wrap around services” for children, meaning services provided to them outside the school atmosphere to help them succeed with their education.
“If you look at the problems and mass shootings we see, almost every case — that person has a problem,” he added. “It might go to high school, it might go to grade school. We want to give every school some money to provide for mental health support and counseling and anything else we call wrap around services.
“Teachers tell me time and time again — I can teach and kids can learn but what’s going on outside the classroom is what the problem is,” DeWine continued. “They come to school hungry, with a mom who’s an addict or something going on outside. If we can deal with some of these things the teachers can teach and kids will be able to learn.”
DeWine echoed an announcement from earlier in the day in which improvements to the criminal record system in Ohio would be made, to make it easier for local law enforcement to put data in the system.
“This is something I have looked at, focused on when I was Lt. Governor in the 1990s, something I worked in in the Attorney General’s Office and now that I’m Governor we’re going to go do it,” he commented.
DeWine talked about his wife, Fran, and their initiative with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library to ensure children ages up to five have one book a month to read.
“The whole idea is to get books in the hands of kids from the time they’re born until they’re five,” DeWine added. “The Dolly Parton Foundation figured out how to have the book printed and mailed to your house for $2.10. It’s a phenomenal thing at a low cost.”
DeWine took questions from the audience including one about how he felt money from the lawsuits related to the opioid epidemic should be distributed.
“The people who have incurred a great cost are local,” he said. “Whether it’s the EMS folks that administer Naloxone, whether it’s the sheriff’s who house more and more people in the jails, or the medical costs — it’s the locals that have born the cost. I think it’s important as settlements or trials occur that the money go into one of three areas, treatment, prevention or law enforcement. We shouldn’t take this money and do something with it.”
DeWine cited the money from the tobacco industry as an example of what not to do.
“When the tobacco settlement came they took the money and they spent it on a lot of other things,” the Governor stated. “We still have a high smoking rate in the State of Ohio and the reason is we didn’t take that money and go do something with it. This money needs to go to one of those three areas.”
After taking questions from the audience, Radcliff, his father, and retired Sheriff Dwight Radcliff presented DeWine with an award for his service to Pickaway County.
“This commendation is awarded to Governor Mike DeWine in recognition of your commitment to and support of law enforcement in Pickaway County during your career in public service as an Ohio State Senator, U.S. Congressman, Ohio Lt. Governor, U.S. Senator, Ohio Attorney General, and Governor of Ohio,” Radcliff said.