Governor John Kasich delivered his final State of the State Address in his hometown of Westerville, Ohio. After a day of departmental and agency meetings throughout the community, the evening’s address was conducted at Otterbein University.
The governor was very reflective in his last address to the joint session of the legislature, spending a great deal of time speaking about the values he believes should be guiding Ohioans in both their daily lives and governing policies. With those values “written on our hearts,” Kasich said that Ohio has:
- Lowered the number of uninsured in the state, keeping more people at work
- Improved our mental health systems, including newly proposed funding in the latest capital budget bill to rebuild Central Ohio’s mental health hospital
- Seen a 30 percent drop in written opioid prescriptions in 2017, a six-year low in opioid deaths and an increase in treatment beds in the state
- Enacted criminal justice reforms that have resulted in the lowest number of inmates entering state prisons in 27 years
The only major new initiative that Governor Kasich announced was the upcoming creation of the Jesse Owens State Park.
In all, Governor Kasich’s last State of the State was much more focused on the values that have guided his administration than on announcing major new initiatives, as one would expect as he enters the last year of his term. Governor Kasich concluded on a triumphant note, proclaiming, that while there was still work to do, that “Ohio is back and Ohio is strong again.” In some ways, the address sounded very much like a speech one might expect to hear from a possible 2020 presidential candidate.
As he has for several years, Governor Kasich concluded this year’s speech with the awarding of the Governor’s Courage awards. This year’s recipients included:
- Nina Schubert – Nina is a freshman at Kent State University and the founder of the Nightingale Project, which supports students with mental illness and eating disorders.
- Mikah Frye – Mikah is a 10-year-old from Ashland who asked his grandmother to purchase and donate blankets for a homeless shelter instead of buying him a video game console.
- Chris Hole – Chris is a hospice nurse from Miamisburg who attended the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas and rendered first aid when a sniper opened fire on the crowd.
Governor Kasich also took a moment during the address to commemorate the lives of Westerville police officers Eric Joering and Anthony Morelli, who were recently killed in the line of duty.
With the State of the State delivered, the General Assembly is now focused on passing the state’s capital budget bill prior to leaving for spring break at the end of the month. Most members will be home in their districts during April as they prepare for the upcoming primary election on May 8, 2018.