Mike DeWine draws on his experience in launching bid for Ohio governor

Posted at 4:42 PM, Jun 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-26 16:45:25-04

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine went back to the future in announcing his run for Ohio governor. As a young congressman from southwest Ohio, DeWine made a short bid for the post in 1989.

"You forgot, and most of your viewers have forgot (if not all), but I ended up on George Voinovich's ticket and was elected lieutenant governor," DeWine recalled on a campaign stop at L.A. Pete's in Independence.

"I often have thought if lightning had struck, and somehow I had been elected governor, I think I would have done a pretty good job," DeWine said. "But I will tell you, I know so much more today and have had so many more experiences and know how to get things done."

DeWine's stops between runs for governor have included serving as lieutenant governor, two terms as U.S. Senator and two terms as state attorney general. It's a record he's said he will run on, and not from, as he kicks off the 2018 campaign.

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"I think people should vote their future and not their past," DeWine said.

In seeking the Republican nomination, DeWine will face a challenge from Lt. Governor Mary Taylor, Secretary of State Jon Husted and Congressman Jim Renacci. The four shared the ticket in 2010 and 2014 but will be in a winner take all showdown in the spring of 2018.

"I think they can look at what I've done as attorney general and get a pretty good idea of the type of things that I would be concerned about, the drug problem for example, education," DeWine said. "It's my obligation in the months ahead to talk about the vision I have for Ohio. We have to look forward."

While DeWine will run on his record in public life, he will draw on the lessons learned from Former Governor George Voinovich. DeWine and his wife Fran had lunch with the Voinoviches shortly before he died in June of last year.

"I told George about the fact that I was going to run for governor and he was very excited about that," DeWine recalled.

DeWine on jobs

The main issue for voters, then as now, comes down to jobs.

"You can't talk about jobs without talking about education and today you can't talk about jobs without talking about the drug problem," DeWine said.

"We have so many people in Ohio that tragically cannot pass a drug test and because they can't pass a drug test there are a lot of jobs that they can't get, they can't live up to their God-given potential."

DeWine on the budget

While Gov. John Kasich has insisted on not touching the state's $2 billion rainy day fund, it's clear that declining revenues have made things more difficult in Columbus, and DeWine knows that going in.

"I think if you look at the budget it's going to be clearly challenging for the next governor. We don't know what's going to happen with Medicaid," DeWine said. "I have been a big proponent of getting rid of Obamacare. It doesn't work. The question is what are we going to be left with? What we hope is that the Federal government, the congress, the president, will give Ohio and other states more flexibility to design our own program, but even if we're given that flexibility it's going to be a very tight budget."

DeWine on healthcare 

"I think that Obamacare has to go away. I think the question is what replaces it," DeWine said. "The Medicaid expansion was really part of Obamacare so we have to figure out some way, and I've expressed this to [Senator] Rob [Portman] and I think he understands that very very well, we have to be able to continue to try to reach people who have a drug addiction problem and a mental health problem."

"So we've got to try to figure how to do that and at the same time we will clearly have less money and what we hope is that by giving us more flexibility we're going to be able to make these dollars stretch further and do a good job."