Miami alumnus and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine visited Oxford last night, Nov. 14, to discuss his plan to tackle the opioid crisis as a part of his three-day “Fight the Crisis” tour. The major emphasis of his speech was on jobs, public education and the opioid abuse in Ohio.
DeWine, who is seeking election as the governor of Ohio in the 2018 gubernatorial election spoke to students and community members from 7 to 8 p.m. at the Oxford Community Arts Center.
DeWine will face three other candidates in the Republican primary for the 2018 gubernatorial race. Incumbent governor John Kasich cannot seek reelection due to term limits.
“It’s particularly bad because it’s everywhere,” DeWine said of the state’s opioid crisis. “It’s every income level. It’s every age. We’re losing, we think, about 15 people a day, who die of an overdose of drugs in Ohio.”
The former senator outlined how many people become addicted to heroin, explaining that many start with simple pain medications and gradually transition to heroin because it is cheaper.
At the forefront of his campaign is his plan to end the drug crisis by focusing on education. He plans to start drug prevention programs as early as kindergarten.
“We’re going to put more focus on education and prevention,” DeWine said. “It’s the cheapest thing we can do, I think it’s the most effective thing we can do, and we really don’t do it very much.”
DeWine connected the opioid topic to the issue of unemployment in the state, noting that many employers are not able to find workers who can pass a drug test.
He then took questions from the crowd on his plan to attack the opioid crisis.
One audience member questioned why DeWine would be fit to be governor due to his lack of action with the opioid crisis in his 41 years of government work to-date.
“I don’t think Ohio has taken on its problem,” DeWine said. “I would have if I was the governor of the state. I think what the governor could do is focus on the things that matter. I think this matters. When I’m governor of the state, we’re going to do K-12 education.”
After answering several questions specifically related to opioids, DeWine opened the floor for other general questions about his campaign.
The former senator confirmed that he is pro-life and stated he would be open to working with Democratic officers if ever elected governor.
When asked if he supported President Donald Trump, DeWine confirmed that he did.
Later, when pressed on how increasing college costs, specifically at Ohio schools, could be minimized, DeWine did not answer. He instead opened the questions to what various audience members thought about the issue.
“I have a great understanding of this state. I have a great ability to lead this state. I think it takes leadership,” said DeWine. “And I think I’m ready to do that.”