Oct 16, 2022
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley both agreed to answer a series of questions from the Sandusky Register and Ogden Newspapers, but efforts to bring the two candidates together for a joint appearance with editors failed.
The Republican DeWine, who is running for re-election, declined previously to participate in debates sponsored by the Ohio Debate Commission, quashing the prospect the two would meet in any debate format during Ohio’s gubernatorial race.
His campaign initially expressed interest in a joint appearance at an Ogden Newspapers editorial board meeting, however, and has been reviewing potential dates and locations for the past two weeks.
Whaley, a Democrat, agreed to a joint meeting Oct. 5, and she provided several potential times and dates when she would be available.
But on Friday, the DeWine campaign pulled the plug on any joint appearance with Whaley, after nearly two weeks of negotiating a mutually acceptable time and date.
“With just 25 days to Election Day, our campaign schedule is prioritizing meeting with and hearing directly from Ohio voters across the state on the campaign trail,” DeWine’s campaign communications director Tricia McLaughlin said, announcing the decision.
Whaley, who agreed to have a meeting with editors next week without DeWine, ripped the governor for backing out.
“Gov. DeWine knows he can’t defend his extreme record on abortion, his role in the largest corruption scandal in state history, or his weakness in standing up to the extremists in the Legislature on gun safety,” Whaley said after learning about the decision. “Given all that, it’s no wonder he’s refusing to debate, meet with editorial boards, or even answer questions from reporters. If he is afraid to defend his record, why is he even running for re-election?”
The questions both candidates answered were prepared by a panel of journalists and are focused on information readers expressed interest in asking about. DeWine and Whaley were provided the questions on Oct. 3 and had until Oct. 13 to provide their answers, which are being presented here without editing.
Question: Public health officials across the state have expressed growing concern that lawmakers are gutting public health regulations, including striking down the ability of the governor’s office to issue public health mandates, loosening vaccine requirements and other restrictions they say lessens the state’s ability to respond to a public health crisis. Do you agree with this assessment and what will you do, if you’re elected, to reverse this trend?
DeWine: I vetoed Senate Bill 22, which reduced the state’s ability to issue public health orders. As I said in my veto message, it handcuffs Ohio’s ability to confront crises.
I am committed to ensuring every Ohioan has the resources they need to lead a healthy, productive life. Ohio and the nation have long under-invested in our public health systems. Because of that, we have too many Ohioans who are needlessly suffering from preventable diseases.
My administration is investing millions of dollars into Health Opportunity Zones, where hospital systems and community providers can collaborate to develop best practices and models to improve public and community health.
Further, wellness and education go hand-in-hand, which is why my administration has invested $1.2 billion to continue support for Student Wellness and Success programs. This funds partnerships between schools and community organizations to develop programs that meet the physical and behavioral needs of students.
Whaley: One of the clearest examples of Gov. DeWine’s weakness in the face of extremists in his own party is on the issue of public health. No matter how it started, at some point in time, DeWine betrayed the public trust and started worrying more about getting re-elected than he did about keeping Ohioans safe. He allowed Dr. Amy Acton, a respected doctor and leader, to get pushed out. He folded to pressure on public health regulations. He caved when members of his own party stripped away his powers.
The COVID-19 crisis exposed holes in our public health system and Gov. DeWine only allowed them to worsen. As governor, I’ll stand up to the extremists and listen to the experts when it comes to our public health, even if that means vetoing dangerous bills or taking the case directly to Ohioans. I’ll always put people’s health first, not politics.
ROE V. WADE
Question: Ohio’s Heartbeat Bill, which Gov. DeWine signed into law, bans all abortions after six weeks and has no exceptions for cases of rape and incest. Medical experts and health care advocates among many others oppose this ban and argue that it is too restrictive and denies women the right to bodily autonomy. Surveys show that most Americans support a woman’s right to choose. Why is this law right for Ohio, if you believe it is, despite that opposition, and should it be changed or modified in any way? If you believe it should be repealed, how will you seek to accomplish that if you are elected?
Whaley: We have already seen the awful, cruel impacts of this government mandate: a 10-year-old rape victim forced to leave Ohio to terminate her pregnancy, a cancer patient unable to get an abortion in order to begin chemotherapy, a woman with life threatening complications refused care. If Mike DeWine is re-elected, it will only get worse: he has pledged to go as far as possible to ban abortion. That will mean doctors facing prosecution, people’s medical records subpoenaed and women dying. This is also an economic issue: why would young women want to move to or stay in Ohio when they can’t get the full range of care they need?
When I’m governor, I’ll lead a statewide ballot initiative to put the protection of Roe v. Wade in the Ohio Constitution so that we can stop these government mandates and protect women’s rights.
DeWine: As a longtime pro-life advocate, I am in favor of saving the lives of as many unborn children as I can. I also recognize Ohio is a state that allows for a public vote via referendum or constitutional amendment, and I will work with the legislators on finding a sustainable policy.
Question: Manufacturing is back in Ohio, some argue, pointing to successes with Intel Corp. and with the automotive plants in Lorain County and in Toledo. What, in your view, are the reasons for this success, what will it mean for the state’s future, and how can the manufacturing sector be sustained over the long term in Ohio?
DeWine: The Intel project is a major win for Ohio and is a game-changer for our state’s economic future. This victory builds on our history as a great manufacturing state. Intel joins a growing list of manufacturing companies that have recently chosen to come to Ohio or to expand in Ohio because of our pro-business economic environment, low tax rate and smart and stable regulatory policies.
Further, we are making historic investments in career, technical education for Ohio students and workers. Our focus on programs, such as Tech Cred and IMAP, is helping thousands more Ohioans get free education that leads to quality, higher-paying jobs. We are already seeing Ohio companies embrace these programs to upskill their workforce.
Whaley: While the Intel investment is an important one, we need this type of opportunity all across our state, not just in Central Ohio. Where is Sandusky’s Intel? Where is Steubenville’s or Marietta’s?
Our state led the last manufacturing revolution, and there is no reason we can’t lead the next one. Our neighboring states are eating our lunch when it comes to building new technologies because our state government has actively discouraged investment in clean energy manufacturing. When I’m governor this will change — we need those new opportunities here in Ohio.
But we also have to make sure these new jobs are good ones. For too long, Ohio has subsidized businesses that don’t treat their workers well. My Ohio Business Compact pledges to help businesses grow if those businesses help workers grow. I will instruct JobsOhio to only invest in businesses that pay a fair wage and treat workers with respect.
Question: Do you support legislation that would allow teachers to be armed in classrooms? Why or why not? Please explain.
Whaley: This is a dangerous law that I strongly oppose. Teachers and law enforcement were opposed to this bill, too, but Gov. DeWine signed it anyway. The law’s result will be more guns in our schools, with little oversight and training. An educator will need 180 hours of training to renew their license to teach your kids, but only up to 24 hours of training to carry a gun around them. That is unacceptable and makes our schools and kids less safe. As governor, I will work with law enforcement and teachers to repeal this dangerous law and instead pass common sense solutions that actually make our schools safer.
DeWine: A one-size-fits-all solution doesn’t work in a state as diverse as Ohio. We are providing school safety funding for and assistance to every school, allowing communities to determine what options best meet their individual needs.
House Bill 99, which I signed into law, appropriates $6 million to expand the Ohio School Safety Center we created and is the first statewide office focused solely on the safety of school children and staff. This funding will expand school safety personnel and will create a new Safety & Crisis Division, primarily focused on school safety training for educators. This legislation also adds 28 new staff members to the School Safety Center — 28 more people who will work every single day solely on the safety of our schools.
House Bill 99 does not require that schools arm teachers or any other staff members. Many rural communities, for example, are not close in proximity to law enforcement and have longer response times. This legislation allows each school district to make a local decision based on what is best for their students, their staff, and their community.
ENACTING GUN RESTRICTIONS
Question: The state has not been immune from mass shootings and gun violence yet there has been little or no progress toward a consensus about what can be done to protect the public. What, in your view, are common sense gun restrictions that should be enacted to address this crisis, and how will you convince lawmakers to enact those reforms? Please explain.
DeWine: We must strengthen our laws to deal with violent offenders who have lost their legal right to possess a firearm, but still carry and use weapons to commit violent crimes. We recently invested $274 million to address, in part, violent crime in our communities. But, money, alone, is not enough.
We know that it is a small group of dangerous offenders who commit the majority of violent crimes. If we can remove them from our streets, the violent crime in our neighborhoods will be reduced dramatically, citizens and families will be safer, and lives will be saved.
The facts and data show improving and expanding the input of warrants and protection orders into state and national databases is paramount in protecting the public, getting guns out of the hands of criminals, and helping prevent horrific crimes. Since we took office, warrants entered into the database have increased 1,120 percent.
Whaley: Regardless of where they live in our state, Ohioans deserve to feel safe in their communities when they go to the grocery store, attend school or go out to eat. After the mass shooting in my community of Dayton, Gov. DeWine promised my neighbors and I that he’d work to make our communities safe from gun violence. He lied. Since then he’s done the opposite, caving to the extremists in his party and his gun lobby donors by signing legislation like permitless concealed carry, stand your ground, and the arming of teachers with very little training. Law enforcement was against these bills, but DeWine didn’t care. As governor, I’ll work to repeal these dangerous laws and will implement common-sense legislation that the vast majority of Ohioans support, like universal background checks and extreme risk protection orders.
Question: In 2015 and in 2018, Ohioans voted overwhelmingly for two amendments to the state’s constitution designed to create a bipartisan public process for drawing state legislative districts and congressional maps to end gerrymandering and assure fair elections. The process mandated by voters failed, and according to the Ohio Supreme Court, the law was not followed. As governor, what will you do to see that these mandates from voters are properly observed in the upcoming redistricting process and can you assure voters that fair districts and fair elections will be achieved?
DeWine: The 2015 ballot summary for the legislative redistricting amendment stated that redistricting reform would establish “a bipartisan process with the goal of having district boundaries that are more compact and politically competitive.” Both political parties would agree that the process did not do what it set out to accomplish.
It remains my goal to enact maps that are both “compact and politically competitive.” However, the Ohio Supreme Court decisions made attaining these goals nearly impossible.
Experts have told us that the rules in the amendment are some of the most complicated in the country. Still, the Commission made significant efforts to comply with both the Constitution and the Court decisions. I voted for numerous maps that I felt complied with the Constitution and voted against amendments I felt were partisan gerrymandering that ignored compactness and political competitiveness, which were stated goals in the ballot summary.
Whaley: Voters should pick their politicians, not the other way around. I stand with the vast majority of Ohioans who voted to end partisan gerrymandering in our state and guarantee a fair and transparent redistricting process. When he was running for governor in 2018, DeWine said he’d support a bipartisan, fair process. Once again, he lied. He sided with the extremists and pushed through unfair, rigged Legislative and Congressional maps that a bipartisan majority on the Ohio Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled are unconstitutional. He should be ashamed of himself. When I’m governor, I promise to follow the will of Ohio voters and actually support fair, constitutional districts. This is a critical issue for our state to protect our democracy and ensure that we are governed by folks focused on common-sense solutions, not extreme partisan politics.
Question: One of the hallmarks of our society in recent times has been bitter partisanship and a lack of understanding of the “other side.” What can each of you do, in this campaign, and as leaders in the state, to bring respectful discourse back into politics and help people see themselves again as neighbors and not enemies?
Whaley: When you’re a mayor, you don’t have the luxury of playing partisan politics or saying, “that’s not my problem.” There is no Democratic or Republican way to fill a pothole or plow the snow — you just have to get things done for your community. This was my approach as mayor of Dayton: I brought together labor unions and the Chamber of Commerce to pass high-quality, universal preschool for every 4-year-old in Dayton. I brought together police and community activists to develop new policies to make our communities safer. I worked with anyone willing to improve our community, and as governor I’ll take that same approach. Thanks to gerrymandering and extremist politics, our state government has become toxic. When I’m governor, I’ll work across party lines — as I always have — to achieve real results and find common ground to deliver for Ohio.
DeWine: As governor, I work each day to serve all Ohioans. Reasonable people can disagree with one another. That is healthy in a democracy and in governance. But in disagreeing with each other, we still must respect each other. When I was in the U.S. Senate, I worked across the political aisle with several Democrats to gain bipartisan support on several pieces of legislation. As governor, I have consistently worked with both Republicans and Democrats in the Ohio General Assembly on issues ranging from protecting nursing home residents and deregulating minority businesses to tax credits, criminal justice reforms and child protection policies.
I often reflect back on something that former Ohio Gov. George Voinovich told me: “The best politics for us is to do a good job in office.” That means seeking compromise rather than inviting conflict. It means tapping into others’ expertise, reaching across the aisle, and listening to others’ opinions, which is exactly what I have tried to do throughout my time as Governor and throughout my career.
Question: What in your view are the reforms needed in our public education system that will assist in enabling all Ohio students to achieve a successful post-graduation life?
Whaley: The greatest investment we can make is in our children. That’s why, as mayor of Dayton, I led the fight to pass high-quality, universal preschool for all 4-year-olds in our city. The program has been so successful that we’ve expanded it to include all 3-year-olds and several neighboring suburbs.
As governor, I will keep this same focus on education from start to finish. I will strengthen our K-12 schools and maintain hard-fought funding reforms, including fully funding the Fair School Funding Plan, so that every child and school finally have the resources they are owed. I will support innovative strategies to better retain educators, including protecting pensions, and stop any attempts to further privatize our schools. And I will work with educators and experts to actually make our schools safe and roll back dangerous laws that put more guns in schools with minimal training.
DeWine: When I entered office, just 40 percent of childcare providers receiving public funding were quality-rated; Within 18 months of taking office, all publicly-funded childcare providers were star-rated, helping ensure that Ohio’s youngest learners have access to quality learning opportunities.
We also expanded eligibility for publicly-funded childcare and expanded eligibility of the EdChoice Scholarship to historic levels, giving more Ohio families the flexibility to choose the best education for their kids. Further, I signed Senate Bill 89, which expands school choice access to more families and reduces mandates and regulations.
To improve kindergarten readiness, the first lady launched the Dolly Parton Imagination Library of Ohio, so every child in Ohio from birth to 5 years old can receive a free book each month. When the program started, only 13 percent of eligible Ohio kids were enrolled. Today, 49 percent of Ohio children are enrolled and over 8.9 million books have been mailed to them.
Question: Ohio and much of the Midwest has experienced some degree of population loss or stagnation. What future do you envision for the state’s economy to permanently reverse this trend and how will you achieve that?
Whaley: For too long, our state government has been looking out for donors and special interests — not Ohio families. They’ve bailed out failing companies using outdated technology while turning away the jobs of the future. They’ve passed discriminatory and dangerous laws that make our state unappealing to new residents and businesses. They’ve enacted abortion bans that risk women’s lives.
The only way we fix this is with fresh leadership. As governor, I’ll fight for your pay to go up, your bills to go down, and for your state government to finally work for you. That means raising wages for all Ohioans by investing in the jobs of the future, making child care affordable, investing in education, and keeping abortions safe and legal. That’s how we make Ohio a place where every family can thrive and where people come for opportunity.
DeWine: We are working to ensure Ohioans need look no further than their home state for a good paying job — creating jobs is the best way we can retain talent and attract people from other states to move to our great state.
We have cut taxes for Ohio’s families and employers, invested in career education and training, and brought historic investments to the state creating thousands of good-paying jobs across the state.
We’re investing in people and places so that everyone, wherever they live in Ohio, can participate in the modern economy. We are making significant investments to create vibrant Ohio communities, whether that be through water and sewer funding and H20hio, closing the digital divide through Broadband Ohio, or investing in grants to help revitalize Appalachia.
PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE
Question: We have many universities in our coverage areas. How do you see the state’s role in assisting Ohio’s universities and what does both traditional higher education and vocational education need to do to prepare students for an ever-changing world?
Whaley: Ohio has some of the best colleges and universities in the country. But our state government hasn’t prioritized supporting them. Funding has failed to keep up, forcing schools to raise prices and driving students into debt. As the first person from my family to graduate from college, this issue is personal for me. I will support increases to the State Share of Instruction and Ohio College Opportunity Grants, as well as real investments in services to help at-risk and first generation students actually complete their degrees.
But we also have to support kids who choose not to go to college. My One Good Job Pledge will invest in apprenticeship readiness programs to make sure young people interested in learning a trade have the skills and support they need to start a career and help rebuild our state.
DeWine: Making higher education more accessible and affordable for all Ohio students is key to developing a competitive workforce. When I took office, I challenged all Ohio’s public universities to implement tuition guarantees, which they did. That means when you walk into an Ohio public university, the tuition you pay as a freshman will remain the same each year.
We have increased the Ohio College Opportunity Grant by $47 million, which provides financial assistance to Ohio residents who demonstrate the highest levels of financial need. We are also offering Ohio high school students the opportunity to earn college credits for free through Ohio’s College Credit Plus.
Beyond college, we are investing substantially in career, technical education to help tens of thousands more Ohioans get an education that leads to quality, higher-paying jobs, without the expense and debt of college. We have funded more than 52,000 tech-focused credentials through the TechCred and IMAP programs, through which Ohioans can earn free, short-term credentials to unlock new career possibilities and good-paying job opportunities.
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