Ohio Governor Mike Dewine promises focus on health issues

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — Gov. Mike DeWine has promised a new push to address health issues in Ohio including opioid overdose deaths and infant mortality.

The Republican governor announced in Tuesday’s State of the State speech the creation of a new public health fund that will use public and private dollars on treatment and prevention programs.

He says the money for local communities will support treatment and recovery programs and help children and adults suffering from mental illness and addiction.

DeWine says he’s directing his cabinet directors overseeing mental health issues, aging, human services, health and others to focus on these issues.

The governor is also calling on renewed efforts to preserve water quality in the state and in particularly Lake Erie.

During his speech, Gov. Mike DeWine pushed lawmakers for an increase in Ohio’s gas tax to fix what he calls the state’s crumbling roads and dangerous bridges in his first State of the State speech as governor.

The Republican says his proposal for an 18-cent increase is a “minimalist approach” that will raise just enough to fix some of the worst problems.

DeWine says he understands lawmakers may want to reduce the amount he’s seeking. But he says if Ohioans think roads are bad now, “you haven’t seen anything yet” if action isn’t taken.

DeWine has brought the event back to Columbus following the decision by his Republican predecessor, Gov. John Kasich, to hold seven of his eight speeches in cities around Ohio.

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