DeWine Delivers First 'State of the State' Address, Calls for New Public Health Fund

Gov. Mike DeWine on Tuesday delivered his first State of the State address before a joint session of the Ohio General Assembly. In his remarks he laid out the case for a proposed 18-cents-per-gallon gas tax increase and for additional funding for a range of initiatives, including water quality improvements and public health.

Although not laying out specific funding totals, the governor said a new Public Health Fund would entail a joint effort of several agencies "to leverage resources through an innovative new public-private partnership to increase public health awareness and prevention strategies."

"And we will be infusing resources directly into communities to make system changes to help local efforts to prevent and treat mental health and substance use disorders and to support recovery and wellness for individuals," he said.

In response to the governor’s address, OHA President and CEO Mike Abrams applauded DeWine for his commitment to investing in Ohio’s future. “The public health challenges facing our state such as the opioid crisis and infant mortality are creating profound challenges for our communities and health care system,” Abrams said. “We appreciate the opportunities and are eager to collaborate with the state agencies and appointed leaders as we continue the vital discussions to improve Ohio’s health care. We look forward to working with the governor’s administration and the General Assembly to ensure a healthy Ohio.”