I was privileged to attend the governor’s annual State of the State address to the General Assembly Tuesday evening where Gov. John Kasich shared his thoughts regarding topics like the state’s biennial operating budget, water quality, and the opioid epidemic, just to name a few. Ohio’s greatest freshwater resource, Lake Erie, provided the backdrop for the night along Sandusky’s Columbus Ave. with the governor’s remarks occurring at Sandusky State Theater.
Kasich highlighted the positive strides our state has made in addressing water quality issues in Lake Erie and our other waterways. Farmers have stepped up to the challenge of addressing phosphorus runoff and nutrient management plans voluntarily and have been an important component in the health of Lake Erie. He also announced a $1 million grant given to the Sandusky area to restore wetlands and noted the importance of continued investment in Lake Erie from the state.
Much of the evening’s focus was on the state budget. Kasich touted tax reform including the centralized collection of the municipal income tax to make Ohio more attractive to businesses, the importance of sustaining Medicaid expansion, the need for greater industry and business involvement in our education process to predict where jobs are coming from and how to train students for them, and concluded his budget remarks with the opioid crisis in Ohio and his “Start Talking” program along with limits on the amount of painkillers a physician can prescribe to an adult or minor. See the full text of Kasich’s address.
He concluded his address by presenting “Courage Awards” to Damone Hudson, a Dayton bus driver who stopped a woman from jumping from a bridge on his bus route, Rev. Dan Rogers of Cherry Street Mission Ministries in Toledo for providing assistance to the city’s homeless population, and Judge Paul Herbert of the CATCH Court in Franklin County for his work in aiding survivors of human trafficking.
Ohio Farm Bureau has been engaged on the state budget since Kasich introduced it in February, providing testimony to support increases in funding to key agricultural services such as OSU Extension, OARDC, Ohio Sea Grant, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and the Ohio Department of Agriculture. As we continue to work with the legislature, I look forward to seeing our efforts in water quality and agriculture education implemented and advocating for our members on these issues.