ROCKSPRINGS — Ohio’s 70th Governor, Mike DeWine, addressed Meigs County Republicans on Thursday evening during the annual Lincoln Day Dinner held at Meigs High School.
Thursday’s dinner was the largest crowd at the dinner in recent years, with a large group of local high school students representing Eastern, Southern, Meigs, Alexander and the home-school community. There were also several students representing the Ohio University Republicans group.
DeWine acknowledged local and state officials, including State Rep. Jay Edwards, State Senator Frank Hoagland and Congressman Bill Johnson.
“No one fights harder for the this part of Ohio than Jay,” said DeWine, noting that while Edwards is an “up and coming leader in Columbus” he continues to represent the people of Meigs County.
DeWine called Hoagland a “true American hero” and spoke of the Senator’s background in the military and security. Hoagland, DeWine stated, is also working on a bill concerning school safety.
With the Governor’s visit to the county coming a little more than two weeks after his wife Fran was in Meigs County, DeWine spoke about the Governor’s Imagination Library, thanking the commissioners and the county for the support received for the program. The Governor’s Imagination Library provides one book per month to children age birth to 5, free of charge. Currently there are around 400 of the more than 1,300 eligible Meigs County children signed up for the program.
Turning toward the upcoming election season, DeWine spoke to the importance of the party retaining the two Ohio Supreme Court seats up for election this year. Justices Sharon Kennedy and Judi French are both up for reelection in 2020. While they are unopposed in the primary, they face Democrat opposition in November. DeWine added that in the General Election judges and justices appear on the ballot without party affiliation, meaning it is important to know the names of the justices who represent the party’s values.
In 2018, when the Republicans won nearly all of the statewide races, it was the two Supreme Court seats which were won by the Democrats. Should the Democrats win two seats in 2020 it would flip from a conservative majority to a liberal majority.
DeWine also spoke to the current presidential campaign and the recent happenings in Washington D.C. He called the actions of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in tearing up the State of the Union speech from President Donald Trump “absolutely shocking.” He added that with the recent events, Trump’s popularity has never been higher.
DeWine serves as one the of the co-chairs for Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign in Ohio, stating that he is “proud to do that.”
Turning back to the courts, DeWine said that Trump has kept his pledge to put conservatives on the bench, including at the district and circuit court levels.
DeWine said the goal of his administration is to “do everything we can to make sure every child lives up to his or her Godgiven potential.” He added that it is time to invest in Ohio, something he is working toward with investments in education, trying to combat the drug epidemic and additional funding and support for foster care and adoption.
While DeWine said the death rate related to overdoses has declined slightly, he said it remains higher than it should due to fentanyl which comes from China to Mexico and then into the United States. DeWine said that one we they hope to help with the drug epidemic is to bring drug prevention programs to children of all ages.
“The essential focus of government is to protect us. … (That is) our most important job,” sad DeWine.
The Governor, who previously served as a county prosecutor and state Attorney General, turned to the matter of outstanding criminal warrants. He said there are currently more than $500,000 outstanding criminal warrants ranging from failure to appear on traffic offenses to violent crimes. Many of those warrants are not entered into state and national databases which are utilized by law enforcement when they run the information from a license plate or driver’s license. DeWine noted that this can be dangerous for the law enforcement officers as they may not know the person they are approaching is a potentially dangerous individual. Possible legislation would require all violent offense warrants to be entered into the databases.
After speaking, DeWine asked that all of the high school students in attendance stand up and introduce themselves. He added that he had been to Lincoln Day Dinners all over the state and that it was the largest group of students he had seen in attendance.
DeWine also assisted Meigs County Republican Party Chairman Bill Spaun in recognizing Recorder Kay Hill who will be retiring after more than 38 years in the Recorder’s Office, including many years as the elected County Recorder.
Representatives for State office holders and candidates were given an opportunity to introduce themselves and the person they represent as were local Republican candidates who appear on the upcoming March 17 Primary Election ballot.
Officeholders and candidates represented included Court of Appeals Judges Jason Smith and Mike Hess, representatives for Justice Sharon Kennedy, Congressman Bill Johnson, Secretary of State Frank LaRose, Treasurer Robert Sprague, Attorney General Dave Yost, and State Senator Frank Hoagland. Also in attendance were three individuals who are in consideration to fill the Fourth District Court of Appeals vacancy, including local Magistrate and Gallia County Assistant Prosecutor Jeremy Fisher, as well as individuals from Scioto and Highland counties.
Meigs County Republican Candidates addressing the crowd were as follows: Commissioner candidates (seat one) Shannon Miller and Randy Smith; Commissioner candidates (seat two) Gary Coleman and Jimmy Will; Recorder candidates Tony Carnahan, Huey Eason, Jimmy Stewart and Adam Will; Treasurer candidates B.J. Smith Kreseen and Peggy Yost; Juvenile/Probate Court Judge Scott Powell; Prosecutor James K. Stanley; Engineer Eugene Triplett; Sheriff candidate Mony Wood; and Clerk of Courts Sammi Mugrage.
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Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.