As Governor John Kasich prepared to deliver his State of the State speech in Wilmington Tuesday night, members of his administration fanned out to visit other communities in the state. The visits served several purposes.
Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Director, Gary Mohr, was in southwest Ohio visiting the Lebanon and Warren Correctional Facilities.
Focus on people
At Lebanon, Mohr presented Warden Ernie Moore with the state award for “Warden of the Year.” Mohr credited the warden with creating unity among prison staff in a “tough” facility to operate. He also said Moore lowered incidents of ‘use-of-force’ at the prison by 43 percent since his appointment in 2011.
The director said lowering use-of-force incidents is a statewide effort tied to public opinion over recent, nationally reported events, but that Ohio has seen a reduction of 31 percent over the last four years.
“When staff are involved in use-of-force it puts staff at risk too. The reduction creates a healthier culture and keeps people, and staff particularly, safer,” he said.
Mohr also made a stop at the nearby Warren Correctional Facility to present the state’s Gold Star Award to Dr. Timothy Heyd whose actions saved the life of an inmate who had attempted suicide. Warren administrators also provided updates on several programs aimed at aiding inmates in their rehabilitation.
While visiting the prisons, Mohr said the governor’s budget includes a request for more than $193 million new dollars for community correction and prison services that would help fund a 50 percent increase in mental health staff in Ohio prisons.
The director added,“There will always be challenges but, quite frankly, I’ve never seen a governor embrace and support our agencies budget, in forty years, like I have this one, so we’re pleased.”
Mohr has faced criticism this year from the prison guards union that says Ohio prisons are understaffed.
Focus on small business
Ohio Lt. Governor, Mary Taylor, was in Centerville for a small business roundtable. About thirty public and private agencies attended.
Some offered critiques of Ohio’s government and how it’s hindering their businesses with bureaucratic red-tape and delayed services. Taylor told the crowd that, although the administration believes regulations serve a purpose, they were working to ease the way for businesses to thrive in the state.
Joining Taylor at the forum were Bureau of Workers Compensation Administrator, Steve Buehrer, and JobsOhio President, John Minor, who gave updates on what their agencies are doing for Ohio businesses.
State officials also visited health centers and manufacturers in Wilmington before the governor’s speech.