COLUMBUS (AP) — New Republican Gov. Mike DeWine says he’s beginning his four-year term with great optimism about Ohio’s future and a commitment to hearing others’ ideas and perspectives.
But he told the audience at his Statehouse inauguration Monday not to mistake that for lack of vision or resolve.
DeWine led a GOP sweep of nonjudicial, statewide offices in November to become Ohio’s 70th governor. He succeeds term-limited Republican Gov. John Kasich.
At 72, DeWine is the oldest person elected governor. The former U.S. Senator is among Ohio’s most well-known politicians after decades in elected office.
Six executive orders
Flanked by family and close friends, DeWine officially became Ohio’s governor shortly after midnight Jan. 14 in private ceremony at his farm near Cedarville.
Sworn in by his son, Ohio Supreme Court Judge Pat DeWine, DeWine took the oath of office with his hand on a stack of family Bibles including one owned by his late daughter, Becky DeWine; one acquired in Jerusalem; and one that First Lady Fran DeWine gave Mike on their 10th wedding anniversary.
He was to conclude his weekend of activities with the inaugural gala at the Statehouse Monday night.
He didn’t waste any putting his stamp on the state. Immediately after signing the oath of office inside a packed farmhouse across the drive from his main home, DeWine signed six executive orders.
“We said we were going to hit the ground running,” he said.
The first created the Governor’s RecoveryOhio Initiative, placing one person in charge in his administration – Alisha Nelson — coordinate the state’s anti-drug effort.
The others created the Governor’s Children’s Initiative; established Ohio as a disability inclusion state and model employer of individuals with disabilities; elevated foster care priorities in Ohio; put an anti-discrimination policy back in effect adding pregnancy, young children and foster parents as protected classes; and elevated prevention within the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.
DeWine brings decades of political experience to the Statehouse. He was most recently the Ohio Attorney General, in office since January 2011. Prior to that he served as a U.S. Senator for 12 years, lieutenant governor under George Voinovich for four years, U.S. Congressman for eight years, and state senator for two years. He’s also a former Greene County prosecutor.
He said all of those elected positions helped him prepare for this job.
“We will not let you down,” he said.