(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—The following are an as-prepared version of Ohio Governor Mike DeWine's Second Inaugural Address:
Lieutenant Governor Husted; Senator Vance; Congressman Carey; Speaker Stephens; President Huffman; Leader Antonio; Leader Russo; Chief justice Kennedy; Justices Fischer, Dewine, Donnelly, Stewart, and Brunner; Attorney General Yost; Auditor Faber; Secretary of State Larose; Treasurer Sprague; esteemed mayors; reverend clergy; and members of the General Assembly;
My fellow citizens of Ohio....
Four years ago, in this historic capitol on this very spot, I took the oath of office to become your Governor.
We celebrated then and we celebrate today what has made Ohio great -- our faith, our families, and our friends.
So, let me now introduce my family. For the past four years, Ohioans have seen Fran by my side as we fought a once-in-a-hundred-years pandemic.
They have seen her passion for children and for children’s literacy.
And, they have seen her bring the Dolly Parton Imagination Library to children across the state of Ohio.
And, for over 55 years of marriage, our family has seen her strength, her compassion, and her leadership. She is the rock of our family. And through times of great joy and times of great sorrow -- she holds us all together.
Let me now introduce to you my bride, Fran.
Fran and I want to introduce to you our children, their spouses, and our grandchildren.
Just as in the past I learned from my parents and grandparents, now I continue to learn from our own children and our own grandchildren.
We also want to introduce to you Fran’s brothers and sisters and their families, who, many years ago, really became my brothers and sisters.
Today, on this day of celebration, we also remember our family members who are no longer with us, but who remain forever in our hearts -- our parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, Fran’s brother Mike, our daughter Becky, and our granddaughter Kathryn Becky.
We miss them all so very much.
To my fellow citizens of Ohio -- thank you! Thank you for the trust and responsibility that you have given me.
And thank you for giving us the most precious thing there is -- and that is time -- time for us to continue to work for you as we tackle our state’s unfinished business.
Not long into my first term, we found ourselves facing an invisible enemy that threatened our health and our lives. Yet, Ohioans rallied -- as you always do -- and showed the world your resilience.
We will continue to remember the Ohioans who have been lost in the pandemic.
And, we will remain indebted to our healthcare workers -- our nurses, doctors, and first responders; our grocery store and restaurant workers; local health department personnel; teachers and educators; our Ohio National Guard troops, and so many, many others -- all of whom have stepped up in countless ways.
Let’s stop and give them a round of applause.
Woody Hayes said, “you win with people!” And Ohio’s greatness has always come from our people.
Here in Ohio, we like to do things “the Ohio way!”
We get up in the morning. We go to work.
We make things! We invent things! We do things!
And in Ohio, we have elected leaders throughout our history who focus on the things that really matter to our families and our communities.
We’re pragmatic. We’re “no drama.”
And when we get knocked down, instead of complaining, we just get back up and get things done!
My promise to you four years ago in my first inaugural address was that we would invest in people.
I spoke of my dad and my grandfather, who both planted seeds in the autumn of their lives, knowing full well that they would likely not live to see those seeds grow into flowers and large trees.
But they did these things, nonetheless, because they wanted to do things that endured beyond their lifetimes so their children and grandchildren could enjoy the shade of those trees and the beauty of those flowers.
With that same optimism and faith in the future, I asked the people of Ohio and the General Assembly to “do things where the results will not be immediate -- but where they will be profound, and where they will endure.”
And, I asked you to invest -- to invest in things where, in many cases, “we will not see results during this administration or even in our lifetimes,” but to act, nonetheless.
And act we did!
Together, we are creating the environment in this state, where every single Ohioan can have a better life and a more prosperous future.
We are building an Ohio where every single child -- whether they live in Appalachia, in the inner city, or in a village -- has access to quality childcare;
A good school; and positive adult role models and mentors.
We are building an Ohio where every child can find something that they have a real passion for and get the training they need to turn that passion into their livelihood.
We are building an Ohio with first-class infrastructure, with roads and bridges that are safe and strong -- including a brand-new bridge that we are soon going to start building across the Ohio river at Cincinnati and Covington, KY!
We are also delivering high-speed internet that will be available and reliable to every corner of every county; and working to make clean drinking water accessible to everyone.
We are also going after the violent offenders who are terrorizing our communities and the drug dealers who are peddling poison to our citizens.
And we are ridding Ohio of the stigma -- yes the stigma -- that comes with addiction and mental illness -- and we will transform Ohio into the best state in the nation for mental health treatment; the best state in the nation for mental health research; and the best state in the nation for mental health prevention.
My fellow Ohioans -- our goal each day will be to make possible the dreams of every one of our citizens.
As leaders, we will remember that what is important is not our dreams, but what is important is that we create the environment here in Ohio where each Ohioan has the opportunity to pursue their dreams.
Over the next four years, we will be guided by the same core principles and the same core values that have steered us in the past.
We will work with great urgency to remove the barriers that are blocking too many Ohioans from living up to their full God-given potential.
We will remember the words of George Washington Carver and “resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and the strong, because sometime in life, [we] will have been all of these.”
And, we will leave no one behind, for every life has dignity, value, and worth.
My friends -- this is Ohio’s time!
People are returning to the heartland. And, while maybe not all roads lead to Ohio, a whole lot of them certainly do!
To those living outside of Ohio, let me say this: If you want to raise a family, get a good-paying job, and have an amazing quality of life -- come to Ohio. If you want to start or grow a business in a state with low taxes and reasonable and rational regulations -- come to Ohio! If you want to live within driving distance of amazing art, theater, and major league sports teams -- come to Ohio! If you want to live in a state with 75 -- soon to be 76 -- of the most beautiful state parks in the nation -- come to Ohio! If you want to get a topnotch education –- then enroll in one of Ohio’s 14 world-class public universities, or one of our 74 private colleges and universities, or one of our 23 community colleges.
And -- if you just want a chance for a better life and a brighter future -- come to Ohio!
Ohio has always been a welcoming place, especially to people who seek freedom from oppression.
If you are a legal immigrant who has recently come to this country looking to build a better life, to earn a living, to create a home for your family, and to contribute to your community, I invite you to come to Ohio, because you will be welcome here!
We see that spirit in the Ukrainian people who have come to Ohio over the past year, asking for nothing but safety from war and the chance to earn a better life for themselves and their families.
To those new Ohioans, we say welcome home!
This is a special time in our history -- and Ohio is a special place.
What Wilbur Wright said 100 years ago is still true today: “if I were giving a young [person] advice as to how [they] might succeed in life, I would say . . . Pick out a good father and mother and begin life in Ohio!”
We need to start telling the world what we have always known -- that Ohio is the state of opportunity!
Our economy is surging! Our state budget is on firm footing. Our bond rating is the highest it has been since 1979. And, manufacturing is flourishing!
Ohio has always been a manufacturing state. But now -- now we are bringing the highest tech manufacturing known to man into the state of Ohio, and the world is taking notice! Ohio is a state on the move!
We are seeing many of our villages and county seats revitalizing their main streets and town squares.
We are seeing our major cities planning to reconnect their downtowns and neighborhoods to the magnificent rivers that flow through them and to the shores of the lakes beside them.
These grassroots efforts are spreading across Ohio -- from Appalachia to our urban centers -- and changing the face of Ohio!
In the coming days, we will have many significant opportunities to showcase Ohio and to tell the world that Ohio really is the “heart of it all!”
Let me give you three examples.
- This summer, the world heritage committee is expected to name Ohio’s 2,000-year-old Hopewell ceremonial earthworks -- located in ross, warren, and licking counties -- as a world heritage site. This is a big deal!
This special designation will draw people from all over the globe to our great state and will recognize that Ohio’s people -- even in ancient times -- played a pivotal role in transforming what is now Ohio into a sophisticated and prominent trading center.
2. We have formed a commission to commemorate the 250th anniversary of our country, which is co-chaired by Doug Preisse and former Columbus Mayor Mike Coleman. This committee has already started preparing for events that will occur throughout the next three years.
And again, this will be our chance to tell the world the story of our people and our legacy of innovators and inventors. Educators and entrepreneurs. And dreamers and doers.
- Another tremendous opportunity to tell our Ohio story is our wonderful state fair! We are remaking the fair so it will be an even better showcase for Ohio and really a chance to celebrate Ohio’s deep agricultural roots, but also to tell the world about everything that is unique and so very special about Ohio.
My fellow Ohioans -- I am an optimist! And I have never been more optimistic about our days ahead than I am right now.
This is Ohio’s moment -- and we are seizing it!
I have often heard our dear friend, Father Tom Hagan who gave the invocation today, say that “a dream by itself is pure nonsense and that a mission by itself is pure drudgery. But, a dream and a mission together is the hope for the world.”
My fellow Ohioans -- we share a dream and we share a mission, and I know that together, we will tear down barriers and create opportunities so that every Ohioan -- no matter where they are from or who their parents are -- can live their version of the American dream.
That is our hope for Ohio -- and that is our hope for the future.
Thank you -- and may God bless Ohio!