DeWine Talks Afghanistan, COVID-19 And Manufacturing During Cincinnati Visit
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine toured a manufacturing partnership center in Cincinnati's Bond Hill neighborhood Thursday and met with area manufacturing company leaders to talk about industry needs. The event was overshadowed by other news of the day, including the deadly bombings in Afghanistan and soaring COVID-19 numbers in Ohio.
DeWine addressed the events unfolding in Afghanistan, calling them gut-wrenching. He expressed sympathies to the families of those affected but demurred when asked if he thought the U.S. had "botched" its departure.
"I'm watching it from afar just as everyone else is," he said. "It's certainly not the way we wanted to see it. It's not worked at all. I'll refrain from characterizing it. My message mostly is to the families, but yes, it's been a very disturbing and sad thing to watch."
DeWine said he thanks all service men and women who have served in Afghanistan - both those who didn't make it home and those who did.
"What you did made a difference," he said.
The state continues to see COVID-related hospitalizations increase. Some hospitals report they're canceling elective surgeries and nearing ICU capacities.
DeWine remains firm that the only way out of the pandemic is vaccination. He notes the soaring numbers come as students are returning to schools - but don't expect him to mandate masks in schools any time soon.
"I made the decision not to do that. As you know, the law provides that if the state legislature does not like a health order, they can repeal it - get rid of it - instantly," he said, adding "If I were to mandate that, we also have the challenge that we have a number of schools that in all likelihood are just simply going to ignore it."
The Ohio Department of Health earlier this week reported 60% of Ohioans 12 and older have started the vaccination process
DeWine and Lt. Gov Jon Husted toured TechSolve in Bond Hill and talked about industry. DeWine says he heard a common theme.
"They face the challenge that other companies face. Everybody from McDonald's to manufacturers and everything in between, they're all looking for workers."
DeWine says growing the manufacturing workforce starts as young as early childhood education, especially getting into schools to show students what current-day manufacturing looks like.
Manufacturing and HR leaders during the roundtable said they also face complications related to childcare and transportation.
Earlier in the day, DeWine visited Montgomery County for an update from the Regional Agencies Narcotics & Gun Enforcement Task Force.