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Politics

WATCH: Gov. Mike DeWine delivers first 'State of the State' address in two years

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine stands at a microphone wearing a blue suit and tie with a white shirt during his Ohio State of the State address at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus on Tuesday, March 5, 2019.
Paul Vernon
/
AP
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine speaks during the Ohio State of the State address at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Tuesday, March 5, 2019.

After a two year absence, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine will give a "State of the State" address from the Ohio Statehouse at noon Wednesday, March 23.

The speech — traditionally given by Ohio’s governor every year — will be DeWine's second, despite him being in office since 2019. It was canceled the past two years due to the coronavirus pandemic.

His last address took place in March of 2019, where he talked about raising the state’s gas tax and several spending proposals to make improvements on Ohio's road system, environment, state parks, and mental health and addiction programs.

A spokesperson declined to share details of what the governor would address in this year's speech. However, DeWine is up for re-election in November and faces a handful of primary challengers who are unhappy with his response to COVID-19. DeWine emerged as an early leader in the fight against the virus, adopting now-controversial measures like masking and closing schools in order to stop its spread.

WVXU's Senior Political Analyst Howard Wilkinson says you can expect DeWine to focus on issues where his administration has made measurable progress and avoid issues that could upset the apple cart in his bid to win the primary and general election.

"Delivering a State of the State message is always challenging for a governor facing a re-election campaign," Wilkinson said. "It will be even more so for DeWine because, unlike most first-term governors, he has a serious challenge within the Republican primary."

That could mean he will tread lightly and is unlikely to speak much about his refusal to lower the gasoline tax in the face of high gas prices, or go into great detail on some of his more controversial responses to the pandemic.

Instead, Wilkinson said, he will talk about successes in "wraparound" services for Ohio's K-12 students, clean water projects and strides his administration has made in battling the opioid crisis.

DeWine's address begins at noon. Watch his remarks live.