On Wednesday, legislators and other public officials from around the state gathered in Marietta to hear Governor Kasich’s annual State of the State Address, his sixth address as our governor. I know it meant a great deal to the residents and community leaders in Marietta to have such a historic and traditional event held in their region.
The State of the State gives the governor the opportunity to address the legislature—and all Ohioans, for that matter—to share his priorities and to highlight the progress Ohio has made. As you might recall, Wilmington was privileged to host the speech last year, and it was a tremendous source of pride for everyone involved. I saw just how much work goes into preparing for the event, and I tip my hat to the people of Marietta as well for their hospitality. Among the individuals most active in bringing this all together was Rep. Andy Thompson, a resident of Marietta and a great champion and advocate for the southeast region of the state.
As has been done in previous years, the day of the speech included several tours of area businesses, museums and cultural landmarks that make the community unique. Being the first settlement of the Northwest Territory, Marietta is truly one of the most historic places in Ohio, and that culture and heritage really shined through during the various events that took place throughout the day. No matter where the speech is held—whether in Columbus or anywhere else around the state—the governor’s annual speech is a great opportunity to celebrate Ohio’s history and lay out a vision for its future.
In the speech, the governor highlighted some of the areas in which Ohio has seen great progress in recent years, such as a strengthening economic environment that has helped create more than 417,000 private-sector jobs since 2011. We are also taking steps to reduce the cost of earning a college degree by working with institutions of higher learning to bring costs down.
He also identified areas where more work is needed. With policies such as expanding access to the life-saving drug naloxone, Ohio is taking an active role in helping people treat drug addiction and return to being a productive and healthy member of society. However, this problem will require continued diligent work if we are to overcome it. Addiction has destroyed so many lives and families in recent years and has proven to be a problem in all areas of the state. So I am glad Governor Kasich spent a good portion of his speech addressing this problem.
Overall, I believe Ohio is headed in the right direction, and I credit Governor Kasich and members of the legislature for their work and leadership in supporting policies that have made that possible. But most importantly, as the State of the State always reminds me, the thing that really makes Ohio special is its people. There are people all over this great state that work hard to provide for their families, create jobs and care for the vulnerable. I have always known that to be the case in the 91st House District, and this week I also saw it first-hand in the city of Marietta.
Cliff Rosenberger is the Ohio House Speaker.