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DeWine, Whaley answer questions before election

OHIO GOV. Mike DeWine and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley agreed to answer a series of questions from the Sandusky Register and Ogden Newspapers ahead of the Nov. 8 general election. The Republican DeWine is seeking re-election with a challenge from Whaley, a Democrat.

Both candidates answered 10 questions prepared by a panel of journalists that focused on information readers expressed interest in asking about. The Q&A with the gubernatorial candidates is being presented in two parts, with five questions answered in the Sunday newspaper and answers to five more published today.

Part 2 of the

Q&A follows:

∫ Gerrymandering

Question: In 2015 and in 2018, Ohioans voted overwhelmingly for two amendments to the state’s constitution designed to create a bipartisan public process for drawing state legislative districts and congressional maps to end gerrymandering and assure fair elections. The process mandated by voters failed, and according to the Ohio Supreme Court, the law was not followed. As governor, what will you do to see that these mandates from voters are properly observed in the upcoming redistricting process and can you assure voters that fair districts and fair elections will be achieved?

DeWine: The 2015 ballot summary for the legislative redistricting amendment stated that redistricting reform would establish “a bipartisan process with the goal of having district boundaries that are more compact and politically competitive.” Both political parties would agree that the process did not do what it set out to accomplish.

It remains my goal to enact maps that are both “compact and politically competitive.” However, the Ohio Supreme Court decisions made attaining these goals nearly impossible.

Experts have told us that the rules in the amendment are some of the most complicated in the country. Still, the Commission made significant efforts to comply with both the Constitution and the Court decisions. I voted for numerous maps that I felt complied with the Constitution and voted against amendments I felt were partisan gerrymandering that ignored compactness and political competitiveness, which were stated goals in the ballot summary.

Whaley: Voters should pick their politicians, not the other way around. I stand with the vast majority of Ohioans who voted to end partisan gerrymandering in our state and guarantee a fair and transparent redistricting process. When he was running for governor in 2018, DeWine said he’d support a bipartisan, fair process. Once again, he lied. He sided with the extremists and pushed through unfair, rigged Legislative and Congressional maps that a bipartisan majority on the Ohio Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled are unconstitutional. He should be ashamed of himself. When I’m governor, I promise to follow the will of Ohio voters and actually support fair, constitutional districts. This is a critical issue for our state to protect our democracy and ensure that we are governed by folks focused on common-sense solutions, not extreme partisan politics.

Protecting democracy

Question: One of the hallmarks of our society in recent times has been bitter partisanship and a lack of understanding of the “other side.” What can each of you do, in this campaign, and as leaders in the state, to bring respectful discourse back into politics and help people see themselves again as neighbors and not enemies?

Whaley: When you’re a mayor, you don’t have the luxury of playing partisan politics or saying, “that’s not my problem.” There is no Democratic or Republican way to fill a pothole or plow the snow — you just have to get things done for your community. This was my approach as Mayor of Dayton: I brought together labor unions and the Chamber of Commerce to pass high-quality, universal preschool for every four-year-old in Dayton. I brought together police and community activists to develop new policies to make our communities safer. I worked with anyone willing to improve our community, and as governor I’ll take that same approach. Thanks to gerrymandering and extremist politics, our state government has become toxic. When I’m governor, I’ll work across party lines — as I always have — to achieve real results and find common ground to deliver for Ohio.

DeWine: As Governor, I work each day to serve all Ohioans. Reasonable people can disagree with one another. That is healthy in a democracy and in governance. But in disagreeing with each other, we still must respect each other.

When I was in the U.S. Senate, I worked across the political aisle with several Democrats to gain bipartisan support on several pieces of legislation. As Governor I have consistently worked with both Republicans and Democrats in the Ohio General Assembly on issues ranging from protecting nursing home residents and deregulating minority businesses to tax credits, criminal justice reforms and child protection policies.

I often reflect back on something that former Ohio Governor George Voinovich told me: “The best politics for us is to do a good job in office.” That means seeking compromise rather than inviting conflict. It means tapping into others’ expertise, reaching across the aisle, and listening to others’ opinions, which is exactly what I have tried to do throughout my time as Governor and throughout my career.

Education

Question: What in your view are the reforms needed in our public education system that will assist in enabling all Ohio students to achieve a successful post-graduation life?

Whaley: The greatest investment we can make is in our children. That’s why, as Mayor of Dayton, I led the fight to pass high-quality, universal preschool for all 4-year-olds in our city. The program has been so successful that we’ve expanded it to include all 3-year-olds and several neighboring suburbs.

As governor, I will keep this same focus on education from start to finish. I will strengthen our K-12 schools and maintain hard-fought funding reforms, including fully funding the Fair School Funding Plan, so that every child and school finally have the resources they are owed. I will support innovative strategies to better retain educators, including protecting pensions, and stop any attempts to further privatize our schools. And I will work with educators and experts to actually make our schools safe and roll back dangerous laws that put more guns in schools with

minimal training.

DeWine: When I entered office, just 40 percent of childcare providers receiving public funding were quality-rated; Within 18 months of taking office, all publicly-funded childcare providers were star-rated, helping ensure that Ohio’s youngest learners have access to quality learning opportunities.

We also expanded eligibility for publicly-funded childcare and expanded eligibility of the EdChoice Scholarship to historic levels, giving more Ohio families the flexibility to choose the best education for their kids. Further, I signed Senate Bill 89, which expands school choice access to more families and reduces mandates and regulations.

To improve Kindergarten readiness, the First Lady launched the Dolly Parton Imagination Library of Ohio, so every child in Ohio from birth to 5 years old can receive a free book each month. When the program started, only 13% of eligible Ohio kids were enrolled. Today, 49% of Ohio children are enrolled and over 8.9 million books have been mailed to them.

Growing Ohio

Question: Ohio and much of the Midwest has experienced some degree of population loss or stagnation. What future do you envision for the state’s economy to permanently reverse this trend and how will you achieve that?

Whaley: For too long, our state government has been looking out for donors and special interests — not Ohio families. They’ve bailed out failing companies using outdated technology while turning away the jobs of the future. They’ve passed discriminatory and dangerous laws that make our state unappealing to new residents and businesses. They’ve enacted abortion bans that risk women’s lives.

The only way we fix this is with fresh leadership. As governor, I’ll fight for your pay to go up, your bills to go down, and for your state government to finally work for you. That means raising wages for all Ohioans by investing in the jobs of the future, making childcare affordable, investing in education, and keeping abortions safe and legal. That’s how we make Ohio a place where every family can thrive and where people come for opportunity.

DeWine: We are working to ensure Ohioans need look no further than their home state for a good paying job — creating jobs is the best way we can retain talent and attract people from other states to move to our great state.

We have cut taxes for Ohio’s families and employers, invested in career education and training, and brought historic investments to the state creating thousands of good-paying jobs across the state.

We’re investing in people and places so that everyone, wherever they live in Ohio, can participate in the modern economy. We are making significant investments to create vibrant Ohio communities, whether that be through water and sewer funding and H20hio, closing the digital divide through Broadband Ohio, or investing in grants to help revitalize Appalachia.

Preparing for the future

Question: We have many universities in our coverage areas. How do you see the state’s role in assisting Ohio’s universities and what does both traditional higher education and vocational education need to do to prepare students for an ever-changing world?

Whaley: Ohio has some of the best colleges and universities in the country. But our state government hasn’t prioritized supporting them. Funding has failed to keep up, forcing schools to raise prices and driving students into debt. As the first person from my family to graduate from college, this issue is personal for me. I will support increases to the State Share of Instruction and Ohio College Opportunity Grants, as well as real investments in services to help at-risk and first generation students actually complete their degrees.

But we also have to support kids who choose not to go to college. My One Good Job Pledge will invest in apprenticeship readiness programs to make sure young people interested in learning a trade have the skills and support they need to start a career and help rebuild our state.

DeWine: Making higher education more accessible and affordable for all Ohio students is key to developing a competitive workforce. When I took office, I challenged all Ohio’s public universities to implement tuition guarantees, which they did. That means when you walk into an Ohio public university, the tuition you pay as a freshman will remain the same each year.

We have increased the Ohio College Opportunity Grant by $47 million, which provides financial assistance to Ohio residents who demonstrate the highest levels of financial need. We are also offering Ohio high school students the opportunity to earn college credits for free through Ohio’s College Credit Plus.

Beyond college, we are investing substantially in career, technical education to help tens of thousands more Ohioans get an education that leads to quality, higher-paying jobs, without the expense and debt of college. We have funded more than 52,000 tech-focused credentials through the TechCred and IMAP programs, through which Ohioans can earn free, short-term credentials to unlock new career possibilities and good-paying job opportunities.

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