Jun 2, 2020

Mike DeWine Ohio Press Conference Transcript June 2

Mike DeWine June 2
RevBlogTranscriptsCOVID-19 Briefing & Press Conference TranscriptsMike DeWine Ohio Press Conference Transcript June 2

Governor Mike DeWine held a COVID-19 press conference on June 2. DeWine said he “fully intends” to reopen schools this year and said Ohio will work to improve racial health amid the George Floyd protests.


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Mike DeWine: (00:00)
Today I’m wearing a tie [crosstalk 00:00:02]-

Speaker 2: (00:00)
All right. The governor is there, let’s go to him now.

Mike DeWine: (00:03)
… Denison University, Granville, Ohio, home of the Big Red, our a nephew, Caleb is a student there. And Dr. Acton’s son, Sam, is also a Denison grad. We’ve been working with school officials, Department of Education in regard to the opening of schools, maybe just a couple highlights as we continue to work on the health guidelines for schools. But just to reiterate a couple of things, one, we fully intend to have school in the fall. We have goals to have kids back in the classroom. Two, the date for starting school is solely within the power of the local school board. So that is not something that we have any intention of impacting and barring something that we don’t know is coming.

Mike DeWine: (01:07)
So we have no intention, I made that very clear to superintendents and school board members. The decision about when school starts is solely within the local school boards’ jurisdiction, and that community’s jurisdiction. Number three, our goal is to provide broad guidelines in regard to health, and that is what we are working on. It is work in progress. But what our goal is, is to give schools a broad outline of what the health guidelines should be, fully recognizing that over 600 school districts are very different and have very different needs, very different situations.

Mike DeWine: (01:53)
Today I’m announcing that healthcare providers may resume all surgeries and procedures that had previously been delayed. We want to make sure that they maintain adequate inventories of PPE, supplies, equipment, and medicine, create a plan for conservation and monitoring use of PPE and other supplies and equipment, maintain a reliable supply chain to support their non-COVID-19 cases, and to respond to an unexpected surge in COVID-19 cases if needed, and define process for timely COVID-19 testing of patients and staff. We also encourage them to continue to use telehealth whenever possible. So I hope that is good news for our health professionals.

Mike DeWine: (02:50)
As you know, I’ve been asked by mayors across the State of Ohio for assistance from the Ohio State Highway Patrol to help local police forces as they seek to keep protesters and communities safe for everyone who wishes to exercise their First Amendment rights. Women and men of the Ohio State Highway Patrol have worked these past several weeks hand in hand with police jurisdictions. One of the patrol’s mottoes is service and respect. And in this time of unrest, the troopers have demonstrated certainly both of those. After I became governor, it was my honor to appoint Richard Fambro to head the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Mike DeWine: (03:37)
Colonel Fambro is at the Ohio State House right now, which is where many of the protests have occurred. And Colonel, let me see if you’re on. There you are, Colonel, how are you doing?

Richard Fambro: (03:50)
Good afternoon, Governor. I’m doing well, sir. Thank you.

Mike DeWine: (03:53)
Well, give us a little report on what the patrol has done in the last few days to assist local jurisdictions.

Richard Fambro: (04:02)
We have a lot of partners around the state, Governor, and we’re honored that they would put their trust in the Ohio State Highway Patrol to provide resources for them, to provide a safe environment for people to, as you stated, express their First Amendment rights. It’s an opportunity for us to diversify some of the things that we do, but we work with these local communities on a regular basis. The protests are indeed something different, but something that we pride ourselves in. As you said, we have a motto here in the Highway Patrol that we provide service with respect, and that’s what we expect from our troopers as they interact with the people from these local communities.

Mike DeWine: (04:51)
That’s great. We really appreciate the work of the patrol. I know I’ve heard back from a number of mayors that I’ve talked to who appreciate it. You might, if you could, just for a moment describe some of the work that you have been doing. I know you’ve been involved in several jurisdictions, particularly when there was blockage of the highways. And I know you were involved, your troopers were involved in helping in that regard as well as certainly helping at this in being directly involved at the Ohio State House.

Richard Fambro: (05:27)
Yes sir. Obviously commerce is important during times like these, that people get to and from their destinations. We have been asked by some of the localities such as Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dayton, different municipalities around the state to assist by adding that traffic element to ensure that people get to and from their destinations to preserve taken up positions on interstates as well as US and state routes and in some cases, city streets so that our law enforcement partners can focus their attention on providing that safe environment for people to express their rights.

Mike DeWine: (06:08)
Well, please express to all the troopers our real appreciation, Colonel, for the work that they do and that you’re doing. We appreciate it very much.

Richard Fambro: (06:18)
Thank you, Governor. We appreciate that, sir.

Mike DeWine: (06:21)
Thank you. At the request of the mayors of Columbus and Cleveland, as you know, last weekend, we called on the Ohio National Guard to assist police forces in those two cities. I want to reiterate what I said this weekend and last week. Protesters who are expressing outrage, that protesting, demonstrating is certainly not only understandable, but it is very appropriate. One of the sad things that we have seen is that some violent individuals have masked or because of their violence, have drowned out some of the voices of reason and some of the voices of those who are talking about things that we all should be talking about.

Mike DeWine: (07:19)
So that has been, I know a challenge. I talked again to the mayors of the major cities today at 11:30, and the mayors, I think I can speak for them. I don’t usually speak for mayors, but what they told me is that the vast majority of demonstrators have been peaceful. The vast majority of demonstrators want to talk, want to protest, want to get people’s attention about very legitimate issues. The mayors pointed out to me that a certain small percentage of the people who are out there are the ones who are focused on violence, vandalism. And that is a sad thing. Our Ohio National Guard, we’re very proud of the Ohio National Guard.

Mike DeWine: (08:13)
For more than 230 years, our Ohio National Guard has been made up of our citizens whose mission is to protect their fellow citizens. The members of the Guard are our friends. They’re our neighbors. They are people that we run into. They’re there for us in times of natural disaster when they’re called upon to help, in times of war, in times when local protection and additional law enforcement help is needed both here in Ohio and across the country and sometimes across the world. So I was very honored after I became governor to ask John Harris to be the head of the Ohio National Guard. Major General John Harris serves as the Ohio adjutant general and commander of the Ohio National Guard.

Mike DeWine: (09:06)
He joins us today also, I believe from… well, he’s outside Downtown Columbus. And General Harris, thank you for joining us. And I just want to start by getting a report from you, but maybe start by asking this question. I know we were asked by the secretary of defense to send some members of the Ohio National Guard to Washington, D.C. to help protect our nation’s Capitol. I wonder if you could give us an update on that and then give us an update on your men and women who are deployed across the state.

John Harris : (09:43)
Yes sir. Good afternoon, Governor. Regarding the mission in Washington, D.C., we did this morning send 100 of our trained soldiers to Washington, D.C. to support that mission that was requested by the secretary of defense. Since Washington, D. C. does not have a governor, the secretary of defense fills that role and he’s the one that requested the National Guard to come there to support that. Those folks will be providing security at the White House, at critical monuments, as well as protecting businesses to help the secretary of defense.

Mike DeWine: (10:17)
Well, that is great, General. You want to talk a little bit about what your mission has been after the Guard was called up last week, your mission in Cleveland and your mission in Columbus?

John Harris : (10:31)
Yes, sir. We called up our force on Saturday, as you directed, we deployed what’s called our National Guard Response Force to two cities at the request of the governors, that was Columbus and Cleveland. And I want to point out that that was at the request of those mayors of those cities. We are not in charge in these cities. The National Guard has not come in to take over. We are here to support the mayors and the chiefs of those two cities. They remain the lead agencies. I’d like to talk just a bit about our National Guard Response Force. That force is specifically trained for this type of mission. It’s comprised of men and women from our military police units around the state.

John Harris : (11:12)
Some of them serve in law enforcement jobs in their civilian capacity. And their job is to assist local law enforcement to protect life, protect property and to restore order if that’s what’s necessary. But I’d like to point out, Governor, that this National Guard Response Force is comprised of citizen soldiers. These people have day jobs, Citizen Airmen. The people behind me are part of that National Guard Response Force. Now, it’s very intentional to ask them not to wear their equipment today, not to wear their gear, because I want you to see their faces and know that these are your neighbors. These are your coworkers. These are people that you know.

John Harris : (11:51)
In fact, there’s a member of this task force behind me who has been on duty for three months because we called her to duty to assist in the prisons. And when that mission there was done, she went into a two week quarantine. And at the end of that two week quarantine, when it was time to go home, because of her specialized skills, we called her again on Saturday and she was here Saturday night. That young Airman has a two year old and a one year old child at home. And she did not hesitate to answer the call of duty when she was called. That’s the kind of person that comprises our National Guard Response Force. There’s a young soldier here. He works security, he works loss protection, loss prevention at a local mall here, just finished his associate’s degree. He volunteers on the advisory board at his local high school, and we pulled him away from those duties to come here to do this, to protect the citizens of the State of Ohio. Those are the kinds of young men and women that comprise our National Guard Response Force. What will they be doing here? First of all, their challenge is to responsibly conduct their mission sets. As I said, they’re protecting critical assets. They’re doing crowd control, they’re doing traffic control points. But what’s most important again, is that they’re in support of local law enforcement doing that.

John Harris : (13:13)
A key principle of the execution of their duties is what we call graduated response. We do nothing except use minimal force necessary to complete the mission. We use minimum force necessary to complete the mission. We have a wide array of equipment, a wide assortment of non-lethal systems that allow us to do that. But most importantly, we conduct our mission with dignity and respect, regardless of who the people are. If we have to protect a protester or if their life is in jeopardy, we will do that. If we have to protect a rioter whose life is in jeopardy, it’s our responsibility to do that. And we will treat every person that we come across in this mission with dignity and respect.

John Harris : (13:55)
And as we move forward, we continue to build capacity. We’re a very large National Guard and we continue to train, refresh, and equip additional forces as we go forward to ensure that we’re prepared to respond if you get a call, sir, from another mayor somewhere in the State of Ohio.

Mike DeWine: (14:13)
Well, General, thank you very much. The men and women of the Guard are so very, very impressive. Please thank both of them, but also thank all of your men and women in the Guard. We are very, very proud of them. We’re proud of you. We’re proud of what they all do every single day. And before I let you go, you also, I believe have some members of the Guard who are out today, who are working at nursing homes and taking tests, swabs. And you want to tell us a bit about that?

John Harris : (14:53)
Yes, sir. You gave us a directive as a cabinet and your senior team to make sure we protect the most vulnerable people of Ohio. And this is a major step towards doing that. We know that the people in the nursing homes are not only older, but they’re also, many of them have underlying medical conditions. So we will go into the nursing homes all over the state, there are over 960 of them around Ohio. And our mission will be to test the staff, because that’s the vector that usually takes the disease in and out of the nursing homes. So we will test all the staff that we can, and we will base on a clinical assessment given to us by the Department of Health.

John Harris : (15:31)
We will test select residents of those nursing homes to get a sense of what the disease is in the nursing home. And then an after care team will come in and make recommendations on how best to manage the disease inside the nursing home, or how to keep it out if it’s not there.

Mike DeWine: (15:46)
Great. [crosstalk 00:15:47]-

John Harris : (15:49)
So that’s one mission, amounts to many that we’re doing. We have over 2,000 Guards on duty today. We still have people, assistant corrections officers. We still have over 500 soldiers in the food banks and this new mission, testing in the nursing home simply demonstrates the vast array of capabilities that we have in the Ohio National Guard

Mike DeWine: (16:08)
General, thank you very, very much. I think that demonstrates some of the diversity that you have as far as skill sets that you have in the Ohio National Guard. And we’re very, very proud of you and proud of the men and women. And let me just say finally, both in regard to the Ohio State Highway Patrol and to the National Guard, their mission out there is to assist. Their mission is to assist local law enforcement. Their mission is to assist the local mayors, local chiefs of police. And they take that responsibility very, very seriously. But our mayors are doing a good job. They are managing sometimes very tense situations.

Mike DeWine: (16:50)
Our chiefs of police are doing a good job. And so we are here to help them and we’ll continue to help them whenever they need any kind of help, but they’re doing a very, very, very good job. I want to now talk for a few minutes if I could about the issue of disparity across Ohio. And this is something that I have talked about before. But I think it is an appropriate topic for today. In my inaugural address as the governor of the State of Ohio, I laid out the values that would guide our administration, the values and principles that are part of really who I am and who this administration is and what we think is really important for Ohio.

Mike DeWine: (17:47)
At that inaugural speech, I said in part, “Everyone, no matter where they were born or who their parents are, deserves the chance to succeed, to get a good paying job, to raise a family comfortably and to be secure in their future,” end of quote. And I certainly meant that. Within five minutes of taking my oath of office as governor, I signed an executive or implementing policies against discrimination in state government. Our government exists to protect people so they can live their lives and achieve their dreams with the fundamental purpose as laid out in our Ohio constitution to establish justice, promote the welfare and secure the blessings of liberty for all.

Mike DeWine: (18:36)
The essential function of government is to protect the most vulnerable among us. That is the most important job. Those, to paraphrase the late United States Senator, Hubert Humphrey, who are in the dawn of life, in the twilight of life, in the shadows of life. Yet despite many great efforts over the years by many people, we still have too many Ohioans who are living in the shadows of opportunity. Too many Ohioans are still living at the margins. Sill there is racism in Ohio and across our country. There’s inequity in Ohio and across this great land, and still there’re both economic and health disparities in Ohio and in this country.

Mike DeWine: (19:36)
Well, things that I think about every day is that I am the governor for all the people of the State of Ohio. It’s my job to serve all the people of the State of Ohio. It is our job to defend the defenseless. And it’s my job, I believe to bring people together, to seek out many opinions, many ideas, and to find solutions to the problems that are holding this state and too many of our citizens back. I seek dialogue with every Ohioan to solve these problems. I’m seeking strategies for the implementation of the changes that we need. And I’m looking for real answers to the real problems of the structural impediments to equality in the State of Ohio. Whether it is in the urban core of our cities or the hills of Appalachia, we have Ohioans, frankly, in every county who are not living up to their God given potential because they simply do not have the same opportunity as other Ohioans do. And that is wrong. And we have a moral obligation, a moral obligation to strive every day to do something about it. Benjamin Franklin once said that, and I quote, “Justice will not be served until those who-”

Mike DeWine: (21:03)
Franklin once said that, and I quote, “Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.” We should all be outraged that in the year 2020, in Ohio and in this country, there’s still inequality of opportunity and there is still racism. The coronavirus, this global pandemic has laid bare our vulnerabilities, our fears, our outrage, our uncertainty, our disparities and our injustices. We must come together to try to solve these historic, historic injustices. I intend to bring people together to create hope and opportunity for all Ohioans. This is about race, but it’s about other things as well. It’s about ethnic disparities. It’s about poverty. It’s about educational inequality. It’s about the underserved. It’s about the marginalized, whether that is people of color or the elderly or a young person, inequality that we see, or whether it’s about someone who is a person with disabilities. Race is certainly a factor in all kinds of health, education and economic disparities. The divisions of race have plagued this country since its inception.

Mike DeWine: (22:46)
While there are no simple solutions, all of us I think, have an obligation to be a positive voice in advancing change for all those who are marginalized. We have an obligation to create equality in health, education, and economic opportunity for all our citizens. The legislature and I have in a bipartisan way over the last 16, 17 months made a start. We’ve laid a foundation, is it enough? Certainly not. We must go further. That is our challenge. I will be reaching out to members of the General Assembly in the coming days to work on these issues. We must continue and some of this we’ve started, but despite our challenges with the budget, we must continue to work together on the problem of lead paint that is poisoning, still poisoning in 2020, some of our children. We must continue to work to reduce infant mortality and maternal mortality and we must do everything we can to change those outcomes among the African American community and those of color where many times those death rates are three times that of their white brothers and sisters.

Mike DeWine: (24:39)
We’re going to continue to focus on home visiting programs for at risk, first time mothers. We’re going to continue to fight the drug epidemic in Ohio. We must continue to prioritize the availability of mental health services for everyone who needs them and wellness efforts for all our children in Ohio. We must continue to make sure that our law enforcement officers have the proper training on implicit bias, on deescalation techniques, on recognizing their brothers and sisters who have a mental health challenge. We must work to create best practices for police departments and we must see that that gets adopted by all police departments in the State of Ohio.

Mike DeWine: (25:32)
Later this week, I hope to be talking to the members of the General Assembly about the specifics of some of this. I hope to be able to talk to you on Thursday about the specifics of some of these proposals, in regard to law enforcement. We must improve law enforcements’ access to quality training. It’s an ongoing process. We made progress eight years that I was Attorney General, Governor Kasich and the State Legislature. We worked together to improve those things, we must continue that. We must enhance transparency in regard to the police, transparency between the public and our police and our police departments. We must work to recruit more minorities, people of color to serve as law enforcement officers. We must have more oversight and accountability in regard to our police departments.

Mike DeWine: (26:45)
As I said the other day, the vast majority, vast majority, of our law enforcement men and women do a phenomenal job. We have to support them. We have to give them the training. We have to give them the help that they need. We will also have proposals though, about how we more accurately target those individuals who have demonstrated that they should not be police officers. A specific problem that I hope to be able to address is the problem we have seen and again, it’s a rogue person who is a police officer who demonstrates in one department that they should not be a police officer, they’re fired, they leave, and then they show up and we see them again in other police department. It’s a problem that we have to address.

Mike DeWine: (27:40)
I want to talk now for a moment about the work that our Minority Health Strikeforce is doing and will continue to do. We’re going to continue COVID-19 testing for vulnerable populations. The National Guard will play a role in that. And so this is something that you will be seeing within the next month, as we target underserved populations. Again, whether they be in our small counties, whether it be in Appalachia, whether it be in our cities, but targeting populations that do not have the best access to testing.

Mike DeWine: (28:20)
Testing is a work in progress. We’re going to continue to move in this area. It is not moved as fast as I want it, but it’s moving and it’s going to continue to move at a faster and faster rate. As it moves at a faster and faster rate, we have an obligation, a moral obligation, to make sure that no matter what your color or where you live in the State of Ohio, that there is equal access to that. Our Minority Health Strikeforce intends to announce additional recommendations later in June, aimed at alleviating longterm racial disparities in health and will continue to do that. I believe that all Ohioans really want the same things. Our goal should always be to recognize that each of us has intrinsic dignity. Each of us has intrinsic worth, not for what we do, but simply for who we are. We must value each other as equals and treat each other as equals, because the basic truth is that everyone does better when everyone, everyone has real opportunity. Over the last several days, I’ve been reminded of former Congressman William McCullough’s words upon passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. William McCullough was from the Western part of the State of Ohio, a person who probably did not have a lot of African Americans in his district, a graduate of the College of Wooster, ranking member of the US House Judiciary Committee, played a absolutely prominent role in making sure the Civil Rights Legislation of the ’60s, the mid-60s actually became law.

Mike DeWine: (30:08)
Congressman McCullough, who felt that that legislation was so very, very important also though, talked about how life is not changed by laws alone, but by how people live with those laws. Here’s what he said, “How do you tear hatred and suspicion out of the heart of a man? No statutory law and completely end discrimination. Intelligent work and vigilance by members of all races will be required for many years before discrimination completely disappears.” That was in the ’60s. We are now 55 years, pushing 60 years later. We have work to do, and we must continue that work.

Mike DeWine: (30:55)
It is dangerous when we let words become weapons. So I think the most important thing that we can do is to let our actions speak louder than our words. Words are important, words of the protestors very significant, need to be heard, but those are those of us in government, those of us who had the ability to change things directly, we have to take this opportunity to do that. This is truly our moment to do the hard work, the intelligent work and vigilance that is required to ensure that all Ohioans have the same opportunities.

Mike DeWine: (31:40)
All Ohioans have the opportunity to lead healthy and good lives, that all Ohioans have the opportunity to raise their family in a secure situation. All Ohioans are given the opportunity to be productive and to live meaningful lives. This is a moment. It is really a moment in history and it is our time to act. So I look forward to working with the legislature. I look forward to working with the mayors, county commissioners around the State of Ohio, as we strive to make this a more just society and strive to make sure all Ohioans are moving forward in this great State. Dr. Acton?

Dr. Amy Acton: (32:34)
Thank you Governor. Good afternoon, everyone, it’s good to see you. I think we will start just to top things as always, right now in Ohio, as of today, we have 36,300 and cases of COVID-19 confirmed. We are now at 2,258 deaths, an increase of 52 reported in the last 24 hours. Our numbers and demographics are pretty much staying the same. We’ve done now over 407,000 tests in the State of Ohio. We are still seeing this skew a lot towards death, certainly in our nursing homes and in our congregate settings, certainly healthcare workers, those who are hospitalized and those who have underlying conditions being most vulnerable. And again, as the Governor has said, we do see disparities in our data that are showing that this is affecting our African American citizens and people of color disproportionately to their representation in the population.

Dr. Amy Acton: (33:54)
Next slide. We also know that we remain at a plateau. We continue to watch our indicators, our cases, our hospitalizations, everything is still, Governor, up and down a little bit, but we are remaining flat and talking with some of the scientists and talking to my peers around the country, they’re using new words like endemic versus epidemic. We’re not sure exactly where these numbers are taking us. I know that is hard. I know it is hard for people to hear and remember, there’s a wish that after the few months that we’ve been living with this virus, we would have all the answers and we would know exactly what is next. But the truth is, it’s evolving daily, the science and what we’re learning continues to evolve and the discussion now, sir, is what we do going forward? What are these best indicators and our teams are digging deep, working alongside Dr. Tom Frieden, resolve to save lives, working with colleagues around the world to decide how do we best monitor this, and also, sir, what is the best guidance we can give?

Dr. Amy Acton: (35:04)
I know it’s hard out there, as we try to reopen what we do to understand that we’re learning. We’re trying to give guidance, for instance today, to schools. And we’re working so closely with our partners at the local level, with our superintendents, with our Department of Education, with the best health that we know today, knowing very well that we’re going to learn more with each day that comes. So we will continue to keep you abreast of the science as we know it. We’ll have more and more to share with you. I do want to take a few moments and I thank the Governor for allowing me to say a few extra words.

Dr. Amy Acton: (35:42)
If you go back to the very beginning of when we first met, I told you that this little silent enemy, that we can’t even see, a pandemic of this size, this once in a 100 year pandemic is considered a national security threat. It disrupts life in a way that none of us has seen, and it makes us vulnerable. It lays bare, as the Governor said, everything that is imperfect, every computer system, everything we’ve ever built under the weight of something like this, it’s laid bare. I think there’s not a citizen, not one of my 11.7 million patients in Ohio that is untouched. That doesn’t feel those five stages of feelings that we have from anger to grief, to disbelief, to wishing it to go away and then waking up to realize it’s still here. It makes us have to live with something very hard for all of us, tolerating a lot of uncertainty and ambiguity, and that’s before even the other disruptions that we’re facing now.

Dr. Amy Acton: (37:08)
I have said to you we have help and there are days that you will take that cape, I’ve asked you to don and if you’re like me, you might curl up under that cape for a day and that is okay, because all of us are reeling from this time. And again, we have hope, we have our texts for hope, 741-741. We have our hotline on our website and any one of us, from a business owner to a person working in the hospitals, to the wonderful National Guard on the front line are going to feel vulnerable right now. We have to reach out to each other and we have to get that help.

Dr. Amy Acton: (37:52)
But we are also at times like this, when we want to reach for black and white answers and simple answers, and there aren’t any, we are absolutely being called to action. These are moments that can tear us apart, or they really call us, each and every one of us in our own ways to more. When I had the honor of being asked to serve for this Governor, I knew his deep commitment to the health and wellbeing of Ohioans. We created a vision statement that was about creating the conditions in which all Ohioans can flourish and reach their full potential. We talk deeply about the unfinished business. There’s no one watching this that knows that we don’t have lots of unfinished business. It is unacceptable that your zip code on average can predict how long you will live.

Dr. Amy Acton: (38:58)
There are things we can’t control, but there are things that are in our control. Even in the times when we’re on our knees and reeling, is this pearl of hope that we can do more. It is going to take every ounce of our courage in the times to come to do more. I have taught whole classes on why racism is a public health issue and how actually disparities in power, whether it be bullying, whether it be having a disability, any vulnerable person from living in Appalachia, and not having the same health outcomes, to our elderly who are often left behind, anyone who was left behind, when we do not realize our full potential, all of us are suffering from that. It isn’t a zero sum game. It isn’t that there’s one thing that one person can have and another can’t, we have got to do better.

Dr. Amy Acton: (40:05)
We have a state health improvement plan that puts health equity as the underlying premise of all of it. All our cabinets are joining together to move policies and programs and things forward on behalf of the Governor for Ohio. We can’t do it alone. People are speaking up. You see today in Columbus, an organization of businesses and nonprofits and individuals coming together. There are things called, conscious capitalism where we all realize that no matter what seat we sit in, from civil servant to business leader, that we have got to join together now. But I tell you there’s an opportunity that we won’t. I am begging of you, please use your voice, speak. Most importantly, listen, please listen to one another, but I beg of you not to hurt one another.

Dr. Amy Acton: (41:13)
We cannot see the other person as that, as other. General Harris is my friend. You heard about that these are our neighbors and I beg of people to realize that the few people who do wrong, is not all of us. It is us. It is the neighbors, the person losing their business during this COVID outbreak is us. I’ve said this. When we think of George Floyd, of Brianna Taylor, Ahmad Arbery, I think the thing that will always live with me is the fact that George called out to his mother, and I’m saying-

Dr. Acton: (42:03)
And I am saying to us, there’s everything I’ve seen around this world and every time of pain. In those moments, we are one person. It is so basic.

Dr. Acton: (42:17)
Every day I am getting children writing to me, pictures of children donning their capes, writing letters. Ben and Kelly King, a family. June Grace Corwin of Wayne County.

Dr. Acton: (42:37)
Our children are watching us right now and we are scared. We’re their parents and we’re overwhelmed at times right now but they’re looking to us to help create that world where all Ohioans can flourish.

Dr. Acton: (42:53)
So please, please be safe and be careful with each other and stay with us through this. Thank you.

Mike DeWine: (43:02)
Lieutenant Governor.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted: (43:05)
Thank you very much, governor. Good afternoon. I do want to say, governor, thank you for those inspiring words. It was a message of unity and action and as it says in the book of Matthew, blessed are the peacemakers and that’s what we need at this time. I was inspired by what Colonel Fambro from the OHP had to say, what General Harris had to say, what we’ve seen from all of those in the last month who’ve stepped up and served during very difficult time at great personal risk and sacrifice.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted: (43:45)
Ohioans are tough. Ohioans are compassionate and we’ve got this. We’re going to get through this. We’re going to be strong. We’re going to help each other out and we’re going to be better when we get through it. I will say that in the face of all of the health and social challenges that Doctor Acton and the governor outline, I want to provide also some reassurance that your economic concerns, that the economic concerns of this state are also a top priority that we are working on every single day.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted: (44:20)
The re-openings are nearing completion. More to come very soon. Announcements on those coming this week. We’re having regular conversations with business owners, with associations who represent business, to talk about how we can keep people safe and go forward at creating the jobs and opportunity that we also need to serve the people of this state.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted: (44:49)
Look, we’re in the middle of a global economic slowdown due to COVID, domestic disparities in how the re-openings are occurring across the country, but we’re moving toward a more stable economic environment. You should know that Jobs Ohio continues to work, to sell what Ohio has to offer, and we have a lot to offer. Great workforce, great place for people to be. A lot of projects still in the pipeline helping to stabilize businesses here in the state and helping us grow.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted: (45:26)
Reminder at coronavirus.ohio.gov/ jobsearch, we have 29,000 jobs that are available there from 289 distinct companies that have seen their demand go up for workers during the crisis that we face and they need your help and they create some great opportunities for you.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted: (45:47)
I want to highlight three things that have been announced, we’re approved through the state controlling board yesterday, three targeted economic development strategies that are available for you today.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted: (46:02)
The first one is the PPE Reshoring Grant. As you know, we were caught flatfooted as a nation because we didn’t have enough PPE and nor was that produced in many cases in our country, in our state and we don’t want to find ourselves in that position again. We had many businesses step up to help us during this crisis and so, one of the things that we’re doing to enhance that, to help reassure some of that production, is the announcement of the Ohio PPE Retooling and Reshoring Grant Program, which will help small and medium sized manufacturers retool those existing facilities to make PPE reshore production in Ohio. We’re setting aside $20 million for this program and eligible manufacturers could be awarded grants up to $500,000 per facility.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted: (47:05)
We have set aside 20% of that funding for smaller manufacturers that have fewer than 25 employees. The bottom line is that Ohio, we want to prepare for these future challenges. We also want to help our small businesses be a part of that solution. So, that’s one of the things that we are announcing that has been made available.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted: (47:33)
The next program, the Minority Business Grant Program. Small and minority owned businesses and women owned businesses have been greatly impacted by this crisis and what we are announcing today is a creation of the Ohio Microenterprise Grant Program. This initiative will help small minority owned and women businesses, or minority women owned businesses, help them get through the crisis with up to $10,000 in funding that we hope to fund up to 500 companies through. So this is another effort to target businesses that we know are struggling and to help lift them up to get through this tough time and flourish for the future last.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted: (48:18)
Last and certainly not least is the Appalachian Growth Capital Loan Program. This is $10 million to help small businesses throughout Ohio’s Appalachian region 40. This loan program will help small businesses affected by COVID-19 and 32 County Appalachian Region. These many small businesses in there are really, really important to the health and success of the economy there. These loan programs working through the Governor’s Office of Appalachia will be made up to $500,000 at a very low interest rate of 2% or less and these are just some of the things that are there for small businesses and people that have been impacted by COVID-19.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted: (49:07)
The information and the resulting consequences in the economy. Coronavirus.ohio.gov/businesshelp is where you find it. Coronavirus.ohio.gov/businesshelp and click on the business not for profits support tab to get that information.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted: (49:27)
So what the governor talked about, what Doctor Acton talked about such critical issues, but I don’t want anyone to be left thinking that we don’t daily focus on the economy. The consequences on business. What that means for people’s jobs and how we want you to flourish as we come out of some of these closures and live to learn with coronavirus in our lives and Ohio, we got this. We do. We can get through this. We’ve faced some tough things in the past few months. We are Ohio strong and we will be better and stronger from what we learn and how we come through this together.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted: (50:13)
Thank you, governor.

Mike DeWine: (50:15)
Lieutenant governor, thank you very much. We’re now turning to questions for those of us who are up here, it’s going to be a little different because we will not be able to see the reporters who are asking questions. But for you, of course, you never have been able to see them. So you’re going to hear them and we’re going to hear them and try to try to respond. So whoever has the first question.

Speaker 4: (50:39)
Governor, the first question today is from Adrienne Robbins at WCMH TV in Columbus. Adrian, please ask your question.

Adrienne Robbins: (50:50)
Hi, governor. Thank you so much for doing this today. My question is for you, but also for Doctor Amy Acton. Obviously these mass protests are something that we have been trying to avoid as far as gatherings for the past couple of months. Are you at all concerned about in a couple of weeks, the amount of cases and how these protests could hold us back in our recovery of the pandemic?

Mike DeWine: (51:16)
The answer is yes. I’ll let Doctor Acton do the details.

Dr. Acton: (51:18)
Hi Adrienne. Absolutely. You know, certainly protests have never been, first amendment has never been prohibited and I think what we would just again ask is that everyone do it as safely as they can. I see lots of pictures of folks trying to do it safely.

Dr. Acton: (51:37)
I think once again, it’s asking us in this moment of unity, when you can see that people really want to come together in support of something they believe in, to help each other by again protecting the other people around you.

Dr. Acton: (51:54)
So we’re asking that people do it as safely as they can. I don’t think we’ll know yet. It’ll be weeks before we know what impact this might be having. But do it. Again, speak do so safely. Do so again, with that kindness and thought for one another.

Speaker 4: (52:18)
Our next question is from Lu Ann Stoia at WSYX TV in Columbus.

Lu Ann Stoia: (52:25)
Governor, I like the tie from Dennis and that’s my hometown. Good afternoon. A reaction to President Trump saying that he will deploy military to cities and states that don’t use force. He said he is the president of law and order, and he vowed to return order to American streets using the military if widespread violence isn’t quelled. Could you give us a reaction to that please?

Mike DeWine: (52:55)
Well, you know, we’ve talked about what we’re doing in Ohio and I think we’re doing the right thing. I never want to say something is under control because as soon as you say that, then something’s not under control. But, as I indicated, I talked to the mayors who were directly impacted by demonstrations. The ones who’ve been impacted by violence. You know, I think those departments have done a good job. Nothing’s perfect but they have done a good job. The mayors have done a good job. I’ve made it very clear to the mayors that as governor of the state of Ohio, we stand already to send in the National Guard when they need it and to make the highway patrol available for functions that the patrol can do and will do. But all of that is in support of the local government and we are very much a local government state in Ohio. We kind of like it that way. We’re a very diverse state.

Mike DeWine: (53:59)
So this thing is, the demonstrations have taken place. It doesn’t mean that there has not been some violence and there certainly has been some destruction but I believe that the cities or are in a good position at this point, but we are watching it every single hour and monitoring what is going on.

Mike DeWine: (54:25)
So, I think that this is the way Ohioans want this to be handled. The National Guard that comes in, as the general indicated, these are men and women from our communities. These are men and women from Ohio. These are our fellow citizens and they have performed exceedingly well and the highway patrol has performed exceedingly well.

Speaker 4: (54:57)
Our next question from Jesse Balmert, the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Jesse Balmert: (55:05)
Hi governor. This is Jesse Balmert at the Enquirer. Is Cincinnati the [inaudible 00:13:09]. I know you said that there would be some announcement this week about those items but what has been kind of the delay? Why are those harder than other locations?

Mike DeWine: (55:20)
I missed that part.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted: (55:23)
Museum Center laying off some folks.

Mike DeWine: (55:26)
Yeah, we will have information in regard to the Museum Center, the zoos and other things in two days. I think for most of these facilities, it will be good news. So we’ll have that on Thursday.

Mike DeWine: (55:47)
Again, everything we have received plans, the health department has received plans, very well thought out plans in most cases, from different organizations. The zoos, for example, about how they will manage crowds, how they will keep separation and again, the advantage, the zoo is primarily, they’re outside. When you get inside, it’s a little more problematic but in most of these cases, they have worked out a way that it appears to us that it’s going to work and we’ll have those announcements on Thursday.

Speaker 4: (56:32)
Our next question is from Jim Otte, WHIO TV in Dayton.

Jim Otte: (56:37)
Thank you, governor. Jim Otte from Channel 7 in Dayton. I want to go back to the very beginning of our session today and have you talked more about what your vision for the return for kids to the classroom for the fall for schools in Ohio?

Jim Otte: (56:50)
Is that in a traditional sense? A split sense? A hybrid? Some online part of the new school year or what are you thinking right now currently?

Mike DeWine: (57:00)
Well, Jim, that’s an excellent question. I know a lot of people are asking that. The caveat is to my entire answer is we don’t know exactly where this pandemics going. We don’t know where the virus is going and so anything I say could be washed away by new facts. But, the goal is to have kids back in the classroom. There’s going to be a great deal of flexibility. We are a very local government state. We have over 600 school districts that are very, very diverse with very different constituencies, different bus routes, different all kinds of things. So a lot of the discretion is going to be left to the local community, as I think it should be.

Mike DeWine: (57:55)
We will outline for the schools, the broad parameters as far as health and what schools need to do to keep their kids as healthy as possible. But it’s not just the kids. It is the teachers. It is the custodians. It’s everyone who works in the office and the lunch room because you got a lot of adults involved as well as children. So it’s going to be, Jim, it’s going to be broad, broad parameters and then the schools will take that. I think schools, judging by comments made by superintendents, have been planning different alternatives. They certainly should plan let’s say we start back and let’s say we hit a huge spike second wave coming through in November, December, January, sometime. The schools that I have talked to have a backup plan. They have a fallback plan. What do they do if they no longer can physically be in school? But the idea and the goal is for kids to be back in school in the fall.

Mike DeWine: (59:11)
One of the concerns that’s been expressed to me many, many times is that there are some kids, because of their age or some kids because of maybe a disability, or some kids for any, any number of reasons, that either cannot learn as well online or maybe they don’t have the access to being able to learn on online. So these are the kids that we, we worry about all our kids, but we certainly worry about kids who have not maybe done as well since school has physically been out.

Mike DeWine: (59:47)
So this is a work in progress but we’re going to be coming out. That’s kind of how we’re going to do it with broad, broad parameters, health guidelines and then leave it up to the local school to frankly, make it work for their local community.

Speaker 4: (01:00:10)
Ohio Public Radio and Television.

Speaker 5: (01:00:15)
Hi, governor. With the death of George Floyd, the officer accused of that death had a history of police shootings and was involved in another fatal police shooting in the early 2000s. Here in Ohio, we’ve had cases of black men, even black children, being killed by police officers, some of those officers still working as police officers. When it comes to the situations that you’re looking at addressing in the future, does the state intend to look at these past cases to re-review it, to figure out if these police officers should still be on duty?

Mike DeWine: (01:00:59)
The answer is yes. It is interesting that if you are a nurse, if you’re a teacher, you get a license and you can lose a license. There is a central board that has that authority. I appoint people to all kinds of different oversight, governing boards of all sorts of professions and trades. That is something I think we should look at in regard to police officers. This is a profession. It is a very noble profession and it should probably, I think in my opinion, be treated as a profession, which means that the ability to see if someone has done something that they should lose that license, to have that profession, is probably a way that we should take a look at this.

Mike DeWine: (01:02:02)
So we’re going to have, I’ll have a recommendation by Thursday, be more in more detail. We want to work with the general assembly about doing this. We’re going to work with the chief of the police and the sheriffs. But yes, there needs to be some changes. Again, it doesn’t mean that the vast majority of police officers aren’t are great. They’re doing a great job. But, you get one bad apple in there and it ruins it for society and you can see horrible, horrible tragedies. It’s something that I know police officers detest is when they see one police officer who is doing something that brings disgrace to the profession.

Speaker 4: (01:02:53)
Our next question is from Kevin Landers at WDNS TV in Columbus.

Kevin Landers: (01:02:57)
Hello, governor. Kevin Landers, WDNS 10 TV. When you decided to open up businesses, you created working groups.

Dan Tierney: (01:03:03)
When you decided to open up businesses, you created working groups to make guidelines as to when those restaurants or businesses could reopen, have you considered creating a working group to deal with the issues of race to meet with African American leaders? And you also had mentioned regarding oversight and accountability of police department, do you believe citizens’ review boards should be incorporated in all of the state’s police departments? Thank you.

Mike DeWine: (01:03:25)
Well, I don’t know about citizens review boards. I haven’t really thought much about that, but trying to bring some more uniformity to oversee how we look at police shootings. So this is something frankly that I looked at when I was the attorney general. And we talked about it. We kind of talk with different people about how to bring some uniformity to it. I think the important thing is that the public have trust in that oversight and how that is done. And again, prosecutors taking cases to grand jury, local police, someone doing an investigation, those are usually done correctly, but it really does bring up the question of public confidence and faith, and there are many cases where an outside group looking at that, doing the investigation, that might be something, that would be something that might bring about more credibility and give the public more faith in what the results are. So that’s certainly something we’re going to look at.

Dan Tierney: (01:04:39)
The next question is from Laura Bischoff at the Dayton Daily News.

Laura Bischoff: (01:04:45)
Yes. Governor, it’s Laura Bischoff. Eight years ago as the attorney general, you had made recommendations to OPATA, the police training academy for increasing hiring standards, training, et cetera, the AG’s office says this week that they don’t really have any data on which agencies are following those recommended policies. So given that we don’t even know what’s happened with those recommendations, how would you expect to have a look at local police officers and whether or not they’re doing a good job?

Mike DeWine: (01:05:28)
Well, I think Laura, you can certainly deal with a situation where we’ve seen where you have a police officer who leaves one jurisdiction under not good terms and ends up in another jurisdiction. That jurisdiction hiring that individual ought to have a place they can go to get information about that person. And again, just as a nurse, just as a doctor, just as any kind of profession that there’s a regulatory body. I would also say that one of the things that group, that Governor Kasich put together, Nina Turner and others were all in that group. And they came back with recommendations and there was established the best practices. And we do know how many jurisdictions have followed each of those best practices. And that is something that someone can look up. For example, how many jurisdictions have adopted the use of force?

Mike DeWine: (01:06:36)
We can look those up. In fact I was going through those last night. So again, I think there is accountability there, and that’s the type of accountability that we would need to have more of. We are blessed with 800 and some, I think 800 and some jurisdictions. And then you add in the Sheriff’s, there’s another 88. So there’s a lot of law enforcement jurisdictions in this state, but trying to bring about floor, you know, so that everybody is above a certain level. No matter where a citizen lives, I think that’s all important. And that’s important with training police training, but it’s also important in regard to different standards.

Mike DeWine: (01:07:22)
So that work that we did as attorney general, I’ve asked my team to go back and look at all of those different things. Look at the proposals that were adopted. Let’s see how well they’ve worked, but let’s also look at the things that were not adopted that somehow didn’t make it didn’t been, didn’t get done. And so I’ve asked my team to take a look at that and to come back to me with recommendations and where we can move forward. We’re interested in results. We’re interested in getting things done, and that’s actually the approach we’re going to take.

Dan Tierney: (01:08:02)
Our next question is from Andrew Welsh Huggins at the Associated Press.

Andrew Welsh Huggins: (01:08:08)
Hi Governor, it’s Andrew Welsh Huggins at the AP. I wanted to follow up on Lou Ann’s question. When the president threatened to use active duty military to take over protest security in the states, he did so in a call to governors in which he said that you all are “weak”, “you’re making yourself look like fools” and you “need to dominate.” My question is, were you on that call and either way, do you agree with the president’s assessment that as far as Ohio is concerned, you’re weak. You look like a fool and you need to dominate protesters when it comes to city’s reactions to the protest we’ve been seeing.

Mike DeWine: (01:08:48)
Leading question, I think. I was on the call. Governor, the president did not mention Ohio, and I did not call in with questions. So I think that we have handled this well, not perfectly because nothing’s perfect and going through serious demonstrations that then are hijacked sometimes late at night by violent people, all the while during a coronavirus leads to unique challenges, but I think Ohio has done well. I think our mayors have done well. We have made it very clear to them that the support that they need is there. And I’m satisfied with where we are. Ohioans are, I think are doing a good job.

Andrew Welsh Huggins: (01:09:59)
Thank you.

Dan Tierney: (01:10:01)
Our next question is from Randy Ludlow at the Columbus Dispatch.

Dan Tierney: (01:10:21)
We’ll come back to Randy. Our next question is from Tanisha Johnson at Spectrum news.

Tanisha Johnson: (01:10:27)
Hi, Governor it’s Tanisha Johnson again with Spectrum News. This question is for you and also for Dr. Acton. The question is could we see another stay at home order sooner than later, if you all see a spike that is connected to the process of COVID cases? [crosstalk 01:10:55]

Mike DeWine: (01:10:55)
And we’re getting two people in there? I don’t know. I think I got the question. Could we see a spike again, as a result of the demonstrations and people coming together and could that lead to a stay at home order? Is that the question?

Tanisha Johnson: (01:11:13)
Yes. Considering the protest. And is there a concern with it spreading even amongst police and the Guard?

Mike DeWine: (01:11:23)
Well, we always have a concern sure. About the police and the Guard and anybody who’s in close contact with anybody else. I mean, look, the reality is that the virus is of course it’s spread throughout a community, some communities more than others. We are monitoring these numbers. We’re seeing where they are. So, we’ll take whatever action is necessary to protect the public safety health. But you know, we’re not to reimpose any kind of orders. We’ve been kind of layering this, and I know it’s been frustrating to some people about different things opening up, but we try to layer these so that we could just lay one on top of the other, because it’s ultimately not just one thing cause a problem, it’s the cumulative effect of all of this together. And so we’re going to continue to monitor these numbers in each different part, each region of the state. So we’ll to stay on that. Dr. Acton.

Dr. Amy Acton: (01:12:31)
Yeah. I’d just like to add a little bit to that. As we’ve been in this unprecedented situation in the beginning, as you know, we weren’t prepared for something at this scale while we had systems in place, it truly had been a hundred years since we’ve seen something like this and our hospitals in the middle of flu season at 90-some percent capacity were at imminent risk. And the playbook that we followed during that time was the best scientific standards that we could find. But we now know, and as we watch our world is sort of moving through this next phase, trying to figure that out. You see countries try different things. You see them move in different directions, open things up, close things back. Some of the leading scientists right now are trying to figure out how do we do this, now that we’ve had time to work on our PPE, to work on some of the other components, our hospitals, to get ready for us to build systems if we had to build out emergency facilities.

Dr. Amy Acton: (01:13:35)
The next question is, how do we live with this risk? That’s why I would point people to take a look at Resolve To Save Lives. There’s also some work on the CDC site. There’s work that has been done in countries like New Zealand, Singapore, other places, including in Utah, where you can see that people are starting to talk now in science about layers of alert systems, where we as communities can look at the data together and that we can have sort of almost TSA like, or almost like when you go camping and there are levels of risk for campfires. We’re looking now at ways that we can all collectively look at risk and all collectively make decisions, but that doesn’t preclude that there could be a situation in which you would need to do more. But I think we’re looking at new ways to do this as we move forward.

Mike DeWine: (01:14:29)
Thank you. [inaudible 01:14:51] Dan Tierney, can you repeat the question? We can’t hear the question.

Dan Tierney: (01:14:56)
Yeah. The next question is from Randy Ludlow at the Columbus Dispatch.

Randy Ludlow: (01:15:00)
I apologize for my temporary, technical glitch. Governor, on another topic, your budget director said yesterday, we faced on two and a half million dollar budget hole for the coming fiscal year. That’s 7% of the GRF [inaudible 01:15:14] Do you have a realistic expectation that state employee unions, such as those including prison employees or [inaudible 01:15:27] and the another 700 other get sick will give up their pay raises?

Mike DeWine: (01:15:38)
Well, Randy, we don’t know. We try to be as transparent and open with our employees as we are with the people, the state of Ohio. And the amount of money, the chunk of money set aside for employees, looking at that raise, we’re thinking about that raise, that money’s not going to be there. So it’s going to be, it’s always a balance of having fewer employees, how do you balance that? So you either don’t have the pay increase that was scheduled for July, and there’s got to be some combination of you got to pick up that those dollars somehow either with … There’s two variables there, number of workers and the other variable is the pay raise itself. So it’s a discussion that we want to have, a very open discussion with them and just kind of lay out exactly where we are. We can’t print money in Ohio. As you know, we have to balance the budget we intend to do that. We also have other obligations. The schools took a hit. We had to cut schools. We hopefully we certainly do not want to cut schools again. So these are all choices that we have to make. Families across Ohio are making tough, tough, tough choices. And so we have to in government make those same choices.

Randy Ludlow: (01:17:19)
[inaudible 01:17:19] choice we have make [inaudible 01:17:21]

Mike DeWine: (01:17:20)
I answered. So.

Dan Tierney: (01:17:29)
Our next question is from Spencer Hickey at Hannah News Service.

Spencer Hickey: (01:17:36)
Thank you. This is Spencer Hickey with Hannah News Service here. Governor, the house has fast tracked legislation to steady and reform how the unemployment compensation system is applied and processed and administered. Could you discuss what engagement your administration and ODJFS has had regarding that?

Mike DeWine: (01:18:01)
I have not had any personally. I don’t know, John, do you know if anybody, if you know the answer to that question. We can get that, the answer to that question. I’ve not had a personal conversation on that.

Jon Husted: (01:18:09)
I have not. I know, I know Director Kim Hall provided lengthy testimony outlining the efforts that she’s making both to improve the current system and to build the new one that will be very technologically advanced, will be cloud based and will be more nimble for future needs.

Dan Tierney: (01:18:35)
Our next question is from Ben Schwartz at WCPO in Cincinnati.

Ben Schwartz: (01:18:40)
Thank you Mr. Tierney, and thank you everyone for answering our questions today. Director Acton, I received a message from a viewer the other day concerning surgery on a new knee, but they’re unable to get that proper surgery as they’re still not allowed to stay overnight at the hospital. I’m curious if there’s any chance that surgeries like that will be allowed in the near future as we move forward?

Mike DeWine: (01:19:04)
And the answer’s yes. As of today. So they, they can plan those. They can do those. They should be able to move forward.

Dr. Amy Acton: (01:19:19)
Yeah, I’d add to what the governor said. We have given the go ahead for hospitals. They’re ramping up now to do that. And I really encourage everyone, I know a lot of people have put off things, please reach out, please get your primary care. Our hospitals have done a lot of adjustments and they’re very safe places. So I don’t want you to be afraid of reaching out for the help you need. So please, it’s time for us to get back to all that care you need. Don’t delay. Reach out and if you are having trouble and you have nowhere else to go, please do go to an emergency room. Thank you.

Mike DeWine: (01:19:55)
Well, thank you all very much. Last week, actually three weeks ago, I guess I announced Ohio has been approved for a new federal program called the pandemic EBT program. As you may know, my wife, Fran has a real passion for children, for reading and for nutrition. And she’s going to introduce, she’s going to have a video about this new EBT pandemic program in just a minute. But before that, I want to say happy anniversary to my longtime girlfriend, my bride. We’ve been married 53 years tomorrow, June 3rd. So happy anniversary. Now we’ll see Fran. And there are a couple of baseball friends.

Fran DeWine: (01:20:52)
Hi, I’m Ohio First Lady, Fran DeWine with my friends, Mr. Red and Slider. We can’t wait to see baseball and action again, right? But right now we are teaming up for an important job and that’s making sure Ohio kids get the nutritious meals they need. For about 850,000 children in Ohio school is normally the place they receive a hearty, breakfast and lunch at either free or reduced price. But we all know this year with the coronavirus pandemic, kids in Ohio have not been in their physical school building since mid-March. Federal money is now coming to Ohio students to make up for those missed school day meals. The pandemic EBT card is coming in the mail to families that don’t currently have the SNAP or food stamp benefits. It’s a preloaded card that represents all those miss school meals, nearly $6 a day that families can use at their local grocery store. For families that do receive SNAP or food stamp benefits, the money will be loaded onto a car they already have. Best of all, this all happens automatically, no need for families to apply. Just head to your local store, to provide your children with a nutritious food that they need for their healthy development.

Fran DeWine: (01:22:15)
Slider, do you have anything you want to share?

Fran DeWine: (01:22:25)
That’s right. If you need more information, go to ohiopebt.org. We’re all in this together, Ohio and we are all looking forward to baseball coming back soon. Right, guys.

Mike DeWine: (01:22:46)
All right. We look forward to seeing you all on Thursday, 2:00. Have a good day. Thank you.

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