BEXLEY, OHIO (WOWK) – Broadband expansion is on Governor Mike DeWine’s mind as we approach the start of 2022.
“I liken this to where we were 100 years ago 90 years ago in regards to rural electrification where cities had and the farmers didn’t have it and had to make extra effort to go out and get those lines stretched out to the farms and now we have to do the same thing with our rural communities.”
Gov. DeWine sat down for a one-on-one interview with 13 News’ Amanda Barren at the Governor’s mansion in Bexley Wednesday.
The Governor said that the expansion will help – especially rural parts of the state – grow when it comes to job and population growth.
“There are a lot of people who would love to live in rural Ohio and our beautiful Appalachian counties if they thought they could make a living there. So, that access to broadband is important to have for workers there.”
And like everything these days, talk about broadband can link back to the biggest issue of the last 22 months: the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s (broadband) also very, very important as we saw during the pandemic for our school kids, we saw our school kids in parts of southern Ohio, pulling up to the McDonald’s so they would have internet service. Now that is just a problem.”
The problems that the pandemic revealed and created are a daily challenge the Governor realizes for all Ohioans.
As students try to catch up, businesses try to rebuild, and families yearn for normalcy, the number of cases is growing.
He says at this point he has no plans for further shutdowns or restrictions.
“Once you get the vaccine, I think you know our job is to make sure it gets out, make sure everybody can get it, and make sure people understand what the basic facts are, what are the facts about the vaccine and what are the facts about where we are in the battle against this COVID, more in this area of we are going to put this restriction on.”
Gov. DeWine believes the state of Ohio has led the way in getting take-home COVID tests to Ohioans by putting them in public libraries.
Thursday, the Ohio National Guard will arrive at some hospitals around the state. At this point, he says the northern and central parts are seeing the biggest struggles with COVID patients and lack of staffing.
“No matter what part of the state you are in today, hospitals are worried because they don’t have enough staff, they are worried because they are getting more and more COVID patients.”
Of the more than 1,000 members of the Guard deploying, 150 of them are medical professionals. At this time, those members will be stationed in hospitals in northeast Ohio.
The other 900 members will work in capacities like in-hospital transport and food service.
Despite the challenges and struggles today, he remains optimistic.
“I hope that everybody is able to get together with their family, I know that is something people have not been able to do. Get together, be safe, celebrate. I think our better days are ahead of us.”