DeWine addresses Ohio mayors at annual conference
COLUMBUS — From the time Ohio Association of Mayors President Mike Barhorst called the annual conference to the end of the conference, Ohio mayors have had endless opportunities to connect ideas. The opening session was led by JobsOhio President and CIO, JP Nauseef, who spoke about some of the projects JobsOhio has brought to Ohio.
These projects include General Motors and LG’s $2.3 billion announcement that they will produce battery cells for electric vehicles; Cleveland Cliff’s $1 billion announcement to build and operate the most environmentally friendly steel mill in the world; Intel’s $20 billion announcement that they will build two new factories and establish a new epicenter for manufacturing advanced chips; Ford’s $1.5 billion announcement that they will convert an existing factory to produce a new commercial electric vehicle; and SEMCORP’s $916 million manufacturing facility that will make separator film, a key component in electric vehicle batteries.
Nauseef was part of a panel, moderated by Barhorst, that included Japanese Consul General in Detroit Yusuke Shindo, Ralph Inforzato, Director General of the Japan External Trade Organization in Chicago, Honorary Consul General of Canada Dan Ujczo and Senior Trade Commissioner, Consulate General of Canada in Detroit Bradwin Niblock.
Other topics discussed at the conference included housing, cybersecurity, crisis communication, onboarding, and Ohio ethics law. There was also the opportunity for round tables so that the mayors could identify the main issues facing their communities.
As Barhorst had visited mayors of county seats earlier in his term as president, he had come up with a similar list. This list included: 1) the lack of workers to fill available jobs; 2) housing; 3) workforce development; 4) economic development; 5) infrastructure needs; 6) crime (including drugs); and, 7) homelessness.
Governor Mike DeWine was the keynote speaker at the closing luncheon. “We want every person in the State of Ohio to live up to their God-given potential,” DeWine said during his remarks, “and we want to remove the barriers that can keep them from reaching their potential. “.
Following his remarks, the Governor answered questions from the mayors for more than forty minutes. Issues ranged from economic development to maintaining national highways through municipalities to redistricting.
“The pandemic has forced the cancellation of annual conferences in 2020 and 2021,” Barhorst said. “It was good to see the mayors meeting again to network.”.
Barhorst ends his term as president of the Ohio Association of Mayors on June 30. Batavia Mayor John Thebout will serve as the organization’s president for the coming year.
Ohio Association of Mayors President Mike Barhorst greets Ohio Governor Mike DeWine at the Ohio Association of Mayors Annual Conference after telling the audience about mayors that the 70th governor of Ohio provided “transformational leadership for the state.”
Ohio Association of Mayors President Mike Barhorst, center, shares a lighter moment with JobsOhio President JP Nauseef, right, and Consul General of Japan in Detroit Yusuke Shindo, left, following the Economic Development Roundtable at the Ohio Association of Mayors Annual Meeting.