Parker: New leaders with strong ties to Dayton have impact on Ohio

We recently witnessed history in the making as two leaders with strong Miami Valley ties were sworn in as Governor and Lieutenant Governor respectively.  The team of Mike DeWine and Jon Husted, both of whom spent much of their formative years in our region, now take the mantle of leadership for Ohio for the next four years (and perhaps beyond).

Phil Parker, president & CEO, Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce

Governor Mike DeWine, born in Yellow Springs and living much of his life in Cedarville, has strong southwestern Ohio roots, graduating from Miami University and becoming Greene County’s Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in 1972.  Our new Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted was born and raised in western Ohio but is a proud graduate of the University of Dayton and spent years living and working here in Dayton.  From there, each have grown into honest, experienced and competent elected leaders.

Most of us know much of this. However, the reason I share this is to add perspective to the idea that the Dayton region has not only produced a number of talented leaders like DeWine and Husted, who now share their local Ohio values and backgrounds with the rest of our state, but the Dayton area stands out even more now that they are leading in the capitol.

Like many of you, I have had the chance to see both of these men and their families grow up before my very eyes.  Living in Greene County since the early 70s and later working with each of them either directly or indirectly, I know of their integrity, honesty and loyalty to Ohio.  Each are strong, principled men with solid family values that will certainly guide their paths forward these next few years and beyond.

At their recent inauguration, Governor DeWine made it clear that faith, family and Ohio’s friendships will guide his decisions.  Husted is the perfect complement to a new Governor’s agenda because his values mirror these traits of DeWine.  And for good reason, as much of what lies ahead of us in Ohio will be affected by these values and traits and their impact on Ohio’s families.

No matter your politics, Governor John Kasich left Ohio in a much better position to compete in the future than when he took office.  Nevertheless, he would probably be the first to tell each of us that much is still left to do.  Much of what lies before us does affect families, whether it be jobs, education, opioid issues and much more.  These men have strong families and strong family values.  Mike’s wife Fran and Jon’s wife Tina will each lend great counsel to their husbands’ leadership and we should be thankful for their unwavering support of family, faith and friends, too.

Now just because these two leaders are our hometown guys doesn’t mean we get to demand all of their attention nor expect something extra or unreasonable for our region.  We still have to earn it.  They represent all of Ohio’s citizens and that’s the way it should be.

But that being said, these three things I know for sure going forward.  Though we are not one of those big Ohio “Cs”, we will have great access to these leaders and their appointed cabinet and we will be able to more easily make our opinions known to leaders who are friends and are eager to listen.  Secondly, we should be proud of their accomplishments just getting to where they are on January 14, 2019.  Remember, it has been almost one hundred years (98 to be exact … 1921) since another favorite son and Daytonian James M. Cox served as Ohio’s governor.  Perhaps far too long between local leaders; but we now have another strong leadership team from our region ready and able to lead from the many humble lessons they learned here in the Dayton region.

Lastly, this I know for sure.  DeWine and Husted will lead Ohio with honesty, integrity and a strong sense of purpose for all Ohioans.  This you can bank on.

Phillip L. Parker, CAE, CCE
President and CEO
Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce

Download a PDF of this article as it appeared in the Dayton Daily News.