Republican hopeful Mike DeWine called for the creation of an advisory group to identify emerging technology opportunities for the state.
(TNS) — Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike DeWine wants to make Ohio a "smart state."
Thursday he said he would appoint his running mate, Secretary of State Jon Husted, to head up a private-sector advisory panel that would identify ways to make the Buckeye State a leader in emerging technology.
"What is exciting about this is the state is going to have at its disposal the brightest people in the state to advise us," said DeWine, who is the Ohio attorney general. "We will be able to go to that group and say ... 'Here are the challenges in criminal justice, here are the challenges that educators are having. What can you do to help us?' This is really going to put Ohio at the forefront. It's going to send a signal to people all over the country and all over the world."
He made those comments at the Smart Columbus Experience Center, a facility funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation that is dedicated to improving mobility in Columbus, including through the use of electric vehicles.
"We believe, through a private-public partnership, that we can make Ohio the most innovative, creative, entrepreneurial-friendly state in all of the Midwest," Husted said. "And we still need partnerships not with companies in Silicon Valley, but right here in Ohio."
One way Husted and DeWine propose to allow all parts of the state to participate in the technology boom is to use such private-public partnerships to extend broadband internet to rural areas and small towns that are under-served now. However, if businesses could make money off of such service, wouldn't it be there already?
Husted said new government money wouldn't be necessary.
"If the government does it right and provides access to the right of ways and things like that, private sector companies will put the broadband, put the fiber in the ground and then share that with the government for all the things we need to do with it," he said.
Kyle Quillen, CEO of Agile Networks, a Canton company that offers 25-megabit-per-second internet service in parts of Belmont County, agreed that additional government investment is not needed to bring broadband to rural areas.
"At the end of the day, what it comes down to is that there are mountains of under-utilized infrastructure assets that could facilitate broadband development in urban areas and rural areas and the easier you make that transformation happen — the less hurdles and burdensomeness there is to it — the more investment will come," he said.
Also running for governor are Democrat Richard Cordray, whose spokesman, Mike Gwin, said of Thursday's proposal, "After a 42-year political career, it's clear that Mike DeWine is not the right person to lead Ohio into its future. Rich Cordray and (Lt. Gov. candidate) Betty Sutton have the right vision to harness emerging technologies, create good-paying jobs, and improve the delivery of government services."
Libertarian Travis Irvine and Green Party candidate Constance Gadell-Newton also are running for governor.
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