COLUMBUS — From the time Mayors Association of Ohio President Mike Barhorst gaveled the annual conference to order until the conference ended, there were non-stop opportunities for Ohio’s mayors to exchange ideas. The opening session was headlined by JobsOhio President and CIO J.P. Nauseef, who spoke about some of the projects JobsOhio has brought to Ohio.
Those projects include General Motors and LG’s $2.3B announcement that they will produce battery cells for electric vehicles; Cleveland Cliff’s $1B announcement that they will build and operate the world’s most environmentally friendly steel plant; Intel’s $20B announcement that they will build two new factories and establish an new epicenter for advanced chipmaking; Ford’s $1.5B announcement that they will transform a current plant to produce a new commercial electric vehicle; and, SEMCORP’s $916M manufacturing facility that will make separator film, a key component for batteries for electric vehicles.
Nauseef was part of a panel, moderated by Barhorst, that included Consul General of Japan in Detroit Yusuke Shindo, Japan External Trade Organization Chicago Chief Executive Officer Ralph Inforzato, Honorary Consul General of Canada Dan Ujczo, and Senior Trade Commissioner of the Consulate General of Canada in Detroit Bradwin Niblock.
Other topics discussed during the conference included housing, cyber-security, crisis communication, onboarding, and the Ohio Ethics Law. There was also the opportunity for round table discussions so that mayors could identify the chief issues facing their communities.
As Barhorst had visited county seat mayors earlier in his term as president, he had developed a similar list. That 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 for 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 roadblocks that are there that may prevent them from achieving their potential.”
Following his comments, the Governor fielded questions from the mayors for more than forty minutes. The questions ranged from economic development to the maintenance of state highways through municipalities to redistricting.
“The pandemic had forced the cancellation of the annual conferences in both 2020 and 2021,” Barhorst stated. “It was good to see mayors back together networking again.”.
Barhorst completes his term as president of the Mayors Association of Ohio on June 30. Batavia Mayor John Thebout will serve as president of the organization in the coming year.