COLUMBUS — Sidney Mayor Mike Barhorst led a group of 10 mayors who recently met with Gov. Mike DeWine at the governor’s mansion in Columbus. The mayors, all from municipalities having populations similar to that of Sidney, discussed topics with Governor DeWine ranging from the expansion of broadband to violent crime .
“Based on my travels across the state, I was not surprised that the most pressing problem identified by the mayors was the inability of employers to find workers to fill available jobs,” Barhorst stated. “If I were to rank problems in their order of importance, the lack of an available workforce would rank first, followed by the lack of housing in all price ranges, workforce development, and the funding for infrastructure improvements.”
“However, we also discussed the difficulty jurisdictions were experiencing recruiting police officers, body cameras, data storage, embedding social workers in police departments, and increasing the penalties for criminals who carry weapons under disability,” Barhorst stated. “Other topics included child care, black infant mortality, the pandemic, the role that mental health plays in homelessness, and the importance of local health departments.”
Prior to the meeting ending, First Lady Fran DeWine spoke to the mayors about local support for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. She gave each of those attending the meeting her most recent cookbook, which contained recipes from both Mrs. DeWine and Dolly Parton.
“Early childhood literacy has so many proven positives in a child’s life, and that’s why I’m thrilled to promote the Imagination Library Program,” the First Lady said. “Children from birth to age five who are enrolled in the program receive a free book every month. Mike and I believe every child should enter kindergarten with a good, strong start, and this program certainly helps make that happen.”
Shelby County has, for some time, led the state in the percentage of children enrolled in the program. Currently, 66.83% of the available children in Shelby County are enrolled in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.
In addition to Barhorst, the group included Maple Heights Mayor Annette Blackwell, Lebanon Mayor Amy Brewer, Miamisburg Mayor Michelle Collins, New Philadelphia Mayor Joel Day, Chillicothe Mayor Luke Feeney, Willoughby Mayor Robert Fiala, Ashland Mayor Matt Miller, Athens Mayor Steve Patterson and Hudson Mayor Craig Shubert.