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2008 State of the State Address

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    Posted: Feb 07 2008 at 9:00pm
2008 State of the State Address
by Ted Strickland
Speaker Husted, President Harris, Leader Beatty and Leader Miller, Lt. Governor Fisher, statewide elected officials, members of the Cabinet, members of the General Assembly and the Supreme Court, distinguished guests, First Lady Frances Strickland, and my fellow Ohioans...

Last month, Ohio soldiers answered the call of duty in the largest single deployment of the Ohio National Guard since World War II.

Please join me in a moment of silent reflection in honor of these brave Ohioans and all the servicemen and women from Ohio who are nobly serving this state and nation, including a number of your colleagues in the legislature.

Let us pray for their safe return and for the comfort and strength of those who have suffered loss or injury.

Thank you.

Ohioans have a rich history of patriotic service. And our veterans deserve nothing less than our best efforts to provide them the benefits they have earned. Unfortunately the services we provide are scattered among many programs, allowing too many veterans to fall through the cracks.

Today I am calling for the creation of the Ohio Department of Veterans Affairs. Consolidating our veterans programs in one cabinet-level agency will ensure that we serve our veterans more effectively especially at a time when thousands of Ohioans will be coming home from the battlefield. I look forward to working with the General Assembly on this effort. Let us make Ohio known for its commitment to our entire military community.

Last year, you and I demonstrated that real progress is possible when we allow ourselves to be guided by bipartisanship, mutual respect and a desire to serve the common good.

We committed to live within our means and invest in what matters. I thank you for the respectful, constructive relationship weve built. It has served the people of Ohio well.

Heres some of what weve accomplished:

We cut property taxes for every senior citizen homeowner.

With no property taxes to pay on the first 25 thousand dollars of value in their homes, Ohios senior homeowners will save an average of 400 dollars every year.

We passed legislation that guarantees every Ohio child has access to health care coverage, once we have approval from the federal government. And we expanded access to health coverage for pregnant women and disabled Ohioans. For young people aging out of foster care, we now provide coverage that continues to age 21.

Because there is no better way to strengthen our people and our state than investing in education, we made a commitment that begins with preschool and continues through adulthood.

In early care and learning, we expanded funding, access, and quality.

In primary and secondary education, we increased state funding by approximately 600 million dollars. In fact, we increased the states share of education spending from 48 to 54 percent.

We funded the construction of 250 new schools. And each of those new schools will be built to meet nationally recognized standards of energy efficiency. That means not only a cleaner environment, but long-term cost savings for the life of those school buildings.

We froze tuition at Ohios public colleges and universities for two years. Instead of the typical 9 percent annual increase, Ohio students and their families paid<

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