Gov. Mike DeWine and his wife Fran greeted patrons at the Science, Discovery & Family Fun day at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force Sunday Jan. 13, 2019. RICHARD WILSON/STAFF

Gov-elect DeWine, family greet patrons at Air Force museum hours before inauguration

DeWine took the stage in the hangar below the wings of the Air Force One aircraft used by Presidents Harry Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower.

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DeWine was scheduled to be sworn-in as the new governor a minute after midnight during a private ceremony at his home near Cedarville. The formal swearing-in ceremony is set for today at the statehouse in Columbus.

Fitting for the event, DeWine talked about the important of science, technology, engineering and math education and his desire to partner with the U.S. Air Force in expanding their efforts to broaden STEM education opportunities.

“The military supplies an awful lot of jobs in Ohio, but it goes far beyond that,” DeWine said. “I mean, imagine what the impact on the Miami Valley is by having so many scientists, so many mathematicians who live in this community. The spin-off impact is just huge.”

DeWine declined to talk about details, but he said one of his priorities will be establishing partnerships that will support operations at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

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“What we’re seeing other states do, really is investing in resources. We’ve got to do the same thing. One of the real challenges is, for example, people who want to come in at Wright-Patt,” he said. “There are buildings right off base where people can go into and set up a business very, very quickly and get moving.”

Maj. Gen. William Cooley, Commander of the Air Force research lab, said the base has been partnering with STEM-related organizations as “partnerships” are central to STEM education.

“The emphasis that Governor-elect DeWine and Mrs. DeWine may bring to Ohio gives us an opportunity to expand that,” Cooley said. “We’re certainly going to look for opportunities to leverage that partnership to good effect for Ohio, but also for the nation and our national security.”

DeWine said he plans to issue two executive orders after being sworn-in at his home tonight. He declined to share details, but given his emphasis on education during the campaign, he said it won’t come as a surprise to anyone.

“You’re going to see us focus a lot on early childhood education,” he said. “We want kids to be able to start kindergarten ready. We want them to be at the starting line. Unfortunately, tragically, we have too many kids today who when they get to kindergarten they have a fraction of the vocabulary that other kids in school have. It’s not fair to them. It’s very difficult for them to catch up.”

Fran DeWine also addressed the crowd, recalling the innovations of Orville and Wilbur Wright as she spoke of the need for qualified workers in STEM-related fields.

“It’s important to make sure we have more dreamers, more thinkers, more innovators here in Ohio,” Fran DeWine said. “While the demand for students in those fields is exploding, just not enough students pursue careers in the STEM areas … Studying science, technology engineering and math helps students develop analytical and creative skills through investigation and problem-solving. Kids need these skills to be successful in all types of careers and in life.”

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