Gov.-elect Mike DeWine announces key administration hires

Governor-elect Mike DeWine is stocking his cabinet with loyal staffers who in some cases have been at his side for decades.

DeWine on Tuesday announced Laurel Dawson as his chief of staff, Mary Mertz as director of the Department of Natural Resources, Ann O’Donnell as chief advisor, Alisha Nelson as director of RecoveryOhio, which will focus on the opioid crisis, and Ervan Rodgers, II, as the top information technology officer for the state.

Each of the five either work for the Attorney General now or have worked for DeWine in his previous elected offices. Mertz served as chief of staff to DeWine when he was lieutenant governor. O’Donnell started her career as his speechwriter in 1999. Dawson as his chief of staff while he was in Congress and the U.S. Senate.

Related: Who is Mike DeWine?

DeWine, a Republican, also picked General John C. Harris, Jr. for Adjutant General, who commands the 17,000 members of Ohio Army and Air National Guard.

Harris and Mertz’ appointments require confirmation by the Ohio Senate.

DeWine previously named Dawson as head of his transition team, Lisa Peterson as his communications chief and LeeAnne Cornyn as director of children’s initiatives.

DeWine, who takes office Jan. 14, said he will announce appointments to key positions as he makes those decisions.

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