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Letter to Ohio's Developmental Disabilities Community from Governor Mike DeWine

December 28, 2021 

To Ohio’s developmental disabilities community, 

I ran to be a Governor for all Ohioans. As I stated in my inaugural address, government’s “essential function is to protect the most vulnerable among us – those . . . in the dawn of life, those in the twilight of life, and those in the shadows of life.” Since then, we have strived to provide the best opportunities for a fulfilling life for all Ohioans. 

It was my honor that Jeff Davis joined our team at the beginning of this administration to serve as Director of the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities. Remembering back to his interview, it was clear then the passion and kindness that Jeff would bring to his role. He spoke of the need for a human services system, like yours, to be kind, empathetic, and person-centered. 

In our time together, Jeff has contributed to many of this administration’s priorities. As Governor, I committed to tackle hard issues and make investments today, knowing that it might take years to realize their full, profound impact. This has certainly been the case in our work together to invest in Ohio’s children, including efforts to better support multi-system youth and expand Early Intervention services to more children in need. These initiatives are creating better lives for Ohio families today and will have life-changing results for years to come. 

Further, by listening, collaborating, and being willing to think big, we were able to pass along the largest increase to our providers and direct support professionals in the history of our state. This would not have been possible without a strong partnership with our county boards of developmental disabilities. 

So much of our lives has changed since COVID emerged. The work of our direct support professionals across the state has been nothing short of heroic. I also appreciate the steady hand Jeff provided for the field as we navigated this pandemic. 

I am grateful for all we have accomplished, but I believe the best is truly still to come. That is why I have selected Kim Hauck as the next Director of the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities. For nearly two decades, Kim has served the DD community; first as a direct support worker, then in leadership with a county board, and finally at the department, where she has been instrumental in so many of their successes. I am confident that she will maintain Jeff’s strong focus on servant leadership and ensuring a kind, responsive department. 

I hope you will join me in giving her your support and know that both the department and my entire administration remain committed partners. I am truly excited for the work ahead of us. Together, we can continue to strengthen our statewide system and to better focus on the lives of the individuals and families we serve. 

Very respectfully yours, 

Mike Dewine