Gov. Mike DeWine and his response to the COVID-19 pandemic have made national headlines. That has led to more and more people watching his daily briefings on WCPO News 9.
Some of you have even recognized Ben Schwartz, who asks a daily question that we need answered here in the newsroom. Ben is our Statehouse News Bureau Fellow, and he has been working out of Columbus, covering all things political, since early this year.
We have been getting lots of emails from people asking Ben to ask a question they are curious about. It got us thinking: Maybe we can be the community's voice to ask questions of the governor that they themselves don't have the chance to ask.
And thus, Ben Asks a Question was born. Every day, we will choose a question posed by someone in the community. Ben will ask it at DeWine's daily briefing. We will then write a story with the question and answer and post it on our website and on Facebook. We will also include the question and answer in our 4 p.m. newscast. Feel free to reply to those Facebook posts to ask us anything you'd like Ben to ask. You can also send us a Facebook message or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We probably won't be able to get to all questions, but we will ask as many as we can. We are keeping a running list of everything people want to know, so if we don't get to your question right away, not to worry.
We look forward to being a voice for our community as we grapple with how to move forward in these uncertain times.
Here is the question Ben asked on Tuesday, April 7:
Ben Schwartz: "Over the weekend there was an incident in Over-the-Rhine with a man getting arrested. Is it up to the cities to enforce those and make arrests if deemed necessary, and if so how do you recommend cities go about that?
Mike DeWine: "Well the answer is yes, every day at 11:30 the Lieutenant Governor and I, and many times Dr. Acton, are on the phone with the mayors of our major cities. They have done a phenomenal job. .... So with the enforcement of that law this weekend, shoutout to the law enforcement agencies, to prosecutor (Joe) Deters and Mayor (John) Cranley and others who took affirmative action to deal with that. I applaud them for what they're doing.
"So we look to the local communities, we look to the local police, we look to the local sheriffs to deal with those types of situations. As you know, I don't know if all our viewers know this, but it was a pretty flagrant violation. This is someone who created their own video, put it up on social media, showed that there was not distancing occurring and basically kind of mocked the whole idea that we should have social distancing. So, you know, when someone kind of convicts themselves so to speak and posts that, that's their problem. And It was pretty crazy, so I applaud, again, what all the mayors have been doing. They've been doing a good job, and the police departments across the state as well."
The Statehouse News Bureau Fellowship program is designed to give Ohio University E.W. Scripps School of Journalism students hands-on experience and at the same time increase coverage of the statehouse. The program is funded by the Scripps Howard Foundation and other sources.