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As Lieutenant Governor, Jon Husted Will Oversee New State Innovation Office

Gov.-elect Mike DeWine announced Tuesday that his lieutenant governor, Jon Husted, will lead a newly created state agency when the two assume office next week.

The new agency is called InnovateOhio, which DeWine said will focus on using technology to “create a more innovative and efficient state government.” The department will place a particular emphasis on improving customer service, as well as analyzing state data to identify ways to make state services more effective.

Husted also will lead an initiative focused on training Ohio workers and attracting skilled workers to the state, as well as another existing initiative that focuses on reviewing state regulations with the goal of reducing the overall number.

“These are things that I believe I will wake up every morning and be focused on, in addition to anything else Gov. DeWine will have me do,” said Husted, speaking at a Tuesday news conference in Columbus.

Husted will receive a sizable raise compared to his job as Secretary of State, which paid him $109,691 annually. Husted will make $176,426 in his new job, thanks to a Senate Bill passed by legislators over a veto from outgoing Gov. John Kasich that gave pay raises to various state and county elected officials. Husted will forego the lieutenant governor’s salary, set under the new law at $113,947.

The new law also created InnovateOhio, a subset of the governor’s office, and authorized DeWine to “appoint necessary professional, technical and clerical personnel.” The law says the governor will decide what the new department will do. The new office will be funded in DeWine’s first state budget, due to be introduced before March.

Under Ohio law, the lieutenant governor position is largely ceremonial. But in recent years, governors have made the position the equivalent of a cabinet-level job, assigning their running mates to run a state department.

Article by: Andrew Tobias | Cleveland.com