Governor Mike DeWine’s office is experiencing a shake up as DeWine’s chief of staff, Laurel Dawson, is stepping down to assume a different role within his administration.
The sudden move has prompted Michael Hall, DeWine’s current policy director, to be promoted to the head position.
“Laurel Dawson has been a trusted advisor of mine since I first ran for the U.S. House of Representatives. She has served my administration exceedingly well as chief of staff, and I am grateful that she will be taking on this role,” DeWine said.
In their new roles, Dawson’s salary will remain the same while Hall will see an increase in pay.
The move comes as Governor DeWine has been under constant pressure for recent policy decisions his administration has made, specifically relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. DeWine has been one of the last Republican governors to leave a state-wide mask mandate in place – a decision that prompted several pieces of legislation to be introduced in the Ohio state legislature to restrict the Governor’s powers.
Additionally, DeWine announced a controversial lottery-style giveaway to encourage individuals throughout Ohio to receive a coronavirus vaccine. The state intends on giving away $5 million in addition to college scholarships for vaccinated teenagers. The funds the DeWine is using for the vaccine lottery is federal taxpayer money given to the state by a COVID-19 relief package. The giveaway placed DeWine on the radar of the Ohio Attorney General.
Due to these moves, DeWine has been a focal point of criticism, even within his own political party. Former U.S. Representative Jim Renacci is heavily considering a primary challenge against DeWine. Renacci is being advised by President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Brad Parscale.
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