State Senator Ray Miller represents me in Ohio’s 15th Senate District and I feel obligated to start this post by saying I have the utmost respect for his service to the state and his long history defending civil and minority rights in my community and throughout Ohio.

In Central Ohio Senator Miller is one biggest names in African American Democratic politics. He’s a hero to a lot of people but his recent career has not been without problems. And with term limits forcing him out of office next month, and with the number of opportunities for Democrats becoming very scarce after the last election, I really have to wonder if the press release Miller put out today is really just a job application aimed at the Kasich administration instead of a heartfelt commentary on the state of political discourse in our state.

In the release Miller commends Ted Strickland for the exceptional job he did maintaining diversity within his cabinet, but he goes on to attack ODP Chairman Chris Redfern for lacking ‘civility’ and ‘dignity’ in his recent criticism of John Kasich’s all white male cabinet appointments.

I really do hate to say this, but Ray Miller’s comments are pretty damn ridiculous.

Every Democrat I’ve talked to in the last month has also noticed the same pattern from John Kasich: his cabinet picks are an exclusive club made up of only straight white males. And Chris Redfern, the guy who leads Ohio’s Democratic Party, has every right – no, an OBLIGATION – to point this out.

Chris Redfern’s job is to show Ohioans how Democrats are different than Republicans. And diversity is one of the major factors that sets us apart.

Within a month of being elected Governor in 2006, Ted Strickland had appointed Mayor Michael Coleman (African American) his Transition Chair and Pari Sabety as head the Office of Budget and Management. Weeks later he appointed Helen Jones-Kelley, an African American woman, to lead the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services and Mary Jo Hudson, Ohio’s first openly gay cabinet member, as director for the Ohio Department of Insurance.

And it didn’t stop there.

Governor Strickland made a conscious effort to maintain diversity in his cabinet, which is composed of 12 percent minorities and 50 percent women – almost exactly the same demographic breakdown as the State of Ohio’s population.

So far John Kasich has appointed six straight white males to lead his transition team and to be part of his cabinet. And I don’t expect this pattern to change much going forward.

I really do hope John Kasich decides to break from his current pattern. Hell, I’ll even write Senator Miller a wonderful recommendation letter if he is actually looking for a job. I’m sure he’d make a great member of the cabinet and would keep Kasich honest when it comes to issues like diversity.

But let’s be honest here: the likelihood of seeing any serious diversity in John Kasich’s cabinet – or in any of his appointments – is pretty damn slim. And this fact should be seriously disturbing to anyone who cares about such issues.

Moreover it doesn’t make political sense to give Kasich any more slack than necessary. We aren’t going to win over voters in 2012 by sitting back and pretending everything is ok. We aren’t going to excite the Democratic base by ignoring the fact that John Kasich and the Republican party have very different values than we do.

Call me uncivil. Call me undignified. I don’t really care. But I’m not going to sit back and let John Kasich – or any politician for that matter – escape criticism and slide by unquestioned when he fails to act on – or even recognize – something so important as this.

  • Anonymous

    Sen. Ray Miller keep anyone honest? Ha.

  • Rgtmwlly

    Of course, John Kasich’s running mate and Lieutenant Governor-elect is a woman, and his very first personnel announcement as Governor-elect was Beth Hansen. And no, just because Beth could kick the ever-loving crap out of you does not mean that you can ignore the fact that she’s a woman too.

    But why let facts get in the way of a good Kasich trashing?

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  • I’ll give you Hansen, but we’ll have to wait to see if he gives Taylor any real responsibilities. The Lt. Gov is typically appointed to run an agency and the past two – Johnson (under Taft) and Fisher (under Strickland) – ran the Dept. of Development.Given that Kasich has vowed to dismantle the DoD, I would be surprised if she ended up there.My point, however, more revolved around the fact that the Governor is elected to represent the whole state – all of the people – and his appointments should reflect that.Diversity is an important principle of the Democratic Party and it’s one of the important ideological differences between us and the Republicans. As a result I don’t think it’s out of line for the Chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party to point out that the newly elected Republican Governor is falling far behind Governor Strickland when it comes to appointing women and minorities to his cabinet.

  • Jen

    Sen. Miller also says that Steve Stivers is an advocate for African immigrants.

  • progressive dem

    If John Kasich is an advocate for minority rights, then Ray Miller is an advocate for openness in campaign finance.

  • guest

    This guy doesnt have a clue .. about anything..
    He has appointed how many folks to heads of agencies?– and 3 of them are “double dippers”…..
    Kasich and Boehner both act like bullies…neither strike me as fair minded
    I dont think diversity is a big issue for either one of them–I bet its not listed on eithers list of importance….diversity doesnt have any letters that spell the word”me” in it —
    This next administration whether it be state or local is going to make a “class war out of the people”… you will either be rich-er or poor-er
    Wanna bet where they will be ?
    They have already proven where they stand–no more un-employment benefits and no more taxes for people who make over $250,000..( I dont say I agree with the tax cuts either way– when those people are charged more taxes they will pass that cost on to us )
    There will be nothing gets done — just seems to me to be a tug of war already–
    Boehner will never move an inch IF its not his idea…and I would love to know how many females have worked for him….

  • LOL. True.

    I intentionally avoided bringing Miller’s financial and other problems into this post. Modern and Jerid beat the crap out of him so much a few years back there’s really no need to rehash all that now.

  • Guest

    Thanks Joseph,
    Agreed. The radical Republicans are the party that excludes people unless you are a rich white man, an enabler, a cheerleader, a token. They give lip service to diversity with their big tent but it is mighty empty. Are their tokens self loathing or is the a move for self preservation in pandering to the oppressor. White men only (radical Republicans) need apply. Token Mary Taylor will sit on fat behind getting paid to do nothing. Great being a radical Republican woman. Nice work if you can get it
    Awesome to be one of two tokens.

  • Anonymous

    Two women, both fairly prominent roles. But there’s been little visibility of Taylor or revelation of what exactly her role is going to be in this Administration. Still those two appointments still don’t counter an overwhelming, unrepresentative selection of elderly white males.

  • Rgtmwlly

    Lieutenant Governor and Chief of Staff are “fairly prominent roles”? Oh I see. Their clout pales when compared to the Director of Agriculture in the administration. That makes a lot of sense.

    Ignoring facts and stretching the truth in order to support a conclusion you have already reached is narrow-minded and dumb.

    Only about a third of the cabinet has been announced so far. But that fact doesn’t seem to curb your wild, sweeping generalizations of the entire Kasich-Taylor team. Then again, why should it? That wouldn’t fit the predisposed narrative.

  • Anonymous

    Look, those two appointments still doesn’t change the fact that despite having nearly a third of his Cabinet picks announced Kasich has a disportionate number of white males in his Cabinet. Even with those two you mentioned, Kasich is on pace to have a Cabinet that is not representative of Ohio as a whole and is predominately white males.

    You’re making a sweeping generalizations over just two nominees.

  • Rgtmwlly

    Oh I get it now. If you concede that Lt Governor and Chief of Staff are anything more than “fairly important roles” you’d have to hold John Kasich’s diverse appointments to those two positions up against Ted Strickland’s overwhelmingly white male selections for the same spots in his administration.

    And that wouldn’t fit the ugly narrative, now would it? How slick!

  • Anonymous

    Um, no. Now you’re just talking crazy. The point is that by your own account Kasich has nominated nearly a third of his Cabinet, and he has only one non-white male in it so far (the CoS is not a member of the Cabinet.) So even when you factor Mary Taylor and the fact that his CoS will be a woman, you STILL have a cabinet that is amazingly lacking in diversity.

    Joseph was wrong to ignore Mary Taylor as an exception to the rule, but you’re trying to stretch that one exception and try to present it as the rule.

    Also, Strickland’s nominee to be Lt. Governor in the next term was an African-American woman. Geez.

    Kasich’s Cabinet, with so far the sole exception of the Lt. Governor, is made up white males. That is a fact. You’re frothy mouth screaming about the one exception doesn’t really invalidate the point Redfern and Joseph are making: Kasich’s Cabinet is not representative of Ohio. That is true. Now maybe the next 2/3rds of his Cabinet will reverse that trend. We’ll see.

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