John Kasich has the protection of the Ohio Highway Patrol.  They’ve been already planning and preparing to provide security to his Westerville home… which, let’s face it, is a safe neighborhood.

Yet, the Associated Press is reporting that John Kasich is breaking with tradition and will be the first Ohio Governor sworn into office in an entirely private ceremony.

Republican Gov.-elect John Kasich has closed the 12:01 a.m. event to the news media, an act unprecedented in modern state history. He cites security concerns for his family at his personal residence, where he is to be sworn in by Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor. A ceremonial inauguration is scheduled in downtown Columbus later that day.

According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Associated Press has covered the actual swearing in of every Governor for at least the last twenty-five years.  To the best of our knowledge, not a single dignitary was harmed as a result.  What security threat is John Kasich scared of this early in his term?  So much for the guy who promised accessibility and transparency.  He’s even limiting press access to his signing ceremony of his first executive orders!

In addition, Kasich’s inaugural committee has announced unprecedented lack of media access to the following inaugural events:

  • On the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Event:

    “Reporters, however, will be escorted into the event immediately before Kasich and Taylor make scripted remarks and must leave after the speeches. Though Kasich’s inaugural committee is seeking coverage of the event, including its music and celebratory mood, reporters will not be allowed to talk to guests at the Rock Hall.”

  • On Charity Fundraising in Honor of the First Lady: 

“Reporters will be given access only to formal remarks at a $500-a-ticket reception for Kasich’s wife, Karen Waldbillig Kasich, on Saturday at the Columbus Museum of Art.

  • Inaugural Ball:  Same as charity fundraiser.

He is, apparently, willing to have the media cover his unofficial, ceremonial swearing in at the Ohio Theater.

Again, from the Plain Dealer, which endorsed Kasich:

Kasich’s rules surrounding the inaugural events are not only more restrictive than his Ohio predecessors, at least going back to the Democratic administration of Gov. Dick Celeste in the 1980s, they are stricter than the Republican governors of neighboring Michigan and Pennsylvania.

I can’t believe we can already use this graphic, but:

Strickland Miss Me Yet

(Maybe the Carpetblogger could take his tongue off of John Kasich boots long enough to question which tradition Ohioans are more disturbed  about: whether an outgoing Governor continues a twelve-year tradition to deface an 150-year old desk or the incoming Administration breaking with tradition to free and unfettered media access?)

In other news, Kasich inauguration spokesman Scott Milburn actually told the press, in response to this story:

Kasich spokesman Scott Milburn said the governor-elect is being "as open as possible" by, among other things, allowing reporters to cover the formal portion of Rock Hall and other events.

The media was permitted to cover any event how they wanted four years ago.  Therefore, Kasich isn’t being as “open as possible.”  He’s being as open as he’s willing.  Big difference.

What was the reason cited for this unprecedented limited press access?

He is also limiting reporters’ access to inaugural events billed as public events, citing security issues and the need to accommodate many "stakeholder" groups.

You’re right, Keeling, carving your name in a desk they let Nancy Hollister deface is a much more important issue.

[UPDATE:] Let’s not forget that the Columbus Dispatch not only endorsed Kasich, but was seriously in the tank for him from Day One:

Columbus Dispatch reporter and president of the Statehouse press corps Jim Siegel issued a written statement: “The Ohio Legislative Correspondents Association believes that events connected to the inauguration of our next governor should be fully open to the press, so the public can get a complete accounting of activities. We have not heard satisfactory reasons as to why some events have restricted press access.”

Does the Ohio media still believe that Kasich was joking when he talked about “secret bonuses” in his JobsOhio plan?

 

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