If a miracle happened enabling Ohio Gov. John Kasich to be asked if he’s contributed over his nearly 40-years in politics to building a movement for people and the planet, his answer were he to be truthfully would be along the lines of, “Are you kidding,” one of his favorite unintended-comedic rhetorical nonsequitur exclamation points.
Even though he’s still waiting for the Lord’s blessing, maybe this time by tweet, telling him t0 declare his candidacy for president because that would be living up to his God-given talents, he was again on stage, this time in New Hampshire, continuing his peek-a-boo campaign for high national office.
No, Not Kidding
If Ohio’s governor, twice elected but ambitious for higher office, had been in the packed Blue Room at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C., Saturday, he would have witnessed a display of raw and raucous political excitement he’ll one day have to confront, especially now that his hungry eyes look to the next stop on his political train of life, the nation’s capital.
To the surprise of no one, the Kasich Administration has demonstrated that people and planet don’t deserve to come first because political control, corporate power and profitability are the muses he listens to.
At Populism 2015, a three day conference that kicked-off on Saturday in Washington D.C., Mr. Kasich’s track record of backward energy policy would be the Ohio model no one here today would want to follow. Working toward a green economy, and benefiting from the clean, well-paying jobs that come with it, is one strong messages among others being evangelized.
Transitioning out of the old fossil fuel industry, where jobs are shrinking due to competitive market forces, into new-century advanced energy jobs is one calling at Populism 2015.
The governor should study his own agency’s recently released job figures showing, again, just how slowly Ohio is creating jobs overall, while it slides further south in the energy sector, which has contributed a lot to building Mr. Kasich’s claim of master job creator. The Department of Jobs And Family Services announced Friday that 500 jobs were lost in mining and logging, a category that includes oil and gas jobs.
The fracking industry, which Kasich warmed up to immediately as governor, has contributed significantly to state GDP. But commodity prices dropped due to abundant supplies, which prompted oil and gas producers to reduce production after prices dropped last year; and it didn’t just happen in Ohio. According to industry data, nationally, 100,000 jobs were lost. In Ohio, the 15,700 high from last November is lower now by 800 jobs.
Energy Democracy Agenda
“We have a big opportunity in front of us to move from the current extractive economy—based on fossil fuel extraction and the corollary of wealth extraction—toward a restorative economy that reduces carbon emission and advances an energy democracy agenda that puts people and planet first,” Populism 2015 reports.
To save the planet, the nation’s economy must change from what it has been to where it must go, but that path has been studded with large obstacles set by corporate governors like Kasich, who on one hand bemoan the loss of coal jobs but on the other remain blind to the real culprit, the natural gas fracking industry. American Electric Power, headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, announced in early April that it will shut down seven coal-fired power plants. The company also reported that natural gas will be the fuel of choice for two others.
Since he’s been governor, Ohio’s once respected reputation as a leader in 21st century energy is now miles behind other states whose leaders have seen the future and seized on it. Nearly a year ago, Ohio’s GOP-controlled legislature and Gov. John Kasich turned back the clock on state renewable energy standards when they stopped clean-energy growth. Gov. Kasich decided to freeze what bi-partisan lawmakers did under former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland, which pushed Ohio toward more solar energy by setting a goal of achieving 10 percent of energy from solar by 2030. Ohio will watch as other states take advantage of the solar-energy revolution.
Gov. Kasich’s suspension of renewable energy standards gave Ohio a black eye. It also shows that while he rails against special interests as the status quo, he capitulates to them as he did with special interest energy groups who know where his heart lie. Ohio may now be among the most backward states for future energy, as Gov. Kasich will now need to justify his retrograde policy without sounding totally silly.
Nearly a year ago, Ohio’s GOP-controlled legislature and Gov. John Kasich turned back the clock on state renewable energy standards when they stopped clean-energy growth. Gov. Kasich decided to freeze what bi-partisan lawmakers did under former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland, which pushed Ohio toward more solar energy by setting a goal of achieving 10 percent of energy from solar by 2030. Ohio will watch as other states take advantage of the solar-energy revolution.
So Be It
Republicans like House Speaker John Boehner, a long-time friend of Mr. Kasich from their years playing on the same team while in the House of Represntatives, are determined to shrink government and erode its power. Speaker Boehner went so far as to say that if losing government jobs was the price of a government shutdown or sequestering public dollars, “so be it.” That’ s not a good attitude, especially from someone who, like Mr. Kasich, have been well-paid public employees for most of their adult lives.
But maybe we should use their indifference to losing another government job here and there and turn it to the fossil fuel industry. If coal mining jobs are depleted due to market forces from the fracking industry or, god forbid, from environmental regulators who act on behalf of people and planet, then so be it.
Populism 2015 is a diverse gathering sponsored by Alliance For A Just Society, America’s Future, National People’s Action and US Action, all active national campaigns Gov. Kasich would likely consider terrorism-list worthy, because their collective agenda is directed toward empowering workers, raising wages, reigning in corporate powers and boosting democracy by boosting voting.