The Union Leader newspaper is covering Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s lagging campaign in New Hampshire just like a platoon of other Granite State and national reporters are.
Unfortunately, these road warrior reporters demonstrate, time and time again, that they’re not minding the gap between what Gov. Kasich says he’ll do as president and what he’s done back in the Buckeye State as governor. That discrepancy was on full display again, this time at a town hall meeting at the Alpine Club in New Hampshire Monday night.
The Union Leader has already endorsed New Jersey Gov. Christ Christie as its pick in the crowded GOP primary that includes Mr. Kasich. It’s report on an interesting exchange between Ohio’s term-limited governor and a man who asked how developmentally disabled people would be treated in a Kasich White House, should that long-shot option only Camp Kasich believes in comes true?
“The first question put to Kasich came from a man in the front row who asked him about support for people living with developmental disabilities. The man acknowledged he has a personal interest,” the Union Leader wrote. “You’re not going to be ignored, got it? Good,” Kasich said “after giving the man a hug.”
Plunderbund has previously reported on Gov. Kasich’s treatment of people living in Developmental Disability Centers who have become a victim of his cold budgeting, forced out of their long-time residency in state institutions, with skilled health professionals delivering around-the-clock services to people living in the darkest of shadows. Their uncertain future lies with risky conditions in community based care that may not meet the same level of care the state provides now.
Contacted to comment on Gov. Kasich’s comment last week in New Hampshire, Robin Tarr had difficulty making sense of the governor’s quirky non-response to a legitimate question.
“I don’t understand Kasich’s response. You’re not going to be ignored? He didn’t give any answer as to what he was going to do or not do so I’m confused,” she said. Ms. Tarr has been a strong advocate for continued care of her aging brother brother who’s been a resident of the Youngstown Developmental Disability Center for many years.
Another Ohioan with a personal interest was likewise confused with the governor’s vague, gratuitous response. Peggy Cooley, after reading the Union Leader article, responded, saying she shared Ms. Tarr’s reaction of confusion to Gov. Kasich patronizing response to the questioner of “you won’t be ignored”.
“What does that even mean?” she asked? “Kasich has already stated publicly that it does not bother him for the harm he has caused the most vulnerable citizens in his own state of Ohio.” Both women have a “personal interest” and worry that close kin will take hits from how Ohio’s governor wants to treat them going forward. The are right to be upset with Gov. Kasich’s statement. Robin Tarr added, “Kasich owed this man more than a cursory nonsensical response and a ‘political” hug.'”
Back in May, Mahoning County Commissioner Carol Rimedio-Righetti traveled to Columbus to attend a Senate hearing at which witnesses from two northeast counties, Trumbull and Ashtabula, and Montgomery County offered testimony to legislators crafting a two-year state budget. The request was to keep developmental disability centers in their respective areas in operation and not shutter them as Gov. Kasich’s budget plan proposed by 2017.
Gov. Kasich vetoed only seven items in his last budget, the biggest in state history. What was telling for the 63-year old who brags about his “big heart” that a facility in Twinsburg, that serves developmentally disabled kids and adults, wound up in his crosshairs. Robin Tarr and others as passionate let lawmakers hear their voices as they shared tragic and poignant stories of loved ones being forced to move away from public-funded institutional care and into privatized community-based care.
Approximately two of every 100 Americans have a developmental disability, defined by the federal government and state of Ohio as a severe, chronic disability of a person that is attributable to a mental or physical impairment or combination of mental and physical impairments, that is manifested before the person reaches age 22 and is likely to continue indefinitely. Based on the 2000 census showing Ohio’s population to be 11,353,140 and using the national prevalence rate of 1.8 percent, an estimated 204,357 people with developmental disabilities live in Ohio.
Gov. Kasich wants to transfer qualified residents residing at the Youngstown Developmental Center [YDC] and a second in the Dayton-area to uncertain facilities as part of his administration’s plans to shutter them. The Ohio House created a closure review commission in its version of the last budget, but that differed sharply with the governor’s plan for this population. YDC backers just wanted state officials to wait, until case-specific legislation is introduced and the proposed facility closure commission undertakes its charge. The idea of a closure review commission, inserted into the budget by the House, is based on the 2005 BRAC [Base Realignment And Closure]Commission, an independent entity that reviews bases and military installations with the Department of Defense and issues a finding.
Gov. Kasich’s big heart was too cold to change his plan to close them. Running over commonsense calls to wait for a review, he vetoed the commission Tar and Cooley, Commissioner Rimedio-Righetti and other legislators including Republicans in both chambers advocated for.
Reporters in New Hampshire who cover what Mr. Kasich says are stunningly unaware of true record on the subject back home in Ohio. It’s not surprising that Robin Tarr and Peggy Cooley are saddened when John Kasich is labeled by a one New Hampshire backer as someone with a “strong moral compass and a heart for people who are down and out.”
Karen Cervantes of Lebanon, NH, attended a Kasich event and wrote a letter to the editor afterward talking him up. Ms. Cervantes might change her tune if she could hear the strong, clear voices back in Ohio who dare to say the governor’s moral compass doesn’t point in the right direction when it comes to helping some of the most “down and out” in Ohio.
Ms. Cervantes may not like it, but a comment made last summer by Ms. Cooley, as the budget holding some promise for developmentally disabled people didn’t win favor with Mr. Kasich, might give her pause on him.
“Kasich is a menace to society,” Ms. Cooley told Plunderbund. “He has shown that he despises the democratic process that allows U.S. citizens to speak up on issues that are important to them. Quite frankly, he just doesn’t give a damn about anyone but himself.”