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Black Lawmakers Urge Ohio Gov. To Hire Minorities


Watch NBC4’s Patrick Preston’s report:

COLUMBUS, Ohio—Black state lawmakers on Thursday demanded Ohio Gov. John Kasich appoint minorities to his Cabinet - even if it means booting out some of his current picks.

The appointees to the new Republican governor’s Cabinet so far are all white, a first for the state since 1962.

Kasich has said he’s focused on putting together “the best possible team” without regard for race, gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation.

On Thursday, the president of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus implored Kasich to make better strides to diversify his Cabinet.

“Feel the need to, you know, get rid of them if you need to because we want our fair share of seats at the table,“ said Rep. Sandra Williams, a Cleveland Democrat.

The group also set up an e-mail address, iamqualifiedOhio(at), for minority candidates to send in their resumes.

“We will take those resumes - walk those resumes over to our governor to let him know that there are qualified people of color in this state, and we are demanding employment,“ Williams said at a news conference with other caucus members.

The caucus also called on the GOP-led Senate to deny the confirmation of Kasich’s Cabinet members until he picks minority candidates for the positions. A message seeking comment was left with the Senate Republican leadership office.

Williams said the caucus has requested a meeting with the governor to discuss inclusion and their legislative agenda. They are waiting to hear back, she said.

Kasich has previously met with some caucus members, and they conceded Thursday that Kasich talked to two minorities from Ohio who turned him down.

Rob Nichols, a spokesman for the governor, confirmed that two African-Americans turned down offers from Kasich for two separate Cabinet posts. Nichols declined to give their names.

“The governor continues to look for qualified people to serve Ohio in his administration, without regard to race. He encourages all Ohioans to apply and welcomes suggestions for qualified applicants,“ Nichols said.

“Equally important, he’s looking for candidates that share his deep commitment to reducing government spending, reforming programs and reducing taxes,“ Nichols said.

State Sen. Charleta Tavares, a Columbus Democrat, said having minorities in the Cabinet is less about politics and more about bringing different viewpoints to important decisions.

“Those of us that come out of racial, ethic and cultural communities, bring other perspectives to the table,“ Tavares said. “That’s what we want the governor to understand. He doesn’t walk in our shoes. He hasn’t gone through the struggles that many of us have gone through.“

Kasich’s interim director of job and family services, Michael Colbert, is black. Because he’s temporary, though, Colbert is not a permanent Cabinet member.

Kasich could yet make Colbert the social welfare agency’s full-fledged director. He also has not yet named a lottery director or head of the Emergency Medicaid Management Administration, an agency the previous Gov. Ted Strickland created by executive order whose fate under Kasich is not known. He will also eventually be able to replace Chancellor Eric Fingerhut.

Posted by on 01/27 at 01:52 PM

Regarding the comments from Rep. Sandra Williams that there should be 12.1% of black appointments to Gov. Kasich’s cabinet because blacks represent 12.1% of the population, I wonder if anyone would think it was racist to have a white lawmaker demand 84.7% representation on the cabinet of a black governor of Ohio? And to propose firing cabinet members simply so that blacks can be put in their place? Are you serious? I thought we weren’t supposed to judge people based on their color. Is Rep. Williams suggesting that a noon-black cabinet member isn’t qualified to represent the interest of black Ohioans? Doesn’t that seem racist?

Also, can we really believe that people are interested in meaningful dialog when they say that they feel like they’re living in 1811 in Ohio simply because Gov. Kasich has chosen his cabinet based on the most qualified individuals for those posts, even after offering positions to black candidates? 1811? Really? I think these folks need to do more soul searching and less grandstanding.

I’d like to note that the broadcast identified the lawmakers as black, and that they represent the black caucus, in case anyone assumes my usage of black is inflammatory.

Posted by cbrpilot  on  01/27  at  06:39 PM

Is the current method of selection of OSU players – based on their ability – racist?

When issues truly have merit, they have merit all across the board:  What if OSU’s football team were required to apportion players based on demographics?

Which players should TRESSEL terminate so that 82% of the players were white? We then would demand that one player be Asian, one be Hispanic, and one be an Asian-Hispanic combo (stats approximated from 2000 census). To which position (no pun intended) would Gene SMITH assign the Gay/Lesbian/Transgender/Bi-Sexual player?  [Or which current player would come forward to claim that role?]

Ms. HEARD is cute as a button. But the men seem like delicate pastries as compared to the thunder in purple.

Maybe anyone whose crime exceeds their group’s percentage could be injected on the spot (we wouldn’t want those numbers fouled). Budget problem solved. Now there’s an idea with merit!

Posted by CityMouse  on  01/28  at  01:26 PM
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