Ohio Governor John Kasich on Saturday rejected an offer of federal aid for his tornado-stricken state that could have amounted to millions of dollars in payments and loans. Neighboring Kentucky and Indiana have already expressed their gratitude for the aid and have welcomed the arrival of FEMA teams for an initial evaluation of damage.
“I believe that we can handle this,” Kasich told Clermont County storm victims who had taken shelter in a local high school.
Clermont County officials did not share Kasich’s confidence. County Commissioner Bob Proud suggested that the state could probably handle the cleanup but that federal aid might be needed to provide temporary housing for residents who have lost their homes.
County Democratic Party Chairman Dave Lane was considerably blunter, suggesting that the Republican governor was simply trying to score political points. “I question his judgment,” Lane stated. “It would appear at first blush that he’s probably playing politics.”
Kasich, previously a Congressman and then a Fox News commentator, was elected governor in 2010 with the help of a controversial $1.25 million donation that his former employer, News Corp., made to the Republican Governors Association on his behalf. He also received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Koch brothers.
One Ohio resident wrote scathingly at Daily Kos of Kasich’s decision, “One county to the east of Cincinnati, the town of Moscow in Clermont County was nearly wiped off the map. A normal governor with a minimal shred of competence or compassion would immediately declare the county a disaster area, and coordinate with FEMA and other federal agencies on the recovery. Governor Mitch Daniels in neighboring Indiana — hardly a flaming liberal — has declared 11 Indiana counties to be disaster areas, clearing the way for federal help. Across the river in Kentucky, Gov. Steve Beshear has similarly declared a statewide emergency. But here in Ohio, Kasich has responded to the disaster with the type of ‘leadership’ we’ve come to expect from him.”
Photo uploaded to Flickr by brianwjones