Republican presidential hopeful John Kasich likes to portray himself as a “person of faith.” However, his actions as Ohio congressman during the late 1990s, and more recently as governor of the Buckeye State, suggest that he is a callous, self-righteous, racist, hypocrite. He now is openly providing food stamps to white communities in Ohio, but not black communities.
In 1996, as Representative of Ohio’s 12th District and Chairman of the House Budget Committee, Kasich co-sponsored legislation to limit the amount of time certain people could receive food stamps under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). People without dependent children and considered able-bodied were required to be employed at least half-time or enrolled in a job training program for a minimum of 20 hours a week – regardless of whether or not such employment opportunities existed.
Kasich’s legislation would have knocked one million people in need off federal food stamps. When the bill drew criticism from Congressional colleagues, Kasich added an exception. The legislation would not apply to states in which unemployment was higher than average. That included Kasich’s own state of Ohio. Thus, Ohio was permitted to seek waivers under the legislation to permit its citizens to receive food stamps.
Today, as the governor of Ohio, Kasich is using the waivers to his legislation to get food stamp assistance for his state citizens, but only in regions of Ohio that are predominantly white. This allegation comes from Policy Matters Ohio which has analyzed the governor’s food stamp policies across the state.
In 2013, Governor Kasich could have accepted food stamp assistance for all of Ohio, as he had done for the previous six years. Instead, he limited the waivers to a handful of primarily rural counties with a large percentage of white residents. Urban regions with large minority populations and unemployment rates far above average have been denied the food stamp assistance. Furthermore, according to Kate McGarvey of the Legal Aid Society of Columbus (LASC), Kasich had this decision rammed through with little or no debate – and for no apparent reason. She told Mother Jones, “It was really fast…no advocates I know of were given a chance to give feedback on the wisdom of the partial waiver.”
As the disproportionate impact on the black community has become increasingly apparent, LASC and other legal advocacy groups have filed a formal complaint with the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the US Department of Agriculture.