Kasich tells black lawmaker, ‘I don’t need your people’

KASICH TELLS BLACK LAWMAKER, ‘I DON’T NEED YOUR PEOPLE’…. Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) is off to quite a start, isn’t he? We learned recently that Kasich, a former congressman, Wall Street executive, and Fox News personality, has picked 22 officials for his cabinet — 17 white men and 5 white women.

Though he says he offered two posts to African Americans who declined the offers, the result is the first Ohio governor from either party to have a cabinet lacking any racial or ethnic diversity in a half-century.

A week later, Kasich refused to attend the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Gala — despite being in town — and his office issued a statement on Martin Luther King Day celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.

This week, Kasich made matters just a little worse.

[Thursday], the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus held a press conference to express their waning patience with his dismissive attitude and “implore[] Kasich to make better strides to diversify his Cabinet.” But according to State Senator Nina Turner (D-OH), this time Kasich’s response was a bit more blunt. According to Turner, when the caucus offered him help in finding qualified minority applicants, Kasich told Turner, “I don’t need your people.”

Now, I can appreciate the need for caution on a line like this. “I don’t need your people” is what Turner said Kasich said, and second-hand quotes can be tricky.

But Kasich’s spokesperson confirmed that the governor said exactly that. “What he meant was, ‘Your people are Democrats, we don’t need them on our cabinet,'” the spokesperson said yesterday.

Maybe that’s what Kasich meant; I wasn’t there and I can’t speak to his frame of mind. But there’s room for skepticism — he was meeting with a lawmaker who was urging him to expand the diversity of his team and offered to help by presenting lists of qualified Ohioans. Her point, obviously, had nothing to do with party and everything to do with the governor having a diverse team that reflected the makeup of a diverse state.

By responding, “I don’t need your people,” Kasich couldn’t have come across much worse.