COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohioans fed up with John Kasich’s pro-1 percent policies came out in droves yesterday to protest their governor as he announced his bid for the Republican nomination for president at the Ohio State University.
The most angry protesters in the crowd were teachers, many of whom came down to Columbus from Youngstown, where local control of schools was last week replaced by a “Chief Executive Officer” under new legislation just signed into law by Kasich last week. In Kasich’s plan, the CEO would have complete control over the schools, replacing teachers and administrators, determining curriculum and setting compensation levels.
Many teachers and others had signs recalling S.B. 5, the bill that Kasich pushed through the legislature in 2011 that took away collective bargaining rights from public workers in Ohio. As a result of a massive campaign, the law was brought to a referendum in November 2011 and defeated. Many protesters wore anti-S.B.-5 t-shirts and carrying signs reminding the crowd of Kasich’s attack on labor rights.
Another group of people who were there to express their outrage at Kasich were employees and relatives of patients from the Youngstown Developmental Center, a residential facility that the Kasich administration wants to close down. “Kasich has turned his back on Ohio’s most vulnerable citizens, like my brother here, who’s very medically needy,” one woman told the Wooster Daily Record.
Kasich’s policies against women’s reproductive health were targeted by Ohio pro-choice activists who were out in force with signs reading “Where’s my reproductive freedom?” and “John Kasich has no faith in women.” Kasich has signed more anti-choice bills than any Ohio governor, and women’s health care has suffered so much that Ohio’s infant mortality rate is one of the worst in the nation.
Following Kasich’s speech inside the Ohio Union, Ohio Democratic Party chair David Pepper took to the microphone outside and blasted Kasich’s record on the economy, saying that Ohio is in its 32nd month of trailing the nation in job recovery, and on education, where Kasich’s policies have brought Ohio from fifth position among states in the nation to eighteenth “and falling rapidly.” The crowd agreed enthusiastically with Pepper’s assessment that with his record, Kasich doesn’t deserve to think about higher office.
Photo: Anita Waters/PW