It was a horrific scene. Last week, the bodies of three African-American women were found wrapped in trash bags. East Cleveland authorities claim they are all victims of suspected serial killer Michael Madison. But Ohio’s Governor John Kasich is looking past the crimes to call attention to the decaying state of the state’s inner cities, which he said breeds terrible crimes such as this.
His recent comments about poverty and poor neighborhoods have been grabbing attention .
“We are seeing some of the heartbreaking results of poverty in our community today,” Kasich said in a press conference about local construction projects. The Republican Governor went on to say that the murders are an example of what happens to neighborhoods hard hit by poverty, reports NBC News.
And Ohio has been hit very hard by poor financial conditions. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, nearly 16.5 percent, or 1.85 million, Ohioans live in poverty, which is slightly higher than the percentage of Americans overall. In East Cleveland, where the murders took place, the poverty rate is 37 percent. The black population of East Cleveland is 93 percent, reports All Voices. The black population of Ohio is about 12 percent, according to Census numbers.
“It’s what happens when you have individuals who are very dangerous inside of a community and somehow we lose track of them,” he said. “It’s about breakdown of neighborhoods, sometimes where we don’t always know our neighbors. There’s so much to it but poverty to me is kind of at the core of it.”
But Kasich didn’t just talk about the dire situation, he claimed the solution was jobs.
“That’s why I always say that jobs are the greatest moral imperative because when mom and dad are working, the family’s stronger, the marriage is better and the kids are better off,” he said.
Not surprisingly Kasich’s comments were met with criticism.
“The disconnect is phenomenal,” said Jack Frech, the longtime director of the Athens County Department of Job and Family Services in Appalachian Ohio. “He is actively throwing thousands of people off cash assistance in Cleveland and elsewhere, leaving them with no cash income whatsoever. He is creating the most severe and dire living conditions for these families you can imagine.”
What do you think of Governor Kasich’s comments?