John Kasich is the governor of the Ohio. But he appeared to forget that important detail during Thursday night’s GOP debate when he was asked about the lead poisoning water crisis in Flint, Michigan.
The question was specifically posed to Kasich, as “one of the two remaining governors in the race,” granting him some kind of authority in his response. Yet he totally whiffed.
“I know people are being held accountable, but the fact is, every single engine of government has to move when you see a crisis like that,” Kasich, the man who often nervously karate-chops the air, said. “I’ve had many situations in the state of Ohio where we’ve had to move, whether it’s storms, whether it was a horrible school shooting. There are many crises that come. The water crisis in Toledo. You’ve got to be on top of it and go the extra mile.”
That’s all well and good, except it totally fails to mention the current concerns over poisoned water in Sebring, Ohio.
Last week, Sebring village manager Richard Girouxby announced that pregnant women and children should not drink the water in the village because it might be tainted with lead. Schools in the area have been closed for three days in a row, and children are being tested for lead poisoning.
Over the summer, some seven out of 20 homes in an area often tested were found to have excessive lead levels, and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is accusing the manager of the village’s water system of failing to notify people within the required 60 days of the potentially dangerous water.
The manager, James Bates, is accused of filing misleading and inaccurate reports that did not properly address the situation. Now he may face a criminal investigation, and citizens in the area are terrified that their town is becoming the next Flint, Michigan, where thousands of people now have high levels of lead in their blood.
Many Republican candidates have been surprisingly silent on the Flint water crisis, with Marco Rubio initially responding that his campaign hadn’t even been briefed on the matter. Jeb Bush praised Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder for “stepping up” to address the crisis, which is a total misread of the situation.
Kasich also didn’t condemn the actions of Snyder and seemingly forgot about how the issue is becoming a localized threat to his own state. His campaign did not respond to a request for comment from The Daily Beast.
It’s one thing to suggest there’s a problem in a neighboring state. It’s another to completely forget the one happening right at home.