Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) has been embroiled in controversy recently for appointing his state’s first cabinet in nearly 50 years without any racial diversity, and for subsequently telling an African-American lawmaker challenging him on his cabinet picks, “I don’t need your people.” But today, “[i]n an obvious attempt to quell the criticism of the lack of diversity in his cabinet and staff,” Kasich issued a statement proclaiming February Black History Month, and “announced” the appointment of African-American staffer Lynn Stevens to be his Director of Minority Affairs:
Kasich announced the appointment of Lynn Stevens as Director of Minority Affairs. Stevens is responsible for minority outreach and will act as a liaison to Ohio’s minority communities.
One small problem with this new appointment: It’s not new. As Ohio progressive blog Plunderbund points out, “Lynn Stevens was ALREADY the Director of Minority Affairs and has been serving in this position for nearly a month.” Indeed, Stevens has even already dealt with a separate Kasich race scandal involving Martin Luther King Day. Stevens’ “position is not cabinet-level,” meaning Kasich’s cabinet of 23 remains all white. Moreover, appointing a person of color to be Director of Minority Affairs, of all potential offices in the Ohio government, seems like a move unlikely to assuage concerns about Kasich.