The Dayton Daily News came out with a silly hit piece about Kasich's increased use of the state planes.
Gov. John Kasich’s entourage for a 144-mile trip from Columbus to Cleveland last month was so large his office used two state-owned planes to transport the group, costing taxpayers $2,199.50.Never missing an opportunity to put his diarrhea of the mouth on display, get a load of what Redfern says about the two planes owned by the state for its governors to use to travel around Ohio: The governor should stop using the planes to travel around Ohio.
In his first 81 days in office, the Republican Kasich used the Hawker-Beechcraft King Air planes for 16 in-state trips and four out-of-state treks at a total cost of $31,400. By comparison, former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland spent $31,849 on plane travel during his first 13 months in office.
“I think we ought to sell the damn planes,” Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern said. “The governor loves privatization. He ought to drive down to Port Columbus Airport and fly coach like the rest of us.”
Ridiculous. The plane is there for the governor to do his job. Ohio is a large state. No matter who the governor is or what party they belong to, that's exactly what the planes are there for. For the governor to use in pursuit of the state's business.
Brian Tucker of Crain's Cleveland Business agrees.
The only people who care about this are those who intend to criticize Gov. Kasich for one reason or another. Frankly, I'm impressed with how much he has traveled the state for a variety of reasons. A governor should be visible to the people he governs, and if that means taking the state plane because of schedule demands — well, isn't that why we have them?Not only is it the stupid political hackery that we're used to from Redfern, it would actually cost the state more money if we followed his suggestion.
We should expect the news media — in their critical watchdog role — to blister the governor if he was jetting around the state for personal reasons, but that doesn't appear to be the case. But to write this story, and then let the state Democratic Party chair say something as useless and partisan as "He ought to drive down to Port Columbus Airport and fly coach like the rest of us" is nothing more than transparent political sniping.
So it cost $2200 to fly the governor and a number of his staff to Cleveland. The DDN piece mentions that for this particual trip, the group was large enough that they used two planes. Since each plane can carry 10 passengers, lets conservatively assume that there were 10 people in the group total.
That comes out to $220 per person, round trip. That's a bargain, folks. Go do a search on a round trip commercial flight from Columbus to, er...Cleveland. They start at $800. And for all the traveling that a governor has to do, Redfern would have him sitting around in commercial airports for hours, several times a month? Yeah, that's an efficient use of the governor's time, not to mention his staff!
Finally, would Redfern have us believe that during Ted Strickland's entire 4 year term, he never traveled with the governor on the state plane? I don't have the actual data on this, but I would be shocked if Chris never did.
Tucker concludes his piece with this comparison between the two governors, and their attention to Northeast Ohio.
I only wish Ted Strickland would have used the planes a bit more and been in Northeast Ohio the way his successor has been. And, while I'm in the wishful mood, can't people stop trying to make political points in useless ways?Ya know, judging by their underperformance in Cuyahoga County last November, I bet Ted Strickland and Chris Redfern secretly wish they had used those planes to visit Northeast Ohio more often, too.
Irrespective of party, Ohio's governors should be visible to the electorate. They need to be talking to the people across this state, learning firsthand about the particular challenges facing them. We have state-owned planes to make productive use of any governor's time.
I hope they all follow Gov Kasich's lead in the future.
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