Ohio Gov. Kasich talks East Cleveland killings, fight against poverty to prevent future tragedies

CLEVELAND - Ohio Gov. John Kasich may have come to Cleveland on Monday to announce the city's Opportunity Corridor transportation project is moving forward, but it wasn't all that was on his mind.

"This is not just about Opportunity Corridor," said Kasich. "It's about opportunity, period."

From the podium, Kasich talked about poverty.

"We are seeing some of the heartbreaking results of poverty in our community today," Kasich said referring to what was playing out six miles away in East Cleveland where three women were found dead over the weekend.

Asked about the situation the governor said "it's heartbreaking. It was heartbreaking when we had the last announcement," he said about Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight found alive after 10 years in captivity.

"Fortunately, somehow through the grace of God, those women appear to be pulling through."

Kasich said it's what can happen in neighborhoods hard hit by poverty. "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.

"That's why I feel so strongly that no neighborhood can be left behind and why I feel so strongly about the fact that when you start doing better everyone has to share in the growth," he said.

During the announcement for the project to link Interstate 490 and University Circle, Kasich said the best way to deal with poverty is to "give people hope by giving them a sense that they can get work."

"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.

When asked about the ongoing debate over how best to use federal Hardest Hit funds to tear down or to fix up abandoned homes to help some of these neighborhoods Kasich said there's no set answer.

"I talked to the mayor (Frank Jackson) about it even this morning," Kasich said.

"You've got to figure out from the people who are right there in the neighborhoods and on the ground what is the best thing to do in terms of rehab vs. tear down," he said. "We've already started a few discussions on it but we're going to need to accelerate them."

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