By Sam Colt
The Knox County Democratic Party threw down the gauntlet on Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH-7) on Tuesday, insofar as that is possible on Twitter.
“@RepBobGibbs lies about Obamacare, holds government hostage to right wing demands, votes to shut down government. #EnoughAlready,” said the party.
Gibbs, whose district includes all of Knox County, ignored the county’s Democrats, but the tweet raised the question of how the government shutdown ﾗ which began at midnight on Tuesday ﾗ would affect Kenyon and the surrounding area.
The shutdown will not directly affect the Village of Gambier, according to Village Administrator Suzanne Hopkins. But the shutdown could potentially affect the Mount Vernon community. The government shutdown halted the funding of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Woman, Infants and Children , Forbes reported on Tuesday. WIC provides a broad array of services including nutrition education, food assistance and healthcare referrals.
Adam Gilson, chairman of the Knox County Democrats and Publications Director for the College’s Office of Public Affairs, cited WIC as an area of concern during the shutdown. “The effects [of a shutdown] will hit Knox Countians ﾗ whether it’s residents dependent on WIC support, or attempting to renew their passports, or visiting federally administered parks and monuments. And any federal employees facing a furlough now face a loss of pay for an indeterminate period, which can certainly do harm to our local economy,” he wrote in an email.
As federal monies are cut off, states are stepping in to fill funding gaps in the short term, according to Knox County Health Commissioner Julie Miller.
“We received word yesterday that the State of Ohio has funding to take WIC through the end of the year. ﾅ Locally, the Knox Board of Health will be made aware and will need to discuss the situation at some point,” Miller said.
That the State intends to fund WIC during the shutdown is apparent on the Ohio Department of Health’s website, where visitors will find “Ohio WIC is Open for Business!” emblazoned in red at the top of the page.
And it appears that WIC is not the only program now receiving temporary state funding.
Matthew Kurtz, director of Knox County’s Department of Jobs and Family Services, said local welfare programs would continue despite a shutdown.
“There should be no interruption in services to our clients if there is a limited federal shutdown,” Kurtz said. “Ohio has contingency plans that would engage to cover short-term funding needs.”
So far, Gibbs has been mum on how the shutdown will affect his constituents. “I am committed to ending the government shutdown and fighting for the American people,” he said in a statement posted to his website on Monday. “Both parties share the blame, and both parties must work in the best interest of the American people to fund the government and ensure fairness for all.”
The Collegian received no response to repeated requests for comment from Gibbs’ Capitol Hill office. Calls to his office yielded a pre-recorded message.
“Due to the government shutdown,” the message said, “the office is operating with limited staff and may not have the ability to answer every call.”
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