John Richard Kasich (/ˈkeɪsᵻk/ kay-sick; born May 13, 1952) is an American politician and the current governor of Ohio, first elected in 2010 and re-elected in 2014. On July 21, 2015, he announced his candidacy for the 2016 Republican nomination for President of the United States.
Kasich served nine terms as a member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Ohio's 12th congressional district from 1983 to 2001. His tenure in the House included 18 years on the House Armed Services Committee and six years as chairman of the House Budget Committee. He was a key figure in the passage of both welfare reform and the Balanced Budget Act of 1997.
In the 2010 Ohio gubernatorial election, Kasich defeated Democratic incumbent Ted Strickland. He was re-elected in 2014, defeating Democrat Ed FitzGerald by 30 percentage points.
Early life and education
Kasich was born in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania, an industrial town near Pittsburgh. He is the son of Anne (Vukovich) and John Kasich, who worked as a mail carrier. Kasich’s father was of Czech descent, while his mother was of Croatian ancestry. Both his father and mother were children of immigrants and were practicing Roman Catholics. He has described himself as “a Croatian and a Czech”.
Kasich meets Nixon in 1970 at the White House when he was a freshman at Ohio State. After attending public schools in McKees Rocks, Kasich enrolled at The Ohio State University, where he joined the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity. As a freshman, he wrote a letter to President Richard Nixon describing concerns he had about the nation and requesting a meeting with the President. The letter was delivered to Nixon by the University’s president Novice Fawcett and Kasich was granted a 20-minute meeting with Nixon in December 1970.
Earning a bachelor of arts degree in political science from The Ohio State University, in 1974, he went on to work as a researcher for the Ohio Legislative Service Commission. From 1975 to 1978, he served as an administrative assistant to then-state Senator Buz Lukens.
Ohio Senate career
In 1978, Kasich ran against Democratic incumbent Robert O'Shaughnessy for State Senate. A political ally of his remembers him during that time as a persistent campaigner: “People said, ‘If you just quit calling me, I’ll support you.'" At age 26, Kasich won with 56% of the vote, beginning his four-year term representing the 15th district. Kasich was the youngest person ever elected to the Ohio Senate.
One of his first acts as a State Senator was to refuse a pay raise. Republicans gained control of the State Senate in 1980; but Kasich went his own way, for example, by opposing a budget proposal he believed would raise taxes and writing his own proposal instead.
U.S. House of Representatives (1983–2001)
Kasich's official portrait in the 98th Congress, 1983.
In 1982, Kasich ran for Congress in Ohio's 12th congressional district, which included portions of Columbus as well as the cities of Westerville, Reynoldsburg, Worthington, and Dublin. He won the Republican primary with 83% of the vote and defeated incumbent Democrat U.S. Congressman Bob Shamansky in the general election by a margin of 50%–47%. He was re-elected eight times after 1982, winning at least 64% of the vote each time.
During his congressional career, Kasich was considered a fiscal conservative, taking aim at programs supported by Republicans and Democrats. He worked with Ralph Nader in seeking to reduce corporate tax loopholes.
Kasich was a member of the House Armed Services Committee for 18 years. He developed a “fairly hawkish” reputation on that committee, although he “also zealously challenged” defense spending he considered wasteful. Among the Pentagon projects that he targeted were the B-2 bomber program (teaming up with Democratic representative Ron Dellums to cut the program, their efforts were partly successful) and the A-12 bomber program (ultimately canceled by defense secretary Dick Cheney, in 1991). He participated extensively in the passage of the Goldwater–Nichols Act of 1986, which reorganized the U.S. Department of Defense. He also pushed through the bill creating the 1988 Base Realignment and Closure Commission, which closed obsolete U.S. military bases, and successfully opposed a proposed $110 million expansion of the Pentagon building after the end of the Cold War. He also “proposed a national commission on arms control” and “urged tighter controls over substances that could be used for biological warfare.”
Kasich meeting with Ronald Reagan.
Kasich said he was "100 percent for" the first Persian Gulf War as well as the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, but said that he did not favor U.S. military participation in the Lebanese Civil War or in Bosnia. In 1997, with fellow Republican representative Floyd Spence, he introduced legislation (supported by some congressional Democrats) for the U.S. to pull out of a multilateral peacekeeping force in Bosnia. In the House, he supported the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act, a Dellums-led initiative to impose economic sanctions against apartheid-era South Africa.
Ranking member of the House Budget Committee
Kasich was on the House Budget Committee from 1993-2001 and chairman, from 1995-2001.
Official congressional portrait of Kasich as chairman of the House Budget committee.
In 1993, he became the ranking Republican member of the House Budget Committee. In that position, he and other House Budget committee Republicans proposed an alternative to President Bill Clinton's deficit reduction bill, the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993. That proposal included funds to implement Republican proposals for health care, welfare, and crime control legislation and for a child tax credit. The Penny-Kasich Plan, named after Kasich and fellow lead sponsor Tim Penny, was supported by Republicans and conservative Democrats. It proposed $90 billion in spending cuts over five years, almost three times as much in cuts as the $37 billion in cuts backed by the Clinton administration and Democratic congressional leaders. About one-third ($27 billion) of the proposed Penny-Kasich cuts would come from means-testing Medicare, specifically by reducing Medicare payments to seniors who earned $75,000 or more in adjusted gross income. This angered the AARP, which lobbied against the legislation. Another $26 billion of the Penny-Kasich plan’s cuts would have come from the U.S. Department of Defense and foreign aid, which led Secretary of Defense Les Aspin to say that the plan would destroy military morale. Another $27 billion in savings would have come from federal layoffs. The proposal was narrowly defeated in the House by a 219-213 vote.
As ranking member of the Budget Committee, Kasich proposed his own health care reform plan as a rival to the Clinton health care plan of 1993 championed by First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, but more market-based. As Time magazine wrote, “The Kasich plan would have covered all Americans by 2005, using a form of an individual mandate that would have required employees to purchase insurance through their employers. (The mandate was an idea initially supported by conservative groups like the Heritage Foundation.)”
On November 17, 1993, Kasich voted to approve the North American Free Trade Agreement, casting a "yea" vote for the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act.
In 1994, Kasich was one of the Republican leaders to support a last-minute deal with President Bill Clinton to pass the Federal Assault Weapons Ban. After a series of meetings with Clinton's Chief of Staff, Leon Panetta, a longtime friend of Kasich, the assault weapons ban was passed when 42 Republicans crossed party lines and voted to ban assault weapons with the Democrats. His support of the assault-weapons ban angered the National Rifle Association, which gave Kasich an “F” rating in 1994 as a result.
Chairman of the House Budget Committee
Balanced Budget Act of 1997 signing. Kasich, next to Newt Gingrich, was the chief architect & chairman of the House Budget Committee when the budget was last balanced. In 1995, when Republicans gained the majority in the United States Congress following the 1994 election, Kasich became chairman of the House Budget Committee. In 1996, he introduced the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act in the House, an important welfare reform bill signed into law by President Clinton.
During the 1996 presidential campaign, Republican nominee Bob Dole was reported to have considered Kasich as a vice presidential running mate but instead selected Jack Kemp, a former congressman and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
In 1997, Kasich rose to national prominence after becoming "the chief architect of a deal that balanced the federal budget for the first time since 1969"—the Balanced Budget Act of 1997.
In 1998, Kasich voted to impeach President Clinton on all four charges made against him. In 1999, while the Senate prepared to vote on the charges, he said: “I believe these are impeachable and removable offenses.”
2000 presidential campaign See also: Republican Party presidential primaries, 2000
Kasich did not seek re-election in 2000. In February 1999, he formed an exploratory committee to run for president. In March 1999 he announced his campaign for the Republican nomination. After very poor fundraising, he dropped out in July 1999, before the Iowa Straw Poll, and endorsed governor George W. Bush of Texas.
Private sector career (2001–2009) After leaving congress, Kasich went to work for Fox News, hosting Heartland with John Kasich on the Fox News Channel and guest-hosting The O'Reilly Factor, filling in for Bill O'Reilly as needed. He also occasionally appeared as a guest on Hannity & Colmes.
Books Kasich has authored three books. Courage is Contagious, published in 1998, made the New York Times bestseller list. His second book, Stand for Something: The Battle for America's Soul, was published in 2006. In his most recent book, Every Other Monday, published in 2010, he discusses the strength he has drawn from a Bible discussion group he has been part of for many years; this book was also a New York Times bestseller.
Business career Kasich served on the board of directors for several corporations, including Invacare Corporation and the Chicago-based Norvax Inc. In 2001, Kasich joined Lehman Brothers' investment banking division as a managing director, in Columbus, Ohio. He remained at Lehman Brothers until it declared bankruptcy in 2008. That year, Lehman Brothers paid him a $182,692 salary and a $432,200 bonus. He stated that the bonus was for work performed in 2007.
"I wasn't involved in the inner workings of Lehman, I was a banker. I didn't go to board meetings or go and talk investment strategy with the top people. I was nowhere near that. That's like, it's sort of like being a car dealer in Zanesville and being blamed for the collapse of GM."
— John Kasich, in 2010 Political activities from 2001 to 2009 Republicans tried to recruit Kasich to run for Ohio governor in 2006, but he declined to enter the race.
In 2008, Kasich formed Recharge Ohio, a political action committee (PAC) with the goal of raising money to help Republican candidates for the Ohio House of Representatives and Ohio Senate, in an effort to retain Republican majorities in the Ohio General Assembly. Kasich served as honorary chairman of the PAC.
Ohio governor 2010 election
Ohio gubernatorial 2010 election results. Kasich won 63 of the 88 counties.
John Kasich Governor of ohio.png
Main article: Ohio gubernatorial election, 2010
On May 1, 2009, Kasich filed papers to run for governor of Ohio against incumbent Democratic governor Ted Strickland. He formally announced his candidacy on June 1, 2009. On January 15, 2010, Kasich announced Ohio State Auditor Mary Taylor as his running mate.
During a speech before Ashtabula county Republicans in March 2009, Kasich talked about the need to "break the back of organized labor in the schools," according to the Ashtabula Star Beacon.
Ohio teachers' unions supported Democrat Ted Strickland, and after Kasich's gubernatorial victory, he said, “I am waiting for the teachers’ unions to take out full-page ads in all the major newspapers, apologizing for what they had to say about me during this campaign."
Elsewhere, he said he was willing to work with "unions that make things."
On May 4, 2010, Kasich won the Republican nomination for governor, having run unopposed. On November 2, 2010, Kasich defeated incumbent Democrat Ted Strickland in a closely contested race to win the governorship. He was sworn in at midnight on January 10, 2011, in a private ceremony at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus. It was then followed by a ceremonial inauguration at the Ohio Theatre at noon on the same day.
2014 re-election campaign Main article: Ohio gubernatorial election, 2014
Ohio gubernatorial 2014 election results. Kasich won 86 of the 88 counties.
In November 2014, Kasich won re-election, defeating Democrat Ed FitzGerald, the county executive of Cuyahoga County, 64% to 33%. He won 86 of 88 counties.
Kasich, who was elected with Tea Party support in 2010, faced some backlash from some Tea Party activists. His decision to accept the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's expansion of Medicaid caused some Tea Party activists to refuse to support his campaign. Kasich supported longtime ally and campaign veteran Matt Borges over Portage County Tea Party chairman Tom Zawistowski for the position of chairman of the Ohio Republican Party. Zawistowski secured just three votes in his run for the chairmanship. Tea Party groups announced they would support a primary challenger, or, if none emerged, the Libertarian nominee.
Ultimately, Zawistowski failed to field anyone on the ballot and the Libertarian nominee (former Republican State Representative Charlie Earl) was removed from the ballot after failing to gain the required number of valid signatures necessary for ballot access.
Political positions and record The Guardian reports that Kasich is sometimes "billed as a moderate." Kasich’s friend Curt Steiner, former chief of staff to former Republican Ohio governor and U.S. senator George Voinovich, described Kasich as a “solid Republican” with “an independent streak.”
Abortion Kasich is a "firm abortion opponent" and describes himself as pro-life. Since 2011, Kasich has signed 16 anti-abortion measures into law. In June 2013, Kasich signed into law a state budget which mandated abortion providers to offer information on family planning and adoption services in certain situations, and barred abortion providers from entering into emergency transfer agreements with public hospitals. The bill stripped some $1.4 million in federal dollars from Planned Parenthood by placing the organization last on the priority list for family-planning funds. The bill also provided funding to crisis pregnancy centers. Under the budget, rape crisis centers could lose public funding if they counseled sexual assault victims about abortion.
In 2015, Kasich said in an interview that Planned Parenthood "ought to be de-funded" but Republicans in Congress should not force a government shutdown over the issue.
Climate change, energy, and environment In a speech in April 2012, Kasich acknowledged that climate change is real and is a problem. In the same speech Kasich said that the Environmental Protection Agency should not regulate carbon emissions and that instead states and private companies should be in charge of regulating coal-fired power plant emissions. In 2015, Kasich stated that he does not know all the causes of climate change.
In 2014, Kasich signed into law a bill freezing Ohio's renewable portfolio standard (RPS) program for two years. Ohio’s RPS program was created by 2008 legislation and required the state to acquire 12.5 percent of its energy portfolio from renewable sources and to reduce energy consumption by 22 percent by 2025. The legislation signed by Kasich to stop the program was supported by Republican legislative leaders, utility companies, and some industry groups, and opposed by environmentalists, some manufacturers, and the American Lung Association.
In his 2015 budget plan, Kasich proposed raising the tax rate on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) activities. Specifically, Kasich’s plan called for imposing a 6.5 percent severance tax on crude oil and natural gas extracted via horizontal drilling and sold at the source (about $3.25 per $50 barrel of oil), and for an additional 4.5 percent tax per thousand cubic feet on natural gas and liquefied natural gas (about $0.16 per thousand cubic feet). The proposal would not affect conventional drilling taxes.
Kasich formerly supported fracking in Ohio state parks and forests, signing legislation in mid-2011 authorizing him to appoint a five-member commission to oversee the leasing of mineral rights on state land to the highest bidders. In 2012, Kasich aides planned a campaign with a stated goal to “marginalize the effectiveness of communications by adversaries about the initiative” to bring fracking to state parks and forests, naming in an email the Ohio Sierra Club and state Representatives Robert F. Hagan and Nickie Antonio as adversaries of the plan. Kasich never appointed the commission, and the promotional plan was never put into effect. A memo and email relating to the 2012 promotional campaign were publicly released for the first time in February 2015, which according to the Columbus Dispatch attracted criticism from state environmental and liberal groups, as well as Democratic state legislators, who called for an investigation. On the same day the governor reversed himself, with a spokesman saying, “At this point, the governor doesn’t support fracking in state parks. We reserve the right to revisit that, but it’s not what he wants to do right now, and that’s been his position for the past year and a half.”
In April 2015, Kasich signed a bill aimed at protecting Lake Erie's water quality. The bill places restrictions on the spread of manure and other fertilizers that contribute to toxic algal blooms and requires large public water treatment plants to monitor phosphorus levels. The bill had been unanimously approved by both chambers of the Ohio Legislature the previous month.
Kasich is a supporter of the Keystone XL oil pipeline project; along with other Republican governors, Kasich signed an open letter in support of federal approval for the project in February 2015.
Policing and criminal justice Correctional privatization To offset a state budget deficit, Kasich proposed selling five state prisons to the for-profit prison industry. The Lake Erie prison was sold for $72.7 million to the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), generating savings of $3 million. Kasich's Director of Corrections, Gary Mohr, whom he had hired in January 2011, had previously worked for CCA, but he said that he removed himself from the sales process. In an audit in October 2012, CCA was cited for 47 contractual violations, and failed a second audit later that year. In July 2015, the Kasich administration announced its intent to sell the North Central Correctional Institution at Marion, in order to recoup the state’s original investment in the facility and invest the proceeds in community-based alternatives to prison.
Policing standards Following the separate fatal police shootings of John Crawford III and Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy in Ohio, while each were holding BB guns, where grand juries decided not to indict any of the officers involved, Kasich created the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board “to address what he described as frustration and distrust among some Ohioans toward their police departments, particularly among the black community.” The 23-member task force (with 18 members appointed by Kasich) was appointed in January 2015 and issued its 629-page final report and recommendations in April 2015. The report recommended greater accountability and oversight for police agencies and officers, further community education and involvement in policing, and new use-of-force and recruitment, hiring, and training standards for police agencies.
In April 2015, Kasich created the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board, a twelve-member board tasked (in conjunction with the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services and the Ohio Department of Public Safety) with developing statewide standards for the recruiting, hiring and screening of police officers, and for the use of force (including deadly force) by police. The advisory board, the first of its kind in Ohio, was also tasked by Kasich with developing “model policies and best practice recommendations to promote better interaction and communication between law enforcement departments and their home communities.” In August 2015, the board issued its recommendations, which placed “an emphasis on the preservation of human life and restrict officers to defending themselves or others from death or serious injury.”
In August 2015, Kasich said that he was open to the idea of requiring police officers to wear body cameras.
Capital punishment As of July 2015, Kasich had presided over the executions of twelve inmates and commuted the death sentences of five inmates. In January 2015, Kasich announced that, due to pending litigation and other issues, he was delaying all seven executions scheduled through January 2016. At that time, the most recent execution had occurred in January 2014.
Executive clemency According to records obtained by the Columbus Dispatch through a public-records request, Kasich granted 66 of 1,521 requests for executive clemency, about 4.4 percent of the non-death-penalty cases he received and acted upon from 2011 to 2014. This was the lowest clemency rate of any Ohio governor since at least the 1980s, when records began to be kept.
Criminal justice reform issues Kasich supports various criminal justice reform efforts; according to conservative Washington Post columnist George Will, Kasich "favors fewer mandatory minimum sentences and has instituted prison policies that prepare inmates for re-integration into communities." In 2011, Kasich signed sentencing reform legislation which allowed judges to sentence defendants convicted of non-violent fourth- and fifth-degree felonies to “community-based halfway house facilities” instead of prison; expanded the earned credit system to allow inmates to reduce their sentences; and allowed felons who have already served 80 percent or more of their sentences to be immediately released.
In 2012, Kasich signed into law a bill, sponsored by Cleveland Democratic Senator Shirley Smith and Cincinnati Republican Senator Bill Seitz, easing the collateral consequences of criminal conviction.
In September 2014, Kasich touted the Ohio's prison system's recidivism rate, which is one of the lowest in the nation. U.S. Senator Rob Portman, a Republican, attributed a drop in Ohio’s recidivism rate “to the bipartisan work of the state legislature, Governor Kasich, Ohio’s reentry leaders and the success of programs made possible at the federal level by the Second Chance Act,” which Portman sponsored.
In 2015, Kasich proposed a state budget including $61.7 million for addiction treatment services for prisoners.
Drugs Kasich initially expressed opposition to medical marijuana in 2012, saying "There's better ways to help people who are in pain." However, in late 2015 and early 2016 Kasich said he was open to legalization of medical marijuana. In a 2015 interview with radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt, Kasich said he was opposed to the legalization of recreational drugs in some states and equated marijuana and heroin, stating: “In my state and across this country, if I happened to be president, I would lead a significant campaign down at the grassroots level to stomp these drugs out of our country.” When asked whether, if elected president, he would federally enforce marijuana laws in states which have legalized marijuana, Kasich characterized it as a states’ rights issue and said that “I’d have to think about it.”
In March 2014, in an effort to address the opioid epidemic, Kasich signed legislation (passed unanimously in both chambers of the state legislature) expanding the availability of naloxone, a lifesaving antidote to opioid overdoses; the measure allowed friends and family members of addicts to obtain access to naloxone and for first responders to carry naloxone. In July 2015, Kasich signed legislation further expanding the availability of naloxone, making it available without a prescription.
Economic policy State budgets and taxation During Kasich's tenure, the state has eliminated a budget shortfall that his administration has estimated at $8 billion, but which the Cleveland Plain Dealer estimated at closer to $6 billion. (The New York Times put the number at $7.7 billion). Ohio also increased its “rainy day fund” from effectively zero to more than $2 billion.
Kasich "closed the budget shortfall in part by cutting aid to local governments, forcing some of them to raise their own taxes or cut services. And increasing sales taxes helped make the income tax cuts possible." An analysis by the Plain Dealer in March 2016 found that more than 70 cities and villages had lost at least $1 million a year due to Kasich’s budget and taxation policy.
In March 2008, Kasich called for "phasing out" Ohio's state income tax.
During Kasich's time as governor, Ohio ranked 22nd out of the 50 states for private-sector job growth, at 9.3%.
Kasich signed a state budget in 2011 which eliminated the state's estate tax effective January 1, 2013.
In 2013, Kasich signed into law a $62 billion two-year state budget. The budget provided for a 10-percent state income tax cut phased in over three years, and an increase in the state sales tax from 5.5 percent to 5.75 percent. It also included a 50% tax cut for small business owners on the first $250,000 of annual net income. Kasich used his line-item veto power to reject a measure that would stop the Medicaid expansion (which Kasich had accepted from the federal government) to cover nearly 275,000 working poor Ohioans.
In 2015, Kasich signed into law a $71 billion two-year state budget after using his line-item veto power to veto 44 items. The overall 2015 budget provides a 6.3 percent state income-tax cut as a part one component of a $1.9 billion net tax reduction and lowers the top income-tax rate to slightly below 5 percent. The budget also “spends $955 million more in basic state aid for K-12 schools than the last two-year period”; “boosts state funding for higher education to help offset a two-year tuition freeze at public universities”; expands the Medicaid health program; increases cigarette taxes by 35 cents a pack; and “prohibits independent health care and child care workers under contract with the state from unionizing.”
Senate Bill 5 and labor issues On March 31, 2011, in his first year as governor, Kasich signed into law Senate Bill 5, a controversial labor law which restricted collective bargaining rights of public employees, such as police officers, firefighters, and teachers. The legislation, championed by Kasich, prohibited all public employees from striking and restricted their ability to negotiate health care and pension benefits. The final version of the legislation signed by Kasich had passed the state Senate in a 17-16 vote (with six Senate Republicans joining all of the Senate Democrats in voting no) and the state House in a 53-44 vote, with two members abstaining.
Democrats and labor unions opposed the legislation and placed a referendum on the November 2011 ballot to repeal SB 5. SB 5 also “sparked numerous protests with thousands of union workers and other opponents descending on the Statehouse, mirroring similar demonstrations in Wisconsin and injecting Ohio into the national debate over Republican governors’ attempts to curb public workers’ collective bargaining rights.” Kasich and other supporters of SB 5 characterized the legislation as a necessary measure “to help public employers control labor costs” and reduce tax burdens to make Ohio more competitive with other states, while labor unions and other opponents characterized the bill as “a union-busting attack on the middle class.”
Ohio voters rejected Senate Bill 5 in a 61 percent to 39 percent vote, which was viewed as a rebuke to Kasich. On election night, Kasich said in a speech at the Ohio Statehouse that “It’s clear the people have spoken. I heard their voices. I understand their decision. And frankly, I respect what the people have to say in an effort like this.” Following this defeat, Kasich dropped efforts for a broad-based collective bargaining restrictions, although in 2012 he supported a bill including “provisions reminiscent of Senate Bill 5” but applying only to the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.
In May 2015, Kasich rescinded executive orders issued by his predecessor Ted Strickland in 2007 and 2008 that provided the right to home health care contractors and in-home child care contractors to collectively bargain with the state.
Balanced budget amendment Kasich has campaigned for a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Kasich created a 501(c)(4) group, Balanced Budget Forever, to promote the cause.
Civil liberties and electronic surveillance In speaking in the 2016 campaign on domestic surveillance, Kasich has "straddled the line," praising Rand Paul for saying that "we need to get warrants," but also saying "if there's information they need, the government needs to get it." Kasich has said there needs to be “a balance between good intelligence and the need to protect Americans from what can become an aggressive government somewhere down the road.”
On one occasion, Kasich spoke out against proposals to mandate that technology companies provide a "backdoor" for the government to access encrypted devices, saying that this could end up aiding hackers. On a subsequent occasion, Kasich said that encryption was dangerous because it could stymie government antiterrorism investigations.
Kasich has condemned whistleblower Edward Snowden as a traitor.
Education Kasich proposed new legislation which would increase funding to charter schools and poor school districts.
During Kasich's tenure as governor, he pushed to expand charter schools, increase the number of school vouchers that use public money to pay for tuition at private schools, implement a "merit pay" scheme for teachers, and evaluate teachers by student standardized test scores in math and reading. Kasich supports the Common Core State Standards and has criticized Republicans who turned against it.
During Kasich's tenure, funding for traditional public schools declined by about $500 million, while funding for charter schools has increased at least 27 percent. As calculated by the Howard Fleeter/Education Tax Policy Institute, total school funding under Kasich (including both charter and district schools) has ranged from a low of $7.1 billion in fiscal year 2013 to $7.8 billion in fiscal year 2015, which was higher than its previous peak under Kasich’s predecessor, Ted Strickland. As calculated by the Howard Fleeter/Education Tax Policy Institute, Kasich has proposed total school funding of $8.0 billion in fiscal year 2016 and fiscal year 2017. The Ohio Department of Education—which includes more spending areas than Fleeter’s does and so reports higher numbers—projects total school funding for Ohio schools to rise to slightly under $10.5 billion by the end of fiscal year 2017.
Analysts disagree "on whether Kasich's education budgets give increases beyond inflation." In the 2015 state budget, Kasich used his line-item veto power “to cut more than $84 million of funding from public schools.”
According to a September 2014 story in the Columbus Dispatch, Kasich favors allowing public school districts "to teach alternatives to evolution—such as intelligent design—if local school officials want to, under the philosophy of 'local control.'"
Foreign and defense policy In November 2002, Kasich urged the invasion of Iraq, telling a crowd of students at The Ohio State University: "We should go to war with Iraq. It's not likely that (Saddam) Hussein will give up his weapons. If he did he would be disgraced in the Arab world."
In an interview in August 2015, Kasich said: "I would never have committed ourselves to Iraq." A Kasich spokesman subsequently said that “Kasich was not revising history” but was instead saying that the Iraq War was a mistake given the facts available now.
Kasich has said that the U.S. "should've left a base in Iraq" instead of withdrawing troops in 2011.
In 2015, Kasich said that airstrikes were insufficient to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and he would send U.S. ground troops to fight ISIS.
Kasich opposed the 2015 international nuclear agreement with Iran, and in September 2015 was one of fourteen Republican governors who sent a letter to President Obama stating “that we intend to ensure that the various state-level sanctions [against Iran] that are now in effect remain in effect,” despite a landmark international nuclear agreement with Iran.
Kasich has expressed support for the U.S.'s drone program. He has said, however, that the program should be overseen by the Department of Defense, and not by the CIA.
Kasich has said that he wants to lift budget sequestration for military spending, and "spend more if necessary."
In November 2015, Kasich said that if elected president, he "would send a carrier battle group through the South China Sea" to send a message to China regarding their claims of sovereignty there.
LGBT issues In the U.S. House of Representatives in 1996, Kasich joined large, veto-proof majorities in supporting the Defense of Marriage Act (signed into law by President Bill Clinton), which barred federal recognition of same-sex marriage. As governor of Ohio, Kasich signed an executive order banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation for state employees.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Kasich struck a more moderate tone compared to his Republican opponents. In June 2015, following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which held that there is a fundamental right to same-sex marriage under the Fourteenth Amendment, Kasich said that he was "obviously disappointed" and that he believes in “traditional marriage,” but that the ruling was “the law of the land and we’ll abide by it” and that it was “time to move on” to other issues. Kasich indicated that he did not support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to overturn the decision. In response to a debate question about how he would explain his position on same-sex marriage to one of his daughters if she were gay, Kasich responded, “The court has ruled, and I said we’ll accept it. And guess what, I just went to a wedding of a friend of mine who happens to be gay. Because somebody doesn’t think the way I do doesn’t mean that I can’t care about them or can’t love them. So if one of my daughters happened to be that, of course I would love them and I would accept them. Because you know what? That’s what we’re taught when we have strong faith.”
In September 2015, Kasich commented on the highly publicized case of Kim Davis (the Rowan County, Kentucky clerk who refused to comply with a federal court order directing her to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples), saying: "Now, I respect the fact that this lady doesn't agree but she's also a government employee, she's not running a church, I wouldn't force this on a church. But in terms of her responsibility I think she has to comply. I don't think —I don't like the fact that she's sitting in a jail, that's absurd as well. But I think she should follow the law."
Gun policy While in the U.S. House of Representatives, Kasich had a mixed record on gun policy. He was one of 215 Representatives to vote for the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, which became law in 1994, but voted against the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act (“Brady Bill”), which established current background check laws.
As governor, Kasich shifted to more pro-gun positions. In 2011, he signed one bill permitting concealed handguns in bars and another making it easier for people with misdemeanor drug convictions to purchase guns. In 2012, Kasich signed a bill allowing gun owners to transport weapons with loaded magazines in their vehicles and expanding concealed carry permit reciprocity. In December 2014, Kasich signed legislation that reduced the numbers of hours of training required to obtain a concealed carry permit and eliminated the training requirement for permit renewals.
Health care Kasich opted to accept Medicaid-expansion funding provided by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA or "Obamacare") in Ohio. This decision angered many Statehouse Republicans, who wanted Kasich to reject the expansion.
Total spending on Medicaid by the state was almost $2 billion (or 7.6 percent) below estimates for the fiscal year ending in June 2015, according to a report by the administration. The lower than expected costs were attributed to expanded managed care, shorter nursing home stays and increased in-home care for seniors, capitated reimbursement policies, increased automation to determine eligibility for the program and pay care providers, and an improving economy in the state which allowed some participants to move out of the program.
In an October 2014 interview, Kasich said that repeal of the ACA was "not gonna happen" and stated that "The opposition to it was really either political or ideological. I don't think that holds water against real flesh and blood, and real improvements in people's lives." Kasich later said that he was referring solely to the law’s Medicaid expansion, and that “my position is that we need to repeal and replace” the rest of the law.
In 2015, Kasich expressed support for many provisions of the ACA (ensuring coverage for people with preexisting conditions, the use of insurance exchanges, and Medicaid expansion), but opposed mandates.
Immigration In 2010, while running for governor, Kasich expressed support for amending the U.S. Constitution to abolish the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantee of jus soli (birthright) citizenship for people born in the United States. Kasich also told the Columbus Dispatch at the time that “One thing that I don’t want to reward is illegal immigration.”
In 2014, Kasich acknowledged that his stance on immigration has "evolved" because "maybe [I’m] a little smarter now,” stating: “I don’t want to see anybody in pain. So I guess when I look at this now, I look at it differently than I did in ’10. … When I look at a group of people who might be hiding, who may be afraid, who may be scared, who have children, I don’t want to be in a position of where I make it worse for them.” That year, Kasich expressed openness to a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, saying at a Republican Governors Association (RGA) meeting in Florida, “I don’t like the idea of citizenship when people jump the line, [but] we may have to do it.” Kasich was the only governor at the RGA conference “to express openly a willingness to create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.”
In August 2015, while running for president, Kasich called for a path to legal status (but not necessarily citizenship) for undocumented immigrants and for a guest worker program. Kasich also appeared to disavow his earlier stance against birthright citizenship, stating “I don’t think we need to go there”; called for completion of a fence along the U.S.-Mexico border; and noted that undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as young children may obtain driver’s licenses in Ohio.
In October 2015, Kasich criticized Donald Trump's "plan to build a wall along the Mexican border and remove immigrants who entered the United States illegally," calling these notions "just crazy."
Lieutenant governor In 2014, Kasich defended his lieutenant governor, Mary Taylor, after Taylor's chief of staff and that chief of staff's administrative assistant resigned following a timesheet probe. Kasich said of Taylor’s handling of the matter: “Mary did the right thing and I support her.”
Racial diversity in Cabinet Upon taking office in 2011, Kasich received criticism for appointing an initial all-white cabinet of 22 members. Responding to criticism for not appointing any black, Hispanic, or Asian Cabinet members, Kasich said: “I don’t look at things from the standpoint of any of these sort of metrics that people tend to focus on, race or age, or any of those things. It’s not the way I look at things… I want the best possible team I can get.” Shortly afterward, on February 2, 2011, Kasich made his first minority appointment to the Cabinet, naming Michael Colbert, a black man, to lead the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
Transportation Throughout his first gubernatorial campaign, Kasich opposed the Ohio Hub high-speed passenger rail project (a proposed 258-mile Cleveland-to-Cincinnati train) and promised to cancel it.
As governor-elect, Kasich lobbied the federal government to use $400 million in federal dollars allocated for high-speed rail for freight rail projects instead. In a November 2010 letter to Kasich, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood wrote that the federal funding was specifically allocated by the 2009 economic stimulus act for high-speed rail, and could not be used for other purposes. In a December 2010 meeting with President Barack Obama, Kasich again unsuccessfully lobbied to use the grant money for freight rail rather than high-speed rail.
In December 2010, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that Ohio would lose the $385 million in grant funds allocated for high-speed passenger rail, since Kasich had informed them that he had no intention of ever building high-speed rail projects. (Almost $15 million had already been spent for preliminary engineering.) The $385 million was instead diverted to other states, such as California, New York, and Florida, which planned high-speed rail using the grant money for its congressionally intended purpose. Outgoing governor Ted Strickland, who championed the project, expressed disappointment, saying that the loss of funding for the project was “one of the saddest days during my four years as governor” and that “I can’t understand the logic of giving up these vital, job-creating resources to California and Florida at a time when so many Ohioans need jobs.”
Kasich is an opponent of the Cincinnati Streetcar project.
In April 2015, Kasich signed a two-year transportation budget bill which allocated $7.06 billion for highway construction and maintenance, $600 million to local governments for road and bridge projects, and an additional million over the last budget for public transportation.
Voting rights In February 2014, Kasich signed into law a bill which cut six days from Ohio's early voting period, including the "golden week" (a period at the beginning of early voting when voters could both register to vote and cast an in-person absentee ballot). The measures were hotly contested in the state legislature, passing on a party-line vote, with Republicans in favor and Democrats opposed. This measure prompted two federal lawsuits. One, brought by the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio on behalf of the NAACP and League of Women Voters of Ohio, resulted in a settlement in April 2015, in which the state agreed to provide evening and Sunday hours for early voting in elections in Ohio through 2018. The second, still-pending lawsuit was brought in May 2015 by Marc Elias, lead campaign lawyer for Hillary for America; that suit alleges that the Ohio measures disproportionately burden black, Latino and young voters. In July 2015, Kasich said that it was “pure demagoguery” for Hillary Clinton to “say that there are Republicans who are deliberately trying to keep people from voting.”
In April 2015, Kasich used his line-item veto power to veto a provision added to a highway-budget bill by Republicans in the state legislature that would have required college students who register to vote in Ohio to obtain a state driver's license and vehicle registration, imposing an estimated $75 in motor vehicle costs on out-of-state college students who wanted to vote in the state. The veto was celebrated by voting rights advocates, Ohio Democrats, and the Cleveland Plain Dealer editorial board, which viewed the proposal as effectively a “poll tax” motivated by a partisan desire to limit college-town voting.
Judicial appointments In Ohio, justices of the Ohio Supreme Court are elected, but the governor can fill unexpired terms. In May 2012, Ohio Supreme Court Associate Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton announced she would retire at the end of 2012. In December 2012, Kasich appointed Judge Judith L. French to Stratton’s unexpired term, which ran from January 1, 2013 through January 1, 2015.
2016 presidential campaign Main article: John Kasich presidential campaign, 2016
Kasich speaking at a town hall in New Hampshire
In April 2015, he had announced the formation of his "New Day For America" group. Formerly a 527 group, it filed as a Super PAC in July 2015. Between April 20 and June 30, 2015, the super PAC raised over $11.1 million from 165 “reportable contributions,” including 34 contributions of $100,000 or more. Major contributors to the PAC include Floyd Kvamme, who donated $100,000, Philip Geier Jr., who donated $500,000, and Jim Dicke, chairman emeritus of Crown Equipment Corporation, who donated $250,000.
According to FEC filings, Kasich's campaign had $2.5 million on hand at the beginning of 2016.
In May 2015, sources close to him had said he was "virtually certain" to run for the Republican nomination for president. On July 21, 2015, Kasich announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination during a speech at the Ohio Union, the student union of his alma mater, the Ohio State University.
On January 30, 2016, the New York Times endorsed Kasich for the Republican nomination. The Times editorial board strongly rebuked leading candidates Donald Trump and Senator Ted Cruz and wrote that Kasich, "though a distinct underdog, is the only plausible choice for Republicans tired of the extremism and inexperience on display in this race."
On the campaign trail, Kasich sought to project a sunny, optimistic message, describing himself as "the prince of light and hope." This marked a change in tone for Kasich, who had developed a reputation as an abrasive governor.
Kasich came in second place in the New Hampshire primary on February 9, 2016, behind winner Trump. The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that this was "the best possible result" for Kasich and lent "credence to the notion that he can emerge" as a Republican alternative to Trump and Cruz.
Kasich did not win any of the first 22 primaries and caucuses, but on March 15, 2016, came in first place in his home state of Ohio, a winner-take-all primary for Republicans with 66 delegates at stake. Kasich still "faces a steep delegate deficit against his rivals." Kasich’s campaign strategy hinges on the possibility of a contested (or brokered) Republican National Convention, in which no single candidate has enough delegates to win the nomination on the first ballot, something that has not happened in either of the two major parties’ presidential nominating conventions since 1952.
Personal life Kasich has been married twice. His first marriage was to Mary Lee Griffith from 1975 to 1980, and they had no children. Griffith has campaigned for Kasich since their divorce. Kasich and his current wife, Karen Waldbillig, a former public relations executive, were married in March 1997 and have twin daughters, Emma and Reese.
Kasich was raised a Catholic, but considers denominations irrelevant, and stated that "there's always going to be a part of me that considers myself a Catholic." He drifted away from his religion as an adult, but came to embrace an Anglican faith after both his parents were killed in a car crash by a drunk driver on August 20, 1987. Kasich has said he “doesn’t find God in church” but does belong to the St. Augustine church in Westerville, Ohio, which is part of the Anglican Church in North America, a conservative church that broke off from the Episcopal Church.
Electoral history [hide]Election results Year Office Election Candidate Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes %
1982 U.S. House of Representatives General John Kasich Republican 88,335 50% Bob Shamansky Democratic 82,753 47% Russell A. Lewis Libertarian 3,939 2%
1984 U.S. House of Representatives General John Kasich Republican 148,899 70% Richard S. Sloan Democratic 65,215 30%
1986 U.S. House of Representatives General John Kasich Republican 117,905 73% Timothy C. Jochim Democratic 42,727 27%
1988 U.S. House of Representatives General John Kasich Republican 204,892 80% Mark P. Brown Democratic 50,782 20%
1990 U.S. House of Representatives General John Kasich Republican 130,495 72% Mike Gelpi Democratic 50,784 28%
1992 U.S. House of Representatives General John Kasich Republican 170,297 71% Bob Fitrakis Democratic 68,761 29%
1994 U.S. House of Representatives General John Kasich Republican 114,608 67% Cynthia L. Ruccia Democratic 57,294 33% N/A Write-in 443 0%
1996 U.S. House of Representatives General John Kasich Republican 151,667 64% Cynthia L. Ruccia Democratic 78,762 33% Barbara Ann Edelman Natural Law 7,005 3%
1998 U.S. House of Representatives General John Kasich Republican 124,197 67% Edward S. Brown Democratic 60,694 33%
2010 Governor of Ohio General John Kasich Republican 1,889,186 49% Ted Strickland Democratic 1,812,059 47% Ken Matesz Libertarian 92,116 2% Dennis Spisak Green 58,475 2%
2014 Governor of Ohio General John Kasich Republican 1,944,848 64% Ed FitzGerald Democratic 1,009,359 33% Anita Rios Green 101,706 3%