A second-generation American, John Richard Kasich lived in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania before attending Ohio State University (OSU). While a freshman, Kasich convinced the president of OSU to deliver a handwritten note of admiration to then-current President Richard Nixon, who wrote back the next day requesting a meeting.
Kasich graduated with a degree in political science, and immediately entered the field as a researcher for the Ohio Legislative Service Commission. At the age of 26, as the youngest member of the Ohio Senate, his first act remained true to his anti-government spending values, as he refused a pay raise. Four years later, Kasich defeated incumbent Democrat Bob Shamansky for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. He remained a fiscal conservative, criticizing programs created by both parties while working alongside unlikely ally Ralph Nader to close tax loopholes and reduce subsidies for the rich. As chairman of the House Armed Services committee, he was described as “hawkish”, but still argued against unnecessary defense spending. Other defining votes and accomplishments during his time in the House include voting for the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, designing the Balanced Budget Act that would be signed into law by President Bill Clinton, and introducing welfare reform based on personal accountability.
After serving the House for 18 years, Kasich went into the private sector, serving on many boards of directors, working for Fox News, and publishing several books. However, nine years after leaving politics, he entered into a race for Governor of Ohio in 2010 against the incumbent Democrat Ted Strickland and won by a small margin. His victory came with support from the Tea Party, who then created an uproar when he accepted a Medicaid expansion for Ohio.
Kasich maintains a consistently pro-life record, especially with legislation during his terms as Governor. He has experience in police reform, creating an advisory panel to identify good and bad practices and supporting the use of body cameras. On the topic of border security, he has no comprehensive plan but has repeated that the deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants is impractical.
Kasich announced his plans to run for president at his alma mater, OSU, on July 21, 2015. While he has not fared well in national polls, — sitting now at 2.4 percent after peaking at 3.5 — he has gained some traction in New Hampshire, currently polling in fifth place at 10.5 percent.