John Richard Kasich was born in the industrial town of McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh. He studied political science at Ohio State University where, through clever maneuvering, good fortune, or both, he managed to convince the University's President to personally deliver a letter written by Kasich to Richard Nixon, then-current occupant of the White House. Expressing admiration and respect for the sitting President, the letter impressed Nixon, who agreed to meet with Kasich in person while Kasich was still a freshman.
While he has traditionally gravitated towards politics, Kasich has also had an active business career. He worked as managing director of the highly controversial Lehman Brothers' Columbus, Ohio office, until the firm collapsed in 2008. While this was only one of his management jobs, it is likely to be brought up in the future.
Kasich has undeniably shined in the field of politics, however. He served as an Ohio State Senator beginning when he was 26, the youngest person ever to be elected to that office. Later, he ran for and won a seat in the US House of Representatives, also for Ohio. Following his service in the House, Kasich took a break from active politics to host a Fox News talk show from 2001 to 2007, then in 2010, jumped back into the fray with his greatest political accomplishment to date: He was elected the 69th Governor of Ohio, and remains in that role today.
A Republican throughout his career, Kasich espouses strong conservative values, and has generally enacted them as Governor. When first elected, he prioritized eliminating Ohio's multibillion-dollar budget shortfall without raising taxes. He signed a balanced budget into law in 2011, and in fact, he has cut taxes in Ohio several times. He is anti-abortion, and signed a controversial bill placing restrictions on the procedure and women's access to it. He also strongly favored a labor law that would have imposed harsh strictures on collective bargaining rights in his state, but when that matter went to a popular vote, the proposition was defeated with 61% opposition.
On the other hand, Kasich has angered many conservatives with his treatment of Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act. While saying he is opposed to most of the law and that he favors the “repeal and replace” goal of the Republican party, he has used increased federal funding made available by the law to strengthen Medicaid in Ohio. Tea Party activists have strongly denounced him for this, and many within the Tea Party refuse to support him because of it.
Nevertheless, Kasich's conservative credentials are solid. He announced his candidacy for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination on July 21, 2015 and is expected to be a strong GOP contender, likely appealing to many on the political right. While he may encounter the displeasure of the Tea Party, he will be embraced by many others within his tent, and generally promises to be a strong Republican candidate.
LIVE NOW - John Kasich announcement at Ohio State, his alma mater.
Governor Kasich begins his speech 58 minutes into the video.