Heads up: you have to hire a new president.
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Westerville, Ohio. It’s just outside of Columbus.
I like to play golf.
What's your handicap?
You can know just about anything you want, but that’s one that stays private. But I’m pretty good.
How do you pronounce your last name?
Kay-sick. It rhymes with basic.
Tell us about yourself.
I have twin daughters who are gonna turn 16 on the 16th of January, 2016. I have a wife who is very smart and pretty. My daughters are smart and pretty. I’m lucky. I’m in public office, but I’m normal. I lead a very normal life.
What's the most normal thing about you?
One person described me many years ago when I was a congressman. It was a young boy who had a very serious illness. He told his mother, he said ‘John Kasich is just a kid in a congressman’s body.’ That’s sort of what I am. A kid in a governor’s body.
So, why should America hire you?
Well because I have had good results in bringing people together, improving the economy, putting us in a position of good job creation, and I don’t think we should leave anybody behind. Especially people in the shadows.
Who should we call for a reference?
Can you call 11.5 million people in the state of Ohio? That’s who can give you a reference.
What's your greatest strength?
What's your greatest weakness?
When I don’t refresh myself with the messages from the Scriptures.
How important is your faith to you?
Very important. Well, because it gives you perspective on life….Inevitably the storms come. And the question is, is your house built on sand or is it built on solid rock? And faith gives you the sense that somebody greater than you is in charge and that all things will work in the end for good for those that love God.
Gun Control and President Obama's recent executive actions.
Well I personally take executive actions, but I do it mostly in coordination with the leadership of the legislature. Because if you don’t, you’re gonna create huge problems down the road. Secondly, I’m a second amendment person. I think the one aspect of the president’s plan I like is the effort to make sure we deal with the mentally ill and keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill.
Are you in favor of the background checks?
Oh yeah, we have background checks on the books right now.
Well the economy is poor. That’s why young people can’t get jobs, it’s why people in their 50s get laid off, and it’s why wages aren’t growing faster. So I was actually chairman of the budget committee when we balanced the budget and cut taxes. And the economy in America was strong and now the economy in Ohio is strong. One of the strongest in the country. So you create certainty. You limit your regulations, you cut taxes, and you’re fiscally responsible. It creates certainty for job creators. Because in uncertain times, you won’t survive.
I’m for finishing the border so we can protect the country. A guest worker program so people can come in and out, work and go home. And for the 11.5 million people who broke the law to get here, if they haven’t broken the law while they’ve been here, then I would give them a path to legalization. Maybe pay back taxes as a fine. If you’ve violated the law since you’ve been here, then that’s a different story.
What about letting in migrants and refugees, specifically from Syria?
We have to be able to determine who these folks are. At this point, I think we should take a pause.
Education and student loans.
Well number one, I think potential students shouldn’t go to school on the basis of brand. They should go on the basis of affordability….The leaders of our universities need to be mindful of their administrative costs, which they’re not doing a good job of. And in addition, students in high school should be able to take both remedial courses to prepare themselves for college and secondly, to get college credit. And if you have big debt, there’s two things we can think about. One is to perhaps give employers an incentive to help you pay that debt. And secondly, the idea of some sort of a legitimate community service to help you work off some of your debt.
Right to choose. Yes or No?
I’m pro-life. With the exception of rape, incest, and life of the mother.
Federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
I’m not for it. But I am for robust women’s health funding. Just not in the hands of an organization that I think has really been discredited.
Supreme Court's ruling on gay marriage.
I follow it. I’ve accepted it.
Were you in favor of it?
No, I’m for traditional marriage. But now that the court has ruled that’s where we’re gonna go and I’ve been to my first gay wedding. They had really good champagne….Just because you go to a wedding, doesn’t mean you’re gonna get good champagne.
Would you change anything about how the US is handling this whole ISIS thing?
I would put a coalition together and I would destroy them.
Does that mean boots on the ground?
It does. It means that we’ll have to be there and be the leader. And we have to destroy them. Because if we don’t destroy them, they’re coming to destroy us.
Where do you stand on Syrian President Assad?
Assad has to go. He’s aligned with Iran and Russia and that’s a very dangerous alliance and he has to go. I would not have the US directly involved in the civil war, but we delayed too long in supporting the rebel groups. And now we’re sort of obfuscating about whether he should stay or go, and I think he should go.
What is a political position you've changed your mind on?
I can’t think of one.
I think that human beings affect the climate, but I don’t think we know to what degree. And I think we have to be careful that as we deal with it, we don’t put people out of work. I believe in all forms of energy, including renewables. I believe in solar and wind. But I also believe in traditional sources, because if we drive up the cost of energy, then there are gonna be people who manufacture it who lose their jobs.
Well I want to repeal Obamacare, but I have a plan to replace it so that people who are the working poor can still get health insurance. And secondly, I wanna change the whole model of health insurance to reward doctors who either keep us healthy or get us healthy and who offer higher quality and lower prices. And I wanna put money in their pocket for achieving lower prices and higher quality.
The Expansion of Medicaid in Ohio...it ruffled some feathers with members of your own party...
That’s life. I politely disagree with them, and not always as politely as I should. I’m not in politics to win a poll. I’m in politics to improve people’s lives. And because of the expansion of Medicaid, we have people whose lives have been saved and I’m very, very happy about that.
What would you ask the white house chef to make for your first meal?
My favorite food is pasta. I guess it’s not good for us, but I don’t care.
What are you watching on Netflix right now?
I don’t have Netflix. But what I just watched was “The Butler”....and I just got done watching Star Wars Six with my daughter. Six, not the new one.
How many times do you hit snooze in the morning?
I don’t. I sleep in late enough where I have to get up.
How do you take your coffee?
2016 is here, and Gov. Kasich only has eyes for New Hampshire. A good performance there could be his last chance to show voters that he’s the best alternative to the Trump in the room.