We returned to the Waterloo Center for the Arts on December 17th to hear John Kasich speak. Governor Kasich arrived on time, with no fanfare. Basically someone walked into the room, and after a few moments everyone noticed, "Hey, that's the Governor!" and applauded. While he was introduced he walked over to the water cooler for a drink.
Kasich's style was surprising. He was more down-to-earth than most other candidates. While most candidates create a boundary between themselves and the audience, sometimes even with an actual rope separating the stage, Kasich acted as if his job was to break those boundaries and actually talk with (rather than to) the audience.
Miscellaneous Facts: Kasich is 63 years old. He is the grandson of Czech and Croatian immigrants. John Kasich is an Anglican, has been married to Karen Kasich since 1997, has two daughters, and is around 6 feet tall.
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Kasich started by briefly speaking about the national defense. He then talked about his work on the Budget Committee in the '90s, when they balanced the budget, cut taxes, and created jobs. He's worried about national security, and also about hog prices, the economy, and finding jobs for young people.
When he left politics for ten years in 2000 there was a surplus. He worked for Lehman Brothers and Fox News. Then he ran for governor. The state of Ohio was in bad shape with the budget in a hole. Kasich became governor and taxes were cut by almost 5 billion. They added 400,000 jobs, killed the death tax, and now are "working on killing death, but haven't made a lot of progress." In Ohio they've cut spending. Kasich says he knows how to balance the budget again and wants to take his formula to Washington D.C. First fix the economy and then build up our defense.
Q: Tell us about your the old Penny-Kasich Plan.
A: Republicans and Democrats worked together to cut a penny out of every dollar we were spending. If anyone objected to any spending cut, we took it out. We would have cut a billion dollars, but it was defeated by the Republicans and Democrats on the appropriations committee--who worked together to defeat it.
Q: What would you think of a plan to reduce nuclear arsenals down to 1000 weapons?
A: I don't think that's a good idea. Cuts are good; we don't want proliferation. But what I'm worried about is the non-state actors like ISIS.
Q: Should Ohio women have to cross the border into Michigan to find reproductive healthcare?
A: We won't fund Planned Parenthood. It can exist if it can support itself.
Q: Where can women find healthcare if not at Planned Parenthood?
A: Respectable hospitals. We're not going to eliminate healthcare.
A: We need to close our border so illegal immigrants can't come in. Legal immigration is good. Once our border is closed, institute a guest-worker program for the illegal immigrants already here. Once the wall is built, if more illegals come in, send them back. Reagan let those already in stay, but the problem was he never protected the borders. Once that is done, we can give the 11 million here a path to legal residency, not citizenship.
As for welfare, as someone once said, it's a sin not to help those who are in need, but it's also a sin to help when what people need is to help themselves. I authored a bill that would make any able-bodied adult work or study 20 hours a week to be eligible for food stamps, and 30 hours a week to be eligible for cash assistance. Welfare should be based on the values of each state--Iowa, Minnesota values. We need businesses coming to welfare offices to seek employees. We've taken big steps in welfare reform, but they're not big enough.
The Mormon church has Welfare Square. Members pay their tithes, and then whether you're a Mormon or not, if you're in need, they'll feed you and help you find work. We need to help people, but not make government assistance a way of life. The Democrats get hysterical, "You'll be sending people out to the streets!" When we reformed welfare, what we did was help people nearly trapped by the system.
Q: What's your stance on the climate; do you believe it's changing?
A: The climate is changing, yes, and humans do affect it, but how much they affect it is undetermined. We need to develop all energy sources, coal, gas, solar, and more, but efficiently. We don't need laws that will make people lose jobs. We need to find a balance of sensitivity to our environment and to our people.
A: It's in effect till 2022. I fought it in the Senate. Grassley was smarter than I. Let's keep it how it is.
Q: Trump wants to stop all immigration of Syrian refugees. What's your stance?
A: Pausing immigration of Syrian refugees is not tantamount to a ban on all Muslims. Take a balanced approach.
Q: I'm a student. Recently there have been moves to limit insensitive speech on college campuses. What type of leadership will you bring to the nation and colleges?
A: I'm not for limiting free speech on campus. Of course if someone uses bad language that should be taken care of.
A: I don't think so. We need to arm the Ukraine. What Russia has done there and in Georgia is outrageous. We don't need them to be our enemy, but we need to make clear they can't just go trumping into other countries. If they want to help fight ISIS, that's good. But they should not violate international norms of territory.
A: We need to balance the budget. I have a plan. Ohio was 20% in the hole, but now we have a 20 billion dollar surplus. I know from experience how to get us back on track. I'll freeze new regulations for one year, except for those necessary for health and safety. We'll have tax cuts, with a top rate of 28% and other rates of 25% and 10%. Some say we should get rid of the IRS. That's not realistic. But we'll cut down the corporate tax to 25%. We'll restrain our spending, and retire the debt with fast economic growth.
Q: Your plan is to balance the budget and start paying back the debt within 8 years. Why not in your first term?
A: Some say they can balance the budget in four years. We have to take a measured approach. When I was chairman, we balanced the budget in '95. We had a good plan and we improved Ohio. But any legislation to slash all the programs necessary within four years is not going to pass. It's campaign rhetoric, and it's not going to happen. In my first 100 days as president, I will send Congress a comprehensive plan, and I will fight for it. I'll also fight to strengthen our military and reform the Pentagon.
Q: The United States grew with railroads. Trucking took over, and we, regrettably, abandoned rails. We have problems with both railroads and roads. How can we improve railroad infrastructure...and the roads?
A: We're not going to rebuild all the tracks. We do pay a federal gas tax to improve the roads. The transportation committee designed a program for a "high speed train" in Ohio. It would operate at 39 miles per hour! I didn't like the scheme. States should be able to send the two-cent federal gas tax to Washington DC and keep the rest. As it is, the state collects the tax, sends it to DC, and it comes back to the state as less. We can't toll roads if federal money has gone into building them. In Ohio we decided to independently build a turnpike. We were able to retire the debt, make a billion dollars, and we have some of the best roads in the country. Things work well when the states have control.
Q: What do you think of executive orders and Obamacare?
A: As a governor, I like executive authority. But I talk with the legislature before giving orders. Sometimes they don't want to vote on an issue, so I can just make an executive order to take care of it for them. But executive orders should be limited in scope. The Affordable Care Act does not work. I want to replace it, but I don't want there to be 10 million people without healthcare. We got the Affordable Care Act because Republicans would not address the problem. The federal government and states should work together to make sure there is insurance for the working poor.
Q: What will be your goal as President?
A: To rebuild our economy. If all we do is bicker, we will become weaker in the eyes of the world. My second goal will be to rebuild our military. If America does not lead, bad things will happen. We can't lead from behind.
Q: Why can't we get along with Russia? Russia had to intervene in the Ukraine because of ethnic cleansing.
A: I disagree with you. The Russians trumped up charges so they could invade the Ukraine. We don't have to be their enemy, but we have to let them know they cannot do things like that.
Q: We promised the Ukraine we would protect them when they agreed to hand over their nuclear force. We're not keeping our word.
A: Right. If America does not stand for basic principles, it's a loss to the world, and no one respects us. The Chinese are launching cyber-attacks against us and claiming the South China Sea as their own. We need a good policy against this. And we need to stand against our enemy ISIS as well.
Q: Do you plan to stop same-sex marriages?
A: I personally believe in traditional marriage, but the courts spoken. So, I'm just going to go ahead and live life. I went to my first gay marriage just recently. I don't agree with it, but a friend was getting married, so I went.
Further Resources: You can visit John Kasich's website to learn more about him and read his stance on the important issues. You can also read about him on Wikipedia.
Kasich's books: Courage is Contagious (1999), Stand for Something (2006), Every Other Monday (2011).
My Remarks: I thought it was very neat to see how Kasich interacted with the audience. He asked them questions, patted someone on the back, ducked to hide behind Kathleen to (jokingly) avoid someone taking a video, and talked with them about the things that mattered to them (even football).
I was dismayed when Planned Parenthood supporters basically kicked Kasich out as soon as he was done speaking. My sister and I had to leave the room with Kasich to get pictures with him out in the hallway! Kasich was very nice and even personalized his autograph for me. I'm sure there were other people who wanted to meet with Kasich as well, but the opportunity was ruined. Regardless of what you believe or whom you support, rudeness is not acceptable.
Disclaimer: Candidates' speeches are reconstructed from my imperfect notes. If you notice any mistakes, just let me know. I would not intentionally misrepresent anyone's position. I am not endorsing any candidate or candidate's position at this time, and no candidate has endorsed me. And yes, I do realize that often speeches are to some extent propaganda, but it's interesting to me to see the points candidates consider as most important.
For my personal political views, please see this article.
For my personal political views, please see this article.