Born May 13, 1952 in McKees Rock, Pennsylvania, John Kasich was the son of parents who worked for the post office. He spent his formative years in that community, taking an active role in his high school and local church.
After high school, Kasich attended Ohio State University, majoring in political science. As a freshman, he persuaded the university president to hand carry a letter to a meeting the OSU president was attending with the then president of the United States, Richard Nixon. Nixon, struck by the letter from the university freshman, issued an invitation to the White House and Kasich spent ten minutes in the Oval Office chatting with Nixon.
Upon earning his bachelor's degree in political science from OSU, Kasich landed a job in the Ohio Senate as a political aide to a Republican Senator. At age 26, after working behind the scenes, Kasich ran for the Ohio Senate. Successfully beating the incumbent, he served for one term. At age 30, in a race for the 12th Congressional District seat, he was the only Republican in the country to defeat an incumbent Democrat, thereby entering the U.S. House of Representatives in 1982.
From 1983 until 2001, Kasich represented Ohio's 12th District in Congress. Assigned to the Armed Services Committee, he attracted notice as he began to scrutinize spending by the Defense Department and declared his opposition to the B-2 bomber. He served on the Armed Services Committee during his entire tenure in Congress and traveled to Kuwait, Russia and Bosnia, as well as other countries.
In 1989, he was assigned to serve as a minority member of the House Budget Committee. Kasich began to prepare and offer for consideration his own budget proposals. His alternative budgets began to garner support among his peers. In 1993, the budget he jointly sponsored with Democrat Tim Penny from Minnesota missed passage in the House by only six votes.
When the Republicans took control of the House in the midterm elections of 1994, Kasich was appointed chairman of the House Budget Committee, bypassing more senior members. This is a position he would hold until his retirement from Congress in 2000. As chairman, Kasich was the architect of the balanced budget agreement of 1997. He also chaired the House-Senate committee that wrote the 1996 Welfare Reform Bill.
In April 1998, Kasich was named by Newsweek as one of its "100 People for the 21st Century". His book, Courage is Contagious, was published in October 1998. He wrote about ordinary citizens taking extraordinary actions to make a difference in their lives and the lives of those around them.
Kasich also wrote Stand for Something: The Battle for America's Soul in 2006 and Every Other Monday: Twenty Years of Life, Lunch, Faith and Friendship in 2010.
In 1999, Kasich explored a run for the 2000 Republican presidential nomination, eventually throwing his support to candidate George W. Bush. Deciding to take his life in new directions, he chose not to run for re-election in 2000 and instead turned to careers in business and the media. After retiring from Congress, he moved back to the Westerville, Ohio area with his wife and twin daughters.
In 2010, John R. Kasich defeated incumbent Ted Strickland in a race for governor of Ohio and took office in January 2011.
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