Interview
with Congressman John Kasich of Ohio
Run The Country from the Bottom Up
John Kasich talked with DEMOCRACY IN ACTION in Cedar Rapids on June 12, 1998 in the Pioneer PAC hospitality suite after his speech at the Iowa GOP's "First in the Nation Gala."
Kasich | News
  • QUESTION What is your first political memory?

  •  
  • QUESTION Was there somebody who was particularly helpful or influential in getting you started in politics? 

  •  
  • QUESTION What do you remember about your first campaign for public office?  

  •  
  • QUESTION What has been your most satisfying accomplishment as an elected official? 

  •  
  • QUESTION What has been your greatest disappointment as an elected official? 

  •  
  • QUESTION Describe a defining moment in your life. 

  •  
  • QUESTION Do you have a framework, a formula, or a set of criteria for thinking about the proper role of the federal government?

  •  
  • QUESTION Are there any aspects of the process by which we elect our president that you think should be changed?

  •  
  • QUESTION Americans seem disengaged from national politics. Is this a problem in your view, and are there any steps we can take to get people more involved? 

  •  
  • QUESTION What is the greatest challenge facing the country today?

  •  
  • QUESTION A lot of people are thinking about running for the White House. What do you offer that sets you apart? 

  •  
  • QUESTION What do you do for fun? 

What is your first political memory? 

KASICH: My first political memory was when Michael Amos Manno (sp?), a conservative Democratic judge…a supreme court judge in Pennsylvania, went up to eat dinner at my best buddy's house because it was his uncle. And that's the first time I knew that's what politics was, really… It was probably when I was about 12 years old. 
 

 


Was there somebody who was particularly helpful or influential in getting you started in politics?

KASICH: Well my mother had a lot of opinions on things and she was kind of politically active and just aware and that probably got me more interested in it than anything else. And, some of my teachers in school. 

My first involvement in politics in a formal basis was when I visited the president of the United States in the White House when I was 18. [Kasich, then a freshman at OSU, wrote a favorable letter to President Nixon. Nixon invited him to visit, and Kasich met the president in the Oval Office in December 1970]. 
 

 


What do you remember about your first campaign for public office?

KASICH: All the people. The people provided the energy.
 
 

 


What has been your most satisfying accomplishment as an elected official?

KASICH: I've had so many, I can't say that one ranks…getting the budget passed, getting the budget agreement through, being elected to Congress the first time in 1982, being elected to the state senate the first time, being with Ronald Reagan in 1976 in the Alameda Hotel right after he lost the primary. There've been so many where I've been able to just be amazed.
 

 


What has been your greatest disappointment as an elected official?

KASICH: I'm not anybody that really kind of remembers the disappointments. I don't have anything I regret in my career.
 

 


Describe a defining moment in your life.

KASICH: The defining moments in my life really happened right after my parents were killed by a drunk driver. It forced me to search…to figure out what I was all about, what is really important in life…
 

 


Do you have a framework, a formula, or a set of criteria for thinking about the proper role of the federal government?

KASICH: Yeah, a lot of it though is common sense. I'm just basically a believer that people are very capable and very smart and they ought to have a chance to get the job done.  
 

 


Are there any aspects of the process by which we elect our president that you think should be changed?

KASICH: I like the way it works right now with Iowa and New Hampshire being first and second because they're states where I can come in here and be able to get to meet people and be successful. As opposed to a state where you've got to spend millions of do llars for people to get to know you. So I think the system works fine, and I'll let you know when it's over.  
 

 


Americans seem disengaged from national politics. Is this a problem in your view, and are there any steps we can take to get people more involved?

KASICH: That's because their lives are pretty good. They're disengaged from politics because they don't really see a reason to be involved and the minute they do they'll be engaged. They get involved when they think its important for them to be involved. I don't think we have to worry about that. I mean I'd like to see more young people vote, but people have been talking about this for a hundred years. The system works. 
 

 


What is the greatest challenge facing the country today?

KASICH: Getting people to believe that they can make a huge difference in the way the country works and restoring a basic sense of virtues and values.
 

 


A lot of people are thinking about running for the White House. What do you offer that sets you apart?

KASICH: I offer a vision of what I think the government ought to look like. I think we ought to run the country from the bottom up rather than the top down. I would be one that would work aggressively to try to restore our sense of virtue, and finally I wo uld do everything I could to convince people that they can do anything they want to do it they set their minds to it.
 

 


What do you do for fun?

Rock and roll, lifting weights, playing golf and kissing my wife.

 

Copyright 1998  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action

 
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