John Kasich Fast Facts

Here is a look at the life of John Kasich, former Republican governor of Ohio and 2016 presidential candidate.


Birth date: May 13, 1952

Birth place: McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania

Birth name: John Richard Kasich Jr.

Father: John Kasich Sr., mail carrier

Mother: Anne Kasich, postal worker

Marriages: Karen (Waldbillig) Kasich (1997-present); Mary Lee Griffith (1975-1980, divorced)

Children: with Karen Kasich: twins Emma and Reese

Education: Ohio State University, B.A. in political science, 1974

Religion: Christian

Other Facts

Last name is pronounced “KAY-sick.”

Kasich’s parents were killed by a drunk driver in 1987, a tragedy he credits with helping him to rediscover his faith.

Describes himself as the “chief architect” of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, signed by President Bill Clinton, which resulted in the first federal budget surplus since the late 1960s.


December 1970 - While a freshman in college, meets with President Richard Nixon in the Oval Office. Weeks earlier, Kasich had handwritten a letter to Nixon which resulted in an invitation to the White House.

1975-1977 - Aide to Ohio State Senator Donald “Buz” Lukens.

November 1978 - Defeats incumbent Democrat Robert O’Shaughnessy to win election to the Ohio state Senate.

November 2, 1982 - Elected to the US House of Representatives, defeating Democratic incumbent Bob Shamansky. Kasich is the only incoming Republican congressman to defeat an incumbent Democrat.

January 3, 1983-January 3, 2001 - Represents Ohio’s 12th Congressional District in the US Congress, winning reelection eight times.

1995-2001 - Chairman of the House Budget Committee.

1998 - Kasich’s book, “Courage is Contagious,” is published.

February 1999 - Announces the formation of a presidential exploratory committee.

July 1999 - Announces that he will not seek the Republican presidential nomination and endorses George W. Bush.

2001-September 2008 - Works for Lehman Brother’s investment banking division in Columbus, Ohio, as managing director until the firm’s collapse.

2002-2007 - Host of “From the Heartland with John Kasich” on Fox News.

2006 - Kasich’s book, “Stand for Something: The Battle for America’s Soul,” is published.

2010 - “Every Other Monday: Twenty Years of Life, Lunch, Faith and Friendship,” written with Daniel Paisner, is published.

November 2, 2010 - Defeats Democratic incumbent Ted Strickland to be elected Ohio governor.

January 10, 2011-January 14, 2019 - Serves as the 69th governor of Ohio.

March 31, 2011 - Kasich signs into law a measure limiting the bargaining rights of public workers - including police, teachers and firefighters - to salaries, employment conditions and hours. The law is held from going into effect pending a referendum in November.

November 2011 - In a referendum on state Senate Bill 5, Ohio voters repeal the controversial law that would limit the collective bargaining rights of public workers.

February 2013 - Announces that Ohio will accept federal money under President Barack Obama’s health care law to expand Medicaid coverage to some 275,000 residents. The decision results in a months-long fight with GOP state lawmakers, but Kasich ultimately prevails in an effort that he frames as both an economic and moral cause.

November 4, 2014 - Reelected governor with 64% of the vote.

July 21, 2015 - Announces his run for the Republican presidential nomination at his alma mater, Ohio State University.

February 21, 2016 - Signs a bill blocking the state from signing contracts for health services with any organization or provider that promotes or performs non-therapeutic abortions. The legislation would effectively cut funding for Planned Parenthood in Ohio. Before the law goes into effect, a federal judge grants an injunction barring the state from enforcing the provisions of the measure.

May 4, 2016 - Suspends his presidential campaign.

July 18, 2016 - Kasich is criticized by an Ohio congressman for declining to attend the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. When the Ohio governor dropped out of the presidential race, he did not endorse Donald Trump.

December 14, 2016 - Signs a bill banning abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy but vetoes a measure, known as the “heartbeat bill,” that would have barred abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. Typically, the heartbeat is detected six weeks after conception.

April 24, 2017 - CNN hosts a town hall with Kasich.

April 25, 2017 - His book, “Two Paths: America Divided or United,” is published.

January 15, 2019 - CNN announces that Kasich will join the network as a senior political commentator.

October 15, 2019 - His book “It’s Up to Us: Ten Little Ways We Can Bring About Big Change,” is published.

March 20, 2023 - MSNBC announces that Kasich will join MSNBC and NBC News as a contributor.

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