Billing himself as a centrist from a critical swing state, Kasich announced his candidacy in July 2015 urging a bipartisan effort to fix the economy. “We are going to take the lessons of the heartland and straighten out Washington, D.C.,” he told a crowd at Ohio State University. Kasich told CNN in February that he would deploy American troops on the ground to defeat ISIS, noting that airstrikes will “either preserve the status quo, or they’ll make slight gain.” Kasich has pledged to increase military spending, reform entitlement programs such as Medicaid and Medicare and would work with Congress to pass a resolution amending the U.S. Constitution to require a balanced budget. Kasich supports Common Core education standards, reducing personal and corporate taxes and prefers a pathway to legal status — although not citizenship — for undocumented immigrants.
Kasich, 63, a Republican, is a two-term governor of Ohio, first winning the office in 2010 and then re-elected by a 30-point margin in 2014. Born in McKees Rocks, Pa., Kasich served nine terms in the House of Representatives in Ohio’s 12th district from 1983-2001. Kasich served for six years as chairman of the House Budget Committee and 18 years on the House Armed Services Committee. He ran for president in 1999 but dropped out of the race after five months. After leaving Congress, he became managing director of Lehman Brothers investment banking division. He remained in the position until the company declared bankruptcy during the global financial collapse in 2008. Kasich has served as a commentator on the Fox News Channel, hosting “Heartland with John Kasich,” and wrote three books. He is a graduate of Ohio State University with a bachelor of arts degree in political science. Kasich has been married to his second wife, Karen, for 17 years. The couple have twin daughters, Emma and Reese. He divorced from his first wife, Mary Lee Griffith, in 1980 after five years of marriage.