Opinion: Kasich 2016 worth a thought

Ray Paoletta is a senior political science major. Contact him at [email protected].

Ray Paoletta

As Hillary Clinton, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and others announce their candidacy for the White House, Ohio’s own Gov. John Kasich is flying under the radar. 

Kasich was first elected governor of Ohio in 2010, defeating incumbent Ted Strickland, and overwhelming defeated Ed Fitzgerald to win reelection in the swing state during the 2014 election. In addition to serving as governor, Kasich served in the U.S. House of Representatives and spent time in the private sector.

While in Congress, Kasich served in the Armed Services Committee during his whole tenure, giving him foreign policy experience that governors usually lack. Furthermore, Kasich served on the House Budget Committee and later went on to chair the committee from 1994 to 2000. Kasich is considered the architect of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, which resulted in surpluses for the remainder of Kasich’s time in Congress.

On top of Kasich’s congressional experience and accomplishments, he has continued to demonstrate his ability to lead as the governor of Ohio.

When Kasich was elected governor in 2010, Ohio had an $8 billion budget deficit and only 89 cents in the rainy day fund. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, by June 2013 the governor had Ohio running a budget surplus and a rainy day fund of $1.48 billion. When first elected, the governor also had to deal with an unemployment rate of 9 percent. Today, Ohio’s unemployment rate sits at 5.1 percent, which is better than the national unemployment rate. 

On top of showing his fiscal conservatism, Kasich has also taken steps to appeal to moderate and independent voters by showing off a softer side.

In 2013, Kasich went against most Ohio Republicans when he went to the Ohio Controlling Board to expand Medicaid to those making 38 percent above the federal poverty line, and he expects to keep the expansion of Medicaid in place, despite continued opposition from his own party. Those suffering from mental illness have also been aided under Kasich’s tenure. The Columbus Dispatch reports that expanding Medicaid frees up around $70 million that counties can redirect to various forms of mental illness treatments. Housing and employment are two areas that will likely see increased funding for those suffering mental illness.

Kasich is a proven fiscal conservative who has balanced budgets at both the state and federal levels and cut taxes for all Ohioans. Furthermore, he has showed a more moderate side by supporting Medicaid expansion and giving a hand up, not a hand out, to those most in need. 

Lastly, Kasich has been on a different kind of campaign trail across the country in support of a balanced budget amendment to the US Constitution. If Kasich can succeed in forcing a convention to amend the Constitution, he will be moving full force forward with momentum that any candidate will have a hard time stopping. 

As he flies under the radar, Kasich should be considered as a serious possibility in 20