In November 2014, John Kasich won re-election to his second term as Ohio's governor, but he's also been linked as a possible candidate for the 2016 presidential race. Long before politics, Kasich's drive and determination were on display, whether he was an altar boy admonishing the congregation or a college freshman trying to tag along to a meeting with President Richard Nixon.
Here are seven highlights from the pre-politics life of Kasich.
Kasich grew up in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania, not far from Pittsburgh, and his father — a well-respected mailman — maintained a blue-collar work ethic. So, when Kasich asked his father, John Kasich Sr., if he would use his connections to land him a spot on a local Little League team, John Kasich Sr., refused. Wrote John Kasich Jr. in his 2006 book, "Stand for Something: The Battle for America's Soul": "He said, 'Johnny, I’m not going to owe anybody anything. I’m sorry, but you’re going to have to earn your way on to one of those teams.'"
Urgent: Do You Support John Kasich for the GOP Nomination? Vote Here Now
2. One day as an altar boy at Mother of Sorrows, Kasich grew impatient
with the lack of enthusiasm by the congregation as it sang, and midway through the song, he stopped the audience to complain about its passion for the hymn. It was only later that he was told that Kasich had made a mistake, sending the congregation to the wrong page in the prayer book.
In his book, "Every Other Monday: Twenty Years of Life, Lunch, Faith and Friendship,"
Kasich remembers a conversation he had as a 13-year-old with his friend, Dave, when, while looking at a dark sky, he witnessed a flock of birds emerge from a cloud as if by magic. "Do you think," Kasich asked his friend, "that was the Holy Spirit, in those birds?" Dave allowed that it could have been. Wrote Kasich, "Even at a young age, I was hungry for talk of God and spirituality."
When Kasich first arrived at Ohio State to begin college, he received a dorm citation, and he was so angry about it, he complained directly to the university president. Then, Kasich asked to tag along to a meeting with President Richard Nixon scheduled for the next day. He was denied that request, but Kasich still convinced the university president to deliver a letter to Nixon, and a few months later, Nixon invited Kasich to the White House to discuss matters.
Vote Now: Which Potential GOP Candidate Would You Support in 2016?
The meeting with Nixon lasted less than a half-hour, but it was a thrill that Kasich hasn't forgotten. Wrote Kasich in his book, "Stand For Something," "The bad news is I would go on to spend 18 years in Congress, and if you go back and add up all the time I spent alone in the Oval Office with various presidents, you’ll see it doesn’t come close to those 20 minutes. I guess I peaked out at the age of 18. That’s when I should have retired.”
Kasich met his wife, Karen Waldbillig, when she set up a photo shoot for him to be featured in the Ohio State football media guide. After that shoot, Kasich — then a first-term Congressman — told his chief of staff, "I've just seen the most beautiful woman I've ever seen." Waldbillig didn't know Kasich was interested in her, even after he followed up with a phone call. Said Waldbillig afterward:
"Wasn't that nice? None of those other [media guide subjects] called to thank me!" The two married in 1997.
In between his time as an Ohio congressman and Ohio's governor, Kasich hosted two shows on Fox News called, "Heroes with John Kasich" and "From the Heartland." One of his biggest interviews was with Bono
after the U2 lead singer had been named one of Time magazine's Persons of the Year for 2005.
Urgent: Who Should the GOP Nominate in 2016? Vote Here Now
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.