Gov. John Kasich came into office eight years ago with a blunt warning and rarely shied away from making bold statements. The Republican who spoke off the cuff even during major speeches often peppered his exchanges with folksy sayings and scripture. Over the years, his tone has shifted from scolding and brash to encouraging and down to earth.
Some quotes from his two terms in office as he enters his final days as governor:
On his plans to shake up state government, during a speech to lobbyists in November 2010, two days after winning the governor’s race:
“If you’re not on the bus, we’ll run over you with the bus. And I’m not kidding.”
On the resounding defeat of a proposal he backed to restrict the collective-bargaining power of government workers, following a statewide vote in November 2011:
“I’ve heard their voices. I understand their decision, and frankly I respect what people have to say. … It requires me to take a deep breath and to spend some time reflecting on what happened here.”
On a comparison of state rankings in job creation, during his mostly unscripted State of the State address in February 2012 (He also made a reference to his “hot” wife during the speech):
“We trailed only Michigan and California in lost jobs — Michigan, the home of the auto industry that was devastated and California, of course, filled by a bunch of wackadoodles.”
On his fight with state lawmakers over his push to expand Medicaid , in June 2013:
“When you die and get to the meeting with St. Peter, he’s probably not going to ask you much about what you did about keeping government small. But he is going to ask you what you did for the poor. You better have a good answer.”
On challenges facing the state, during his second inaugural address in January 2015:
“The erosion of basic values that made our nation great is the most serious problem facing our state and our nation today. … I’m talking about foundational, foundational bedrock values, and they’re undeniably common to us. The ones we all want our children and our grandchildren to embrace, like personal responsibility, resilience, empathy, teamwork, family, faith.”
On the difference between him and Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, to a New Hampshire voter in February 2016 during his presidential run:
“I’m the right porridge. One of them is too hot, the other is too cold. But I’ve got the right temperature.”
On dropping out of the presidential race, in May 2016:
“I have always said that the Lord has a purpose for me, as he has for everyone, and as I suspend my campaign today, I have renewed faith, deeper faith that the Lord will show me the way forward and fulfill the purpose of my life.”
On his time as governor, during his final State of the State speech in March 2018:
“All I’ve ever tried to do is to try to lift myself as far as I could go to meet the honor of that office, any of the offices I’ve ever held, to lift myself, to reach a little higher so I could be worthy of it.”
On whether he’ll make another bid for the White House, in December 2018:
“If you’re not around the hoop, you can’t get a rebound. So we’re hanging around the hoop, and we’re very serious about this. How would we not be? … It’s not like I wouldn’t do it. You can’t be afraid to do it.”
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