John Kasich

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www.johnkasich.com 

John Kasich is the current governor of Ohio and a political veteran whose career stretches back to the early 1980’s. Elected to the Ohio State Senate from the 15th district in 1979, he worked his way up to being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Ohio’s 12th district in 1983. Kasich served in the House from 1983 to 2001, and was the lead architect of the 1997 balanced budget deal during his time as Chairman of the House Budget Committee. He ran for president in 2000, after which he worked in the private sector as a commentator on Fox News and later as a Managing Director for Lehman Brothers. He was elected Governor of Ohio in 2010. Governor Kasich announced his campaign for the 2016 Republican nomination in July 2015 at Ohio State University, his alma mater.

Key Advisors

  • Beth Hansen: Campaign Manager. Hansen was Governor Kasich’s Chief of Staff from 2010-2015. She also worked in the U.S. House of Representatives as the State director for Sen. George Voinovich.
  • John Weaver: Senior Strategist. Weaver is a veteran of a number of political campaigns, including on John Huntsman’s presidential campaign in 2011 as Senior Advisor, on Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign in 2000, and on Sen. McCain’s 2008 presidential bid as Chief Strategist.

Super PAC Support: New Day for America PAC

On the Issues

AAI tracks statements, non-statements, and the track records of each presidential candidate on the issues we care about most. Click on an issue to read what John Kasich has said on the campaign trail. For our take on why these are the 12 issues that are most important to our community, read here.

 

Foreign Policy     

Domestic Policy

   

U.S. Role in the Middle East 

Voting Rights 

 

U.S. Response to ISIL

Civil Rights + Civil Liberties


 

 

Syria 

Surveillance


 

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Israel/Palestine 

Community Policing

 

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Lebanon

Bigoted Speech

 

Iran Negotiations 

Immigration Reform

Statements 

The U.S. Role in the Middle East

"I will lead and make decisions and my national security appointees will work tirelessly with Israel to counter Iran’s regional aggression and sponsorship of terror. We will help to interdict weapons supplies to Hezbollah. We will defeat ISIS in Syria and Iraq. And we will assist Israel to interdict Iranian arms supplies and financial flows to Hamas." (March 22, 2016 - AIPAC speech)

"I will also provide support and relief to our common ally, Jordan, that has shared the brunt of refugee flows. And I will bring our troops home as soon as we, together with our allies, have created a realistic prospect that regional powers can conclude a settlement guaranteeing long-term security there. I will then support allied coalitions as they destroy ISIS’s various regional affiliates. My administration will cooperate with our allies to deny Libya’s oil as a resource, deny Libya as a platform to amount attacks against Europe, and disband what has become a hub for act of terror throughout Africa. I will support our common, vital ally, Egypt, in its efforts to destroy the insurgency in Sinai and terrorists infiltrating from Libya." (March 22, 2016 - AIPAC speech)

“Hugh, I’ve said all along and laid out my foreign policy, I’m going to remind everybody that 55 percent of the foreign policy experts in this country said I was the best to be commander-in- chief. I spent 18 years on the Defense Committee, Armed Services, and then I was in the Pentagon with Donald Rumsfeld after 9/11, in and out for a couple of years. We absolutely have to win this with a coalition. Arabs have to be with us. The Europeans have to understand that this threat is closer to them than even is closer — is as close as it is to us. And in addition to that, you have to be in the air and you have to be on the ground. And you bring all the force you need. It has got to be “shock and awe” in the military-speak. Then once it gets done, and we will wipe them out, once it gets done, it settles down, we come home and let the regional powers redraw the map if that’s what it takes.” (March 10,2016, GOP Miami Debate)

“And at some point, we will have to deal with Libya. I am very concerned about ISIS getting their hands on the oilfields in Libya and being able to fund their operations. The fact is cool, calm, deliberate, effective, take care of the job, and then come home. That's what we need to do with our military foreign policy.” (March 3, 2016,  GOP Debate in Michigan)

“Now let's move over into the Middle East. The Egyptians, they know they're on their last legs there because of the attack from ISIS. The Jordanians are -- really have been our friends. They know that they are at risk. So do the Saudis. So do the Gulf states. They are our allies, really, or have similar aims, we need to bring them closer to us. Turkey a critical avenue to the Middle East. We have to bring them towards the West, and not towards the East.” (March 3, 2016,  GOP Debate in Michigan)

"...the Obama administration has really done such a ridiculous, feckless job here in foreign policy. First of all, we should have been supporting the rebels long ago. They could have taken Assad out, and because we did nothing, the Russians are in, and they’re sitting in the catbird seat. We should have been helping them. I’m thankful that the aid trucks are finally getting into Syria. But the fact is, had we had acted, we would have solved that problem. Now, let’s talk about Libya. Libya didn’t go down because there was some people revolution. Hillary Clinton, Samantha Power and all these other people convinced the president to undermine Gadhafi. They undermined him, and now they have created a cesspool in Libya. And let me just say to you — we have ISIS beginning get — get a foothold in Libya. We’re gonna have to deal with it. There are not many major cities in Libya. They’re on the coast, which — mostly, it’s desert, but it’s a problem. Then we have ISIS in — in Syria, and we have ISIS in Iraq. Because this administration has not had a strong and firm foreign policy, we are going to inherit — one of us here is going to inherit a total mess." (February 26, 2016, CNN Republican Debate in Houston)

"And frankly, I think the problem we have in foreign policy right now, Wolf, is that we are not certain with who we stand with. Our allies are not sure what to make of us, and our enemies are moving. And one — are moving because they’re not sure what we will do." (February 26, 2016, CNN Republican Debate in Houston)

“The Egyptians, the Saudis, the Jordanians, the Gulf states, they all know they’re at risk. We need to look into Europe, we look at France, we look at Germany and the migrants. We look at Belgium, we look at Britain. Everybody now is being threaten by radical Islam. We have an opportunity to lead.”(Debate Transcript, 2/13/16)

"There is a difference between Iraq, where you have Sunni, Shia, and Kurds put together after the First World War by the Western powers. It doesn’t work. It needs to break up into three parts." (December 2015, CNN GOP Debate)

After announcing that he would create a Judeo-Christian federal agency, Kasich said, "U.S. public diplomacy and international broadcasting have lost their focus on the case for Western values and ideals and effectively countering our opponents' propaganda and disinformation. I will consolidate them into a new agency that has a clear mandate to promote the core, Judeo-Christian Western values that we and our friends and allies share: the values of human rights, the values of democracy, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of association. I also think that we have many moderate Muslims who share our views … there are many of them that stand up and speak out and they should be included in this and they’d be a very effective part of this. It’s essential that we do promote this message. It’s essential by the way that those in the West begin to embrace again our Jewish-Christian tradition rather than running from it, hiding from it." (November 2015, National Press Club)

"Terrorism is increasingly striking here at home. Regional powers are challenging the postwar security order. Nuclear weapons are proliferating. Cyberspace has become a battlefield. The U.S. has neglected both our military and our alliances and has apparently decided, instead, to try to lead from behind.” (August 2015, CNN Op-ed)

“Its not the French that’s going to lead us, or the Germans or the Brits. America leads.” (July 2015, The Hill)

“Look, anything that threatens the security of the United States of America or Israel we're going to have to deal with, and that means everything’s on the table, nothings off the table.” (July 2015, The Hill)

U.S. Response to ISIL

“The fact of the matter is, we absolutely have to be -- and not just with special forces. I mean, that's not going to work. Come on. You've got to go back to the invasion when we pushed Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait. We have to be there on the ground in significant numbers. We do have to include our Muslim Arab friends to work with us on that. And we have to be in the air. And we -- it should be a broad coalition, made up of the kinds of people that were involved when we defeated Saddam. Now, you've got to be on the ground and in the air both in Syria and Iraq.” (March 3, 2016,  GOP Debate in Michigan)

“The November 17th attacks were an act of war by ISIS on France, and therefore were an attack on America and every other NATO member state. NATO came to our aid after 9/11. NATO must now be ready to do so again for France”(December 2015,Council on Foreign Relations).

“I am not recommending a new department or expanding government. I am recommending we take institutions like Voice of America, Radio Liberty, so many of those communication tools that we used in the middle of the Cold War to tell the truth"(December 2015, Council on Foreign Relations).

"Now, you destroy ISIS in a coalition. You get joint intelligence with our European friends. And then here at home, there are things called the Joint Terrorism Task Force, headed by the FBI, and made up of local law enforcement, including state police. They need the tools. And the tools involve encryption where we cannot hear what they’re even planning. And when we see red flags, a father, a mother, a neighbor who says we have got a problem here, then we have to give law enforcement the ability to listen so they can disrupt these terrorist attacks before they occur." (December 2015, CNN GOP Debate)

“I called for boots on the ground many months ago in a coalition with our friends who share our interest. You win a battle with the military and when we go somewhere we need to be mobile and lethal, we need to take care of business and we need to come home… You wonder why young people, educated people, rich people, schooled people have tried to join ISIS.  Western civilizations, all of us need to wake up to the fact that those murderers and rapists need to be called out" (September 2015, 2nd Republican Debate)

“ISIS is an attack on Western civilization… Them and groups like them represent an attack on who we are as a people. I believe we should be there in a coalition, and we should erode and kill ISIS.” (September 2015, Michigan speech)

“We need a coalition, we need to be there—including boots on the ground—and we need to degrade and destroy ISIS, number one. I would have them in a role where they’d be on the ground fighting. You’ve got the air power, but you can’t solve anything just with air power.” (July 2015, The Hill)

“Mark my words...at some point it will require boots on the ground from the world to be able to deal with this problem [ISIL].” (February 2015, CNN)

“But to say that we’re going to stop ISIS by just dropping bombs, it’ll either preserve the status quo, or they’ll make slight gains.”  (February 2015, CNN)

Syria

In his response to the Paris terrorist attacks, Kasich said, "There is no way that we can put any of our people at risk by bringing [Syrian refugees] in at this point... Should anybody come in here before the end of the year? The answer to that should be no. We should not jeopardize our people. And so it's not just an issue of the heart. It's also an issue of the head." (November 2015, Fox Business Interview)

After halting Ohio's resettlement program, Kasich said, "At this point in time, it is reasonable for us to be in a position to properly screen. We have to have a system to determine who these people are." (November 2015, National Press Club)

“I think we do have a responsibility in terms of taking some more folks in, making sure they assimilate, and at the same time helping people to actually be safe as they move.That’s logistical support. [The responsibility] fundamentally falls on Europe." (September 2015, ABC news)

"Look, three big problems. One, we disbanded the Iraqi army and we have nothing but chaos since we started. Two, we failed to arm the opposition in Syria to push Assad out, which would have been strategic because of the support for Iran and Russia in regard to [Syrian President Bashar] Assad. Then we had a red line and we ignored that. And now we find out that over in Syria, they're dropping barrel chlorine bombs on people. So, you know, it's been a feckless foreign policy." (May 2015, ABC News)

Israel/Palestine

"Indoctrination of hate has long been part of a planned and well- thought-out strategy. Palestinian children are raised in a culture that glorifies martyrdom and the willingness to die in the pursuit of killing or maiming Israelis. Children’s textbooks have been filled with vial anti-Semitism. Families of suicide killers receive an annuity after they kill and maim. Imprisoned terrorists receive stipends and are guaranteed jobs in the Palestinian civil service at a salary determined by the length of their sentence. Public squares, streets and even soccer tournaments are named after terrorists." (March 22, 2016 - AIPAC speech)

"I condemn all attempts to isolate, pressure and delegitimize the state of Israel, and I will support Congress’s efforts to allow this activity both here and in the E.U. And I am also very concerned about rising attacks on Israel and Jewish students on our college campuses. I pledge to use the full force of the White House to fight this scourge, and I will make sure we have the tools needed to protect students from hate speech, harassment and intimidation, while supporting free speech on our college campuses."(March 22, 2016 - AIPAC speech)

"And I do not believe there is any prospect for a permanent peace until the Palestinian Authority and their friends in Hamas and Hezbollah are prepared to take real steps to live in peace with Israel and recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, and this violence is unacceptable."(March 22, 2016 - AIPAC speech)

"Together we will combat violence incited in Israel itself and, of course, its eternal capital, Jerusalem."(March 22, 2016 - AIPAC speech)

“Well, there’s no question. They were saying that the Israelis intended to go to the Dome of the Rock. And I mean, when you think about this, thank goodness we work with Israelis to give them the Iron Dome where they can protect themselves against all the missiles that were flying in. Could you imagine living in like Miami here and having people shooting missiles in? Secondly, there was just an article the other day, Hugh, that I know you’re familiar with the Israelis are learning to train underground in combat because the Palestinians now, Hamas in particular, is digging these tunnels trying to get under Israel. They’re coming at them from above, they’re trying to come at them under the ground. And I just have to tell you this, I don’t believe there is any long-term permanent peace solution. And I think pursuing that is the wrong thing to do. I believe that every day that we can stability in that region by supporting the Israelis and making sure they have the weapons and the security that they need with our 100 percent backing is the way to proceed in the Middle East in regard to Israel.” (March 10,2016, GOP Miami Debate)

"I was in Congress for 18 years on the Defense Committee. And then, you know, after 9/11, the secretary of defense called me in to help out with some things. And I’ve been a supporter of Israel — a strong supporter of Israel longer than anybody on this stage. I didn’t give as much money as Donald gave, but I’ve been standing with the Israelis for a very long time."  (February 26, 2016, CNN Republican Debate in Houston)

"Israel has given a lot of stuff back. They gave Gaza back. How is that working out? They have everything launching into Israel. I don’t know how you get a two-state solution when people are walking into your country and stabbing people. I will say this: Recognize the State of Israel, guarantee their permanent security, stop launching Katyusha rockets into Israel, stop sending in people with knives to kill people in Israel — they went from rocks to knives now — and knock it off. And then, I think you can get to a two-state solution... Every day that you go by without there being major problems there, that is a win.... And I can tell you, we are not going to bully Israel; it’s their survival. It’s just very serious stuff. It’s like – man, we want to survive. Let me tell you. If the prime minister of Israel came to America, I would meet with him as the president of the United States. OK? I think that was a horrible foreign policy mistake.... [If the President disagrees with Israel] Don’t tell them in front of a bunch of cameras. You see, if I want to correct my children, I don’t do it in front of other people. And if I ever get close to that, they make it clear they don’t like it...[The same should apply] with the Israelis: You got a problem, you can tell them, but tell them in private.” (February 5, 2016, New Hampshire campaign event)

“Why are they building more apartments? Because it’s land; it’s security,” he said. “I would never, ever, ever jeopardize the security of that country. Never.”

"I have been forever a very strong and emotional supporter of Israel." (March 2015, House Floor Speech)

Lebanon

"I opposed the U.S. involvement in Lebanon. We ended up having to withdraw our marines after our barracks were blown up." (December 2015, CNN GOP Debate)

“I voted against going to Lebanon as a young congressman and then for the Gulf War--I don’t like the idea of getting involved in civil wars.” (February 2015, Washington Post)

Iran Nuclear Deal 

"And I want you all to know that I have called for the suspension of the U.S.’s participation in the Iran nuclear deal in reaction to Iran’s recent ballistic missile tests."(March 22, 2016 - AIPAC speech)

“I think it’s a bad agreement.  I would’ve never done it. Now this agreement, we don’t know what’s going to happen in 18 months. You have to be steady. If they cheat, you slap the sanctions back on. If they help Hamas and Hezbollah, we slap the sanctions back on. And if we find out that they may be developing a nuclear weapon, then the military option is on the table. We are stronger when we work with the Western civilization, our friends in Europe, and just doing it on our own, I don't think is the right policy." (September 2015, 2nd Republican Debate)

In response to a question probing whether or not he would repeal the Iran nuclear agreement upon becoming President, Kasich replied “If they violate this, or if the security interests of the U.S. or our friends—particularly Israel—is in jeopardy, then the accord would mean nothing to me.” (July 2015, National Security Forum)

“First of all, I’m praying that the senate will not only reject it but also override the president’s veto so the sanctions stay on. This is a very bad deal for a variety of reasons. Two quick things, one is that they are going to get a nuclear weapon and we’re giving them a ton of cash that they will use to fund all these radical groups that want to undo all of our allies and they hate us. If this thing goes through, then I think we should come to an agreement with all major powers that if we see them cheating at all that we need to slap the sanctions back on and that they need to be expanded...Because I think crushing Iran economically will lead to a change in behavior.” (July 2015, The Hill)

Voting Rights

Responding to Hillary Clinton’s assertion that Republicans are trying to disenfranchise minorities, “We live in a time when race relations are very sensitive, and to be using that kind of reckless language is not helpful to this country.” (June 2015, Dispatch)

Another instance of responding to Hillary Clinton’s assertion that Republicans are trying to disenfranchise minorities,“Don’t be coming in and saying we are deliberately trying to keep people from voting when her own state has less opportunity for voting than my state [Ohio]...I mean, come on — that’s just silly." (June 2015, Fox News)

Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

When asked to comment on Ted Cruz's call to "patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods" in the United States, Kasich said,“I think when they see things, it makes them very concerned and very nervous. And so it's sort of a knee-jerk, I think. But let's talk practically here.In order for us to have great human intelligence, I want the public to hear this. We are going to have to have intimate communication and coordination with our friends in the Muslim community. There is no question about it. I mean, in order to find out about the radicalized friends and neighbors, or people that you may not even know at all, who you observe doing things--this has to be a coordinated effort worldwide." (March 27, 2016 - NBC's Meet the Press)

When asked to comment on Ted Cruz's call to "patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods" in the United States, Kasich said, “The last thing we need is more polarization because, frankly, those who want to preserve Islam as a religion that is not at war with the west—we alienate them, how are we supposed to ever get the information we need, that law enforcement needs?” (March 22, 2016 - Minnesota press event)

"Here's what I'd like to see happen. The Supreme Court ruled, I don't agree with the ruling. I'm of favor of marriage between -- you know, traditional marriage, a man and a woman. What I hope was going to happen after the Supreme Court ruling is things would settle down….If you go to a photographer to take pictures at your wedding, and he says, I'd rather not do it, find another photographer, don't sue them in court. You know what, the problem is in our country -- in our country, we need to learn to respect each other and be a little bit more tolerant for one another. And at the end of the day, don't go to court. Can't we have common sense in America? That's the way it used to be. And there was a book written called ‘The Death of Common Sense.’ We need to bring it back. But at the end of the day, if somebody is being pressured to participate in something that is against their deeply-held religious beliefs, then we're going to have to think about dealing with the law. But you know what, I'd rather people figure this out without having to put another law on the books and have more arguments in this country. Why don't we come together as a country, respect one another, love one another and lift this country? I think that's what people want.” (March 3, 2016,  GOP Debate in Michigan)

"Now, in regard to same-sex marriage, I don’t favor it. I’ve always favored traditional marriage, but, look, the court has ruled and I’ve moved on. And what I’ve said, Hugh, is that, look, where does it end? If you’re in the business of selling things, if you’re not going to sell to somebody you don’t agree with, OK, today I’m not going to sell to somebody who’s gay, and tomorrow maybe I won’t sell to somebody who’s divorced. I mean, if you’re in the business of commerce, conduct commerce. That’s my view. And if you don’t agree with their lifestyle, say a prayer for them when they leave and hope they change their behavior. But when it comes to the religious institutions, they are in inviolate in my mind, and I would fight for those religious institutions. And look, I’ve appointed over a hundred judges as governor. I even appointed adjudge to the Ohio Supreme Court. And you know what they are? They’re conservatives. Go check it out. They are conservatives. They don’t make the law. They interpret the law. That’s all they do. And they stick by the Constitution. So I will do that." (February 26, 2016, CNN Republican Debate in Houston)

“Well, on the no-fly list, we probably could keep them from getting guns and ought to ban them... We want to make sure that we can exploit all the information that we possibly can get. So if all of a sudden you tell everybody who’s on the watch list that you can’t do this or that, then guess what happens? Then we lose our ability to track, we lose our ability to gather information, so I think we have to be careful." (December 2015, CNN)

“Income inequality is driven by a lack of skills when kids don’t get what they need to be able to compete and win in this country.” (October, 2015 CNBC GOP Debate)

Surveillance

"I want to just tell you that the problem is not right now between the administration and Apple. You know what the problem is? Where’s the president been? You sit down in a back room and you sit down with the parties and you get this worked out. You don’t litigate this on the front page of the New York Times, where everybody in the world is reading about their dirty laundry out here. The president of the United States should be convening a meeting, should have convened a meeting with Apple and our security forces. And then you know what you do when you’re the president? You lock the door and you say you’re not coming out until you reach an agreement that both gives the security people what they need and protects the rights of Americans. This is a failure of his leadership to get this done as an executive should be doing it. And I’ll tell you, that’s why you want a governor. I do this all the time. And we reach agreements all the time. Because as an executive, you’ve got to solve problems instead of fighting on the front page of the newspaper." (February 26, 2016, CNN Republican Debate in Houston)

"The idea that someone would have to register with the federal government because of their religion strikes against all that we believe in our nation's history." (November 2015, Twitter)

"First of all, Snowden is a traitor, and he has jeopardized the lives of people in this country....I think it's a balance. I don't like the NSA holding all of this stuff. They've improved it, they've moved it over to the phone companies, and you've got to get a court order. We want to be safe, but we don't want to give up all our liberties...I think to move this process out of the NSA...but i will also tell you that as the Governor of a big state, we have threats....The lone wolf is something we're all concerned about. The only way we can deal with lone wolfs is with intelligence. But there's got to be a balance between our intelligence and our freedoms. I think they've moved in the right direction." (June 2014, Des Moines Register interview)

Community Policing

 On the collaborative he’s been working on within his state with community members and Nina Turner, “Really critical, that the community can understand the challenges of police, and that police can understand what is going on inside of the community.  A collaborative effort.  And this moves forward in our state.” (August 2015, CNN)

“I'm open to anything that's going to improve practices. But, Jake, we have to realize there's a balance here.  There's a balance, so that the community has to realize that there's a family at home waiting for an officer to come home at night, and they don't want to hear that he's been wounded or killed.” (August 2015, CNN)

“These are tough issues, but at the heart of it is an ability to give people a sense that the system is not rigged against them.”  (August 2015, Washington Post )

Bigoted Speech: Instances of Condemnation and/or Use

*The Arab American Institute is leading a campaign to hold public officials accountable for their bigoted rhetoric this election cycle. Join us by signing our Pledge to Combat Bigotry, and use #NoBigotry on social media to hold candidates accountable and thank candidates who stand against it.*

"Some who feed off of the fears and anger that is felt by some of us and exploit it feed their own insatiable desire for fame or attention. That could drive America down into a ditch, not make us great again...We have been promised that unpopular laws shall be repealed simply through the will of a strong man in the White House. I have stood on a stage and watched with amazement as candidates wallowed in the mud, viciously attacked one another, called each other liars and disparaged each other’s character. Those who continuously push that type of behavior are not worthy of the office they are seeking...Just as an all-consuming fear of America in decline ends in visions of America’s destruction, a political strategy based on exploiting Americans instead of lifting them up inevitably leads to divisions, paranoia, isolation, and promises that can never, ever be fulfilled. I say to you that this path to darkness is the antithesis of all that America has meant for 240 years." (April 12, 2016 - New York campaign speech)

When asked if Donald Trump is correct when he asserts “Muslims hate America” Kasich responded, “No, I don’t. I think there is a sect of, you know, this radical Islam that is really, really serious, and poses the greatest threat to us today. There isn’t any question. And that’s why the whole world has to work together to make sure that we don’t have proliferation of these weapons of mass destruction. But look, I was there when, and saw it, when the Egyptian ambassador to the United States was in the Rose Garden bringing the Arab Muslim world to work with us to repel Saddam Hussein from Kuwait. The fact is that if we’re going to defeat ISIS, we’re going to have to have these countries. And they are Egypt. And they are Saudi Arabia. And they are Jordan. And they are the Gulf states. And we’re going to have in some way or another a rapprochement with Turkey. And I frankly think the Europeans went in the wrong direction when they rejected Turkey from joining in to the economic sphere of Europe. The simple fact of the matter is, a lot of these Muslim countries, they are just — they can’t believe the stuff they see out of people who have distorted their faith. Look, the people who represent radical Islam, they want to destroy everything that we’re about and other Muslims who don’t share their view. But at the end of the day, we’ve got to bring the world together, the civilized world. And we all speak with one voice to make sure that people who sit on the fence understand what civilization is, and we represent it, and equality and hope for everybody.” (March 10,2016, GOP Miami Debate)

Would you have a problem with a Muslim becoming president? “Well that is such a hypothetical question, the answer is that at the end of the day you have to go through all the rigors and people are going to look at everything. For me the most important thing about being president is that you have leadership skills, you know what you’re doing, you can fix this country and help raise this country. Those are the skills that matter to me.” (September 2015, CNN)

On Trump's failure to correct a town hall attended who asserted President Obama is a Muslim, Kasich commented, "We need to respect our basic institutions, whether it's the presidency, whether it's our teachers, whether it's our ministers, or rabbis. We need to have great respect or the country begins to come undone. I may not agree with the president, but I respect the office, and I respect the fact that he is the president of the United States." (September 2015, NBC)

Clarifying earlier remarks about Latinos, Kasich said, "To be clear, I believe that, from top to bottom, Hispanics play a critical role in America, not only today, but going forward." (September 2015, NBC)

“I look at our friends in the Latino community as people that ought to be voting Republican.… They are great, caring, hardworking folks. And a lot of them do jobs that, that they’re willing to do and that’s why, in a hotel, you leave a little tip, you know?” (September 2015, California campaign stop)

"We need to make it clear that our faith in the Jewish and Christian principles force us to live a life bigger than ourselves to be sinners in justice so that we can battle the radicals, call them out for what they are, and make sure all our people feel fulfilled in living in Western Civilization.” (September 2015, 2nd Republican Debate)

In response the question “how do you fight what is a volcano of extremism?” Kasich replied, “What we find is that when people think they can find joy and satisfaction by just chasing happiness…what it does is it leaves a void and people find out that they aren’t very happy doing that…ISIS of course, lying, murdering, raping organization,  preaches 'well you know we will give you satisfaction, you’ll have friends and a family, and that’s the ticket to paradise'. Of course it’s nothing but a big bunch of lies and horrific activities but here in the West we better begin to understand that we need to talk about the fact that we are our brother’s keeper we are in the position where we have to care about our neighbors and that the pursuit of doing something bigger than yourself and being involved in something, even in what some would consider small ways, brings great satisfaction and happiness to your life, and that is something we’ve got to pay attention to." (August 2015, The Hugh Hewitt Show)

In response to a question about 'immigrants from Islamic countries':"What's critical is that people are fully integrated and that people feel like they have a chance to get somewhere--which has happened with Columbus' Somali immigrants. You're going to be in America, become an American. Be part of our culture." (June 2015, Cincinnati.com)

Immigration Reform

“Well look, I believe in immigration, but it has to be controlled. The simple fact of the matter is I wouldn’t be standing here. I’d be maybe running for president of Croatia if we didn’t have immigration. Immigration is something that brings youth and vibrance and energy to our country. But we clearly have to control our borders. We can’t have people just walking in. Look, we lock our doors at night in our homes. The country has to be able to lock its doors as well. So, we — I have a comprehensive plan to deal with this problem of immigration. I would say we have to absolutely finish the wall and guard the border. And if anybody were to come in after that, they are going to have to go back. No excuses because we can’t continue this problem. I think we ought to have a guest worker program, where people come in, work and go home. And I think at the same time, for the 11 and a half million who are here, then in my view if they have not committed a crime since they’ve been here, they get a path to legalization. Not to citizenship. I believe that program can pass the Congress in the first 100 days.” (March 10,2016, GOP Miami Debate)

"The answer is you complete the border. You let people know that once it’s done, you don’t have a right to come in. If you come in, we don’t want any excuse. You’re going to go back. But I favor a guest worker program. I think it’s practical. And I think for the 11 million or 11.5 million Americans — the illegals that are here, if they have not committed a crime since they’ve been here, I’d make them pay a fine, some back taxes, maybe some community service. And at the end, I’d give them a path to legalization, but not a path to citizenship. I don’t think we’re going to tear families apart. I don’t think we’re going to ride around in people’s neighborhoods and grab people out of their homes. I don’t think — first of all, I don’t think it’s practical and I don’t think it reflects America." (February 26, 2016, CNN Republican Debate in Houston)

"Let these people who are born here be citizens and that's the end of it. I don't want to dwell on it." (August 2015, CNN

“It’s kind of nuts. In my opinion, there is a solution here to this issue of immigration. Finish the wall. And make it clear. Anybody that comes over that wall once we have done it, you’re going back. And then the 12 million that are here, legalize them, but make sure we don’t have anybody — any of the criminal element here and have a guest-worker program. I think the country can unite around that.” (August 2015, Washington Post)

“[L]et me tell you what I think we ought to do with immigration.  First of all, we ought to finish the fence.  And even if special interests don't want it done we should get it done.  The 12 million - 11 or 12 million who are here we ought to find out who they are.  If they've been law abiding over a period of time they ought to be legalized and they ought to be able to stay here.  There are people who contribute to a lot to the United States of America. If you have violated the law, we're going to ship you out.” (August 2015, CNN Press Room)

“In terms of immigration, obviously the border needs to be secured, we need an expanded guest worker program so people can move in an out and support their family, but do it in a legal way. For the 12 million here illegally, if they’re law abiding, god fearing folks they’re going to have to pay a penalty towards legalization and they’ll have to wait.” (August 2015, Voters First Forum)

“With the guest worker program: the 12 million that are here, if they violated the law they go out or the go to jail. but if they if they’re hard working, god fearing, family people, they go to church, they work with us, let them stay…they’re going to have to pay a fine and pay a penalty for violating the law, but if they’re part of our culture now and our society, they’re just like all of us, I think they can stay.” (July 2015, The Hill)

“Some people say do you support a path to citizenship, no I do not.” (July 2015, The Hill)

“I do not think we should be demonizing people who are law-abiding hard working folks...And I don’t like the fact that [illegal immigrants] jumped the line.” (July 2015, Washington Post)