John Kasich named 2019 Wonk of the Year
AU will play host to the former Republican governor and presidential candidate later this month
John Kasich, the former Ohio governor and Republican presidential candidate, has been named the 2019 Wonk of the Year, the Kennedy Political Union announced today.
The politician will speak to students about the future of the U.S. and bipartisanship on March 21 in Bender Arena at 7 p.m.
Kasich began his career in 1978 as a state senator and later became a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, notably serving 18 years on the House Armed Services Committee.
After leaving Congress in 2000, Kasich returned to politics in 2010 when he ran for governor of Ohio. He served two terms in the office before leaving the governor’s mansion in January. He is currently a senior political commentator for CNN.
In 2016, Kasich became a household name when he ran for the Republican nomination for president. Kasich “presented himself as a moderate alternative to front-running candidates,” KPU wrote in its press release. During his presidential run, he received the Republican endorsement from The New York Times but ultimately did not have the votes to beat Donald Trump, the party’s eventual nominee.
“With a perspective unique to a public servant experienced in both the public and private sector, leadership on all levels of government, and work with major media organizations, Kasich will bring thoughtful discussion to American University on the topic of bipartisan solutions and the future of American politics,” KPU wrote in its press release.
While many analysts place Kasich in the moderate wing of the party due to his views on immigration and other issues, critics have noted Kasich’s conservative record on abortion rights, same-sex marriage and cuts to public education, among other actions.
Kasich once strongly opposed same-sex marriage, but following the Supreme Court ruling that made same-sex marriage legal in all U.S. states in 2015, he said the country needed to accept the decision and “move on.”
According to The Washington Post’s Fact Checker, Kasich signed 17 anti-abortion measures into law between 2011 and 2016. Those measures defunded Planned Parenthood and banned abortions from public hospitals as well as from receiving public funds. Ohio Right to Life has credited Kasich for the decline in abortions in the state.
The University has recently introduced initiatives promoting bipartisanship, including the launch of the Sine Institute of Policy and Politics last fall. The institute, which is focused on creating bipartisan policy solutions, launched with a September event featuring former Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tennessee).
Previous Wonk of the Year recipients include Nobel Peace Prize recipient and education activist Malala Yousafzai, former Democratic National Committee chairwoman Donna Brazile, former First Lady Laura Bush and former President Bill Clinton.
The event, co-hosted with AU College Republicans, will require an Eventbrite ticket and valid AUID for students, faculty and staff. Doors will open at 6:20 p.m.