John Kasich speaks to 150 as part of town hall series

by Zachary Benjamin | 1/18/16 8:37pm

Republican presidential candidate John Kasich appeared on Monday at a town hall meeting sponsored by the Tuck School of Business and the Rockefeller Center to discuss economic issues in America.Kasich spoke about his economic policy as governor of Ohio, his proposed plan to balance the national budget, climate change and healthcare to around 150 students and outside attendees.

Kasich said that under his governance he turned a projected $8 billion budget deficit into a $2 billion surplus and cut $5 billion in taxes. His administration devoted more resources to less fortunate members of society, including drug addicts, the mentally ill and the working poor, he added.“When we rise, we have an obligation not to leave anybody in the shadows,” Kasich said.In a question and answer session, one attendee asked, if elected president, whether Kasich would base his policies on empirical data or on political expediency, particularly in the case of global warming.Kasich responded that he is not sure to what extent humans have contributed to global warming, though he noted he is open to new evidence. While he supports all forms of energy, he said he is concerned about the unrealistic standards the government sets for renewable energy usage, which he believes hurt small businesses.

He questioned those who attack coal and natural gas and dismiss nuclear power, which he called the cleanest and most reliable energy source. At the same time, he said that he supports sustainability and efficiency efforts within practical limits.“I don’t want to leave this country in a place where my daughters, who are sixteen years old and at some point are going to have their own children, are going to begin to see deterioration of this environment to the point where it can’t be fixed,” he said. “We’re all in this together.”Another audience member asked Kasich about his plans to balance the federal budget.There are three ways to do this, Kasich said: regulatory reform, tax cuts and fiscal control. He said that regulations should be designed to work effectively without unduly harming small businesses or jobs, pointing to Ohio’s fracking industry as an example.Kasich called single-payer healthcare inherently inefficient, in response to another question. He advocated repealing the Affordable Care Act and allocating some of its funds towards Medicaid to provide benefits for the working poor. In addition, the healthcare industry needs increased transparency, Kasich said.If elected president, one of the first things Kasich would do would be to set meetings with members of Congress on both sides of the aisle in order to increase cooperation, he said. Kasich talked about the United States’ relationships abroad, criticizing what he perceived as a lack of support for France after the terrorist attacks in Paris this December and earlier in the year at the Charlie Hebdo offices.K-12 education should also be reformed at the local level to be more flexible and vocational, Kasich said. Schools should work to provide vocational opportunities for students who are not interested in traditional educational paths, he said.Kasich said that people should look more to themselves and their local communities to solve problems instead of the federal government. For example, solving issues of drug abuse begins with people deciding for themselves not to do drugs, he said. Similarly, issues like the shooting at San Bernardino could have been avoided had the shooters’ family been more proactive in getting them help, or reporting their suspicious behavior, he said.Kasich’s talk is the fourth in a series of town hall meetings, called“America’s Economic Future,” organized by former New Hampshire governor and Tuck senior fellow John Lynch. Though open to the general public, they are designed to primarily serve as an educational forum for Dartmouth students, Lynch said.

“It’s meant to be educational and really an extension of their either undergraduate or graduate experience,” he said.All presidential candidates have been invited to speak at these meetings, Lynch said. New York Governor George Pataki, Senator Lindsey Graham and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have spoken.The meeting opened with brief speeches of introduction from Lynch, Tuck Dean Matthew Slaughter, Rockefeller Center director Andrew Samwick and Sean Flood TU’16, who thanked Kasich for agreeing to attend.Sam Lawhon ’19 said that he attended the event to learn more about Kasich, whom he described as a “balanced” leader. He said that he plans to vote in the Republican primary for New Hampshire and was pleased by the economic focus of the event, as he felt that such issues were more relevant than social ones for presidential candidates.Suneal Chandran TU ’17 said that he came to the meeting to learn more about the candidate, as he is undecided about who to support. He said that he has mixed feelings about Kasich, liking his support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but disliking his desire to raise the minimum wage.Tuck professor John Vogel said that Kasich was probably one of the most sensible Republican candidates. Before the speech, he said he wanted to learn more about Kasich’s views on climate change and the Obama administration.Chad Rairie ’16 said that he agreed with Kasich’s message about relying on the local community and the role of the individual in solving problems. He also expressed gratitude for Kasich’s bipartisan attitude.