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Spotlight On John Kasich

Eight days before the New York primary, Ohio Governor John Kasich took a three-stop tour of the area on Monday, making stops in stops in Albany, North Greenbush and Saratoga Springs. WAMC caught up with the Republican presidential candidate at La Salle Institute.

The Ohio governor, running a distant third in the race for the GOP nomination, looked comfortable interacting with the voters who packed the school gym Monday afternoon. He walked the town-hall gathering through some of what he sees as the perils of presidential politics.

After his opening monologue, Kasich seemed anxious to engage the audience in a question-and-answer session.

One girl asked him about Social Security.

Q: "My question is pertaining to Social Security and my generation and what your plan is to protect Social Security and make sure my generation can still retire and be safe."

Kasich: "Now why do you care about that? How old are you?"

Girl: "16."

Kasich: "You're 16 years old and you're worried about Social Security now?

Girl: "Yes sir."

Kasich: “We don’t have to monkey around with the retirement age anymore. What we have to do is make sure that those who have had income, are going to get it, but not as much as what they thought they were gonna get, for those who really have very little income and fully depend on it, that they can get it.”

Kasich told the student the system can be fixed but only if both parties work on it together.  He went on to tackle other issues including tolerance and same-sex marriage.  "I want no discrimination against anybody. I'm not in favor of discrimination. Period. End of story. Secondly though, the Supreme Court ruled, you know, in favor of gay marriage. I'm a traditional marriage guy, OK? But the court ruled. I'm allowing the court ruling to stand. I'm not looking for some Constitutional amendment. It's done."

He shared his views on the Affordable Care Act:  "It's driven up health costs by 80 percent, and that's pretty much across the country. Secondly, if you're a small business, and you don't want to hire more employees because if you do you could get trapped in the web of Obamacare. But there's a third part of it too, and that is, health care costs are continuing to go up, they're not going down. Anybody experiencing lower health care costs?"

Kasich, who trails in the polls in New York, commented on the Iran nuclear deal. “If they violate it, our European allies and us should walk away from put the sanctions back on.”

He had this take on ISIS: “What we have to do is make sure that we have not just the military expertise through NATO, but we have to transform it into an intelligence and policing organization, cause we have to know where these people are and we gotta go and stop them.”

Earlier Monday, Kasich met with Republicans at the Fort Orange Club in Albany and spoke with reporters at the capitol. Following the La Salle appearance, Kasich was interviewed at the Saratoga Springs City Center by Sean Hannity for a Fox News program broadcast Monday night. During the broadcast, Kasich said "I'm not going to be anybody's vice president." He's behind in the race for delegates for top spot: Kasich has 143 delegates, compared to 545 for Ted Cruz and 743 for Donald Trump, who rallied in Albany Monday too.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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