Republicans from both Huron and Erie counties gave a standing ovation to John Kasich, speaker for a combined spring dinner for the women's groups for both counties, when he said he was considering a run for governor of Ohio.
"I'm so frustrated with what's happening in Ohio that I'm thinking about running for governor of this state," he said. After his talk, however, he said he was a "long way away" from making a firm commitment to a campaign for the seat.
Kasich said many of the state and the country's problems stem from the loss of values he learned from his parents honesty, integrity, personal responsibility, humility and teamwork.
"Personal integrity is one of the most disappearing values," he said. "We need to recapture it."
Kasich said most people need to work on humility, including himself.
"If we could just contain our egos, think about how much more we could get done in the legislature," he said. "There's no accountability in government."
He said government help should be used as a last resort, not as the first place to stop for a handout.
Kasich said the biggest battle our state and country faces is between people who follow through with their values when times get tough and those that don't.
"A nice dose of corruption," at many levels of government in spending bills and "earmarks" makes balancing budgets very difficult, he added.
As for Republican defeats at the state level in the 2006 elections, "We blew it," Kasich said. He said the necessary changes have already started at the top levels of the party.
"In the legislature, they're hungry for change," he said. "We're in a death spiral."
Kasich said businesses are leaving Ohio or declining to move here because of high taxes and regulation. "It's hard to be an entrepreneur in Ohio because we punish them" he said, adding that in 1970 Ohio was in the bottom three states in state taxes and now is in the top five.
"It'll be messy for the special interest groups who have to get their hands out of the till," he said, but the state can come back.
He also discussed changes he would like to see in education and the legal system.
Kasich, a graduate of The Ohio State University, was elected to the Ohio Senate at age 26 and the U.S. House of Representatives in 1982 at age 30. He served in Congress for 18 years before retiring from politics to become an investment banker. He is also a substitute host for "The O'Reilly Factor" and a contributor to other Fox News shows.
He is also the author of three books and lives in Westerville with his family.