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  • Writer's pictureDennis Hetzel

Where does John Kasich go from here?

From my recent post for the Huffington Post blog network

Why are John Kasich, center; Ohio Senate President Keith Faber, left, and I smiling? The governor signed Faber’s excellent bill to improve Ohio’s open records laws last spring.

John Kasich’s new book, “Two Paths: America Divided or United,” was just released. Reviewers wonder if it’s a window into his soul, an interesting look back to a crazy campaign or an exercise in political calculation. I suspect it’s all of those things with a weighting toward his sense of mission to share his hopes and concerns for our country. He’s that kind of guy.

I can’t claim to know Ohio’s governor well, but I know him a little bit and pay a lot of attention to what he’s doing and thinking. I need to do that as part of my job as executive director of the Ohio News Media Association. Among other things, I’m a lobbyist, so his legislative priorities can become my priorities quickly at times as I try to represent the newspapers and local news websites that are part of our association.

But my interest is more than that. Going back to my reporter days, smart, complicated people with memorable personalities always have attracted me. John Kasich checks all those boxes.

Politicians are both like the rest of us and not like most of the rest of us. Sometimes the public (and the media) is wrong by not allowing them to have human moments or to change their minds without being criticized. The presidential campaign seems to have softened Kasich’s sharp tongue and arrogance a bit, though anyone watching Donald Trump in action might wonder why that was ever an issue.

Still, those of us who know Kasich as Ohio’s governor chuckled at the warm-and-fuzzy Kasich hugging people on the campaign trail. None of us have met that guy.

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