You’ve seen the debates on television. You’ve heard of the rallies and speeches. Now is your chance to hear a presidential candidate speak and ask him questions, right here at Castleton.
Ohio Governor John Kasich, currently running for the republican nomination for president, is scheduled to speak in Casella Theater at 11:30 a.m. on Monday Feb. 29, the day before the Vermont state primary on March 1.
“I was surprised he’d be in Vermont the day before a primary on the national scale,” Castleton University President Dave Wolk said. “What a wonderful learning experience for our students and our community.”
Republican State Sen. Kevin Mullin, a Castleton alum, contacted Wolk earlier this week asking if the university would be interested in hosting Kasich and it was officially announced Wednesday that he would be visiting.
A reservation is required to attend, and as of Thursday evening, over 200 individuals had reserved spaces, according to Castleton Director of Marketing and Communications Jeff Weld.
“We do not want to turn anyone away, so in the event we exceed capacity in the theater, we will move to the Glenbrook Gym,” Weld said. “This decision will be made as far in advance as possible to ensure the easy flow of traffic, and to keep community members informed.”
Many people on campus have expressed their excitement about this opportunity to meet a presidential candidate.
“Any time there is a candidate for president who would like to visit our campus it is an exciting time,” Weld said. “We’re thrilled to have Governor Kasich on campus, and hope as many students who are able will take advantage of the opportunity.”
“I am excited to meet Governor Kasich again in Vermont,” said Castleton GOP Club President Zachary Holzworth. “While Kasich is not a big-ticket candidate like Trump, Cruz, or Rubio, his visit to Castleton, I believe, goes to show that he really thinks he has a shot winning Vermont. And he probably does have a good shot at Vermont, especially coming to visit the most conservative county in the state.”
Kasich’s visit comes at a perfect time as Castleton becomes more civically engaged through Project 240 and other endeavors.
“With Project 240 and the Civic Engagement program at Castleton, we are becoming a center for engagement in the region, and I hope that we build on this to drive up the level of political participation among Castleton students and to create an environment fertile with civil political conversation,” said Rich Clark, professor of political science and director of the Castleton Polling Institute.
Along with the politically minded clubs such as the Castleton GOP Club, which will be providing rides for students to polling stations on Tuesday, the community in general is a lot more civically involved since Project 240’s beginning.
A candidate few Castleton students have heard about due to limited media coverage of his campaign, Kasich served nine terms in the House of Representatives, hosted “Heartland with John Kasich” on Fox News, worked as a managing director for Lehman Brothers in Columbus, Ohio, and was elected governor of Ohio in 2010.
According to his official campaign website, Kasich’s platform includes working toward a balanced national budget, cutting taxes in a variety of areas, improving transportation and education, and working toward becoming energy independent.
While he might not be the front-runner at the moment, he may have a crucial role in the outcome of the election.
“As the governor of Ohio, Kasich is uniquely situated because no Republican is likely to win the White House without winning in Ohio. So while Kasich’s chances of winning the republican nomination are not particularly high, the eventual nominee may rely on the governor to put the state in the GOP column,” Clark said.
If you would like to reserve a spot at Kasich’s town hall meeting on Monday, email firstname.lastname@example.org.