Who Is John Kasich's Wife, Karen? Ohio's First Lady Has An Important Thing In Common With Michelle Obama

It's official, after months of speculation: Ohio Gov. John Kasich is running for president in 2016, making him the 16th Republican to jump into the race. Kasich's announcement means that virtually every Republican rumored to be in on 2016, with the exception of Mitt Romney, who ruled himself out early this year, has indeed entered the fray. And his spouse was by his side when he announced the big news — so who is Karen Kasich, John Kasich's wife?

When you cast a vote for president, after all, you're not just deciding to send a candidate to the White House — their family comes along for the ride too (provided they have one). And in the case of Karen Kasich, there's quite an impressive professional history there. As BuzzFeed detailed in 2012, after her husband made a regrettably sexist remark about candidates' spouses having to stay at home "doing the laundry," she's got quite a resume.

Over the course of her 20-year career, Karen Kasich ascended all the way to vice president of public relations for a healthcare ad agency — Gerbig, Snell, and Weisheimer. In other words, even though she made the decision to quit her career in 2002, she's well acquainted with the rigors of a professional life.

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She was involved with Kasich throughout the bulk of that career, as well. As detailed by The Columbus Dispatch back in 2010, Karen Kasich met John in a pretty happenstance way, something of a political meet cute. She was working in public relations, and decided to do some photo shoots of high-profile Ohioans to add to the Ohio State Buckeyes football team website. That's a pretty perfect backstory — Gov. Kasich's well-documented passion for Christianity aside, the Buckeyes are about as close to a state religion for some Ohioans as it gets.

John being an alumni and Buckeyes fan himself, it was only appropriate that the pair met at one of these photo shoots. It was 1989 back then, and he was still just a representative. It would be an eight-year romance before the pair tied the knot. John had been married once before in 1975, and was divorced in 1980.

Nowadays, Karen Kasich's focus is on fitness advocacy. In fact, according to Cleveland.com, her goals as an incoming first lady of Ohio back in 2011 may sound a little familiar — just like Michelle Obama at the presidential level, Karen Kasich is moved by promoting health and wellness, for adults and children alike. There's a personal angle to this, by virtue of her family history — her family has a history of heart disease.

If I can shine a light on anything as first lady in Ohio, health would be what I'd focus on. I'm fine, but I do worry that someday [heart disease] could be something I have to deal with — and while I can't control heredity, there are things I can control. I've seen the effect of wellness on people's lives, so I'm pretty passionate about it.

The families of presidential candidates tend to get a decent amount of screen time if things are going well — I still remember the Obama kids' adorable appearance at the 2008 DNC, for example, after their dad accepted the Democratic nomination. If John somehow manages to find a foothold among GOP voters, you could be hearing and seeing more from Karen very soon.

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