NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. -- Westchester residents had a front row seat to the race for The White House Saturday as Republican presidential candidate and Ohio Gov. John Kasich held a town hall at Iona College.
More than 1,200 people came to the Hynes Center at Iona to hear Kasich, discuss the key issues facing the country ahead of the April 19 New York primary. The governor trails frontrunner Donald Trump in New York by a wide margin, according to recent polls.
Kasich began by telling the audience about his life story. The child of immigrants, he grew up in Pennsylvania where his dad worked as a mailman.
At the age of 18, Kasich wrote a letter to President Richard Nixon and he was invited to meet him in the Oval Office. He was told he'd have five minutes with the president.
"I didn't come all the way down to Washington to just have five minutes," Kasich said. "We ended up meeting for 20 minutes."
Kasich joked that even after 18 years in Congress, his meeting with Nixon was still the longest he's had with a president. After telling his biography, Kasich took questions from the audience.
The first question was from a man with autism who asked him how he would help autistic people and their families. Kasich gave the man a hug and discussed legislation he had passed to help people with disabilities.
"People with disabilities have lived in the shadows," Kasich said. "It's not right. They should be mainstreamed and get the best education."
Kasich said he wants to move welfare, education and infrastructure costs from the federal government to the states. He talked up his record of working to balance the budget when he was Chairman of the Budget Committee. Kasich had a ticker of the rising national debt at the rally.
Destroying ISIS would be a top priority, Kasich said.
"Can you even believe this?" Kasich said. "They have hijacked Islam. We have to win the battle of ideas.
Having spent the week in New York, Kasich had nothing but praise for New York.
"New York values means great people and great food," Kasich said.
Kasich met with voters in Fairfield County on Friday. For more on that appearance, click here.
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