Governor Kasich was joined on stage by his wife and two daughters after announcing his campaign

Governor Kasich was joined on stage by his wife and two daughters after announcing his campaign

The second-term governor known for his blunt and pragmatic style launched his campaign with a speech in front of 2,000 people at Ohio State University.

Mr Kasich joins 15 other prominent Republicans that compose an unusually crowded and diverse field of hopefuls.

The 63-year-old told the rally in Columbus his work at state and national level was his main qualification.

?I have the experience and the testing, the testing which shapes you and prepares you for the most important job in the world,? he said.

?And I believe I know how to work and help restore this great United States. And I have to tell you, it?s a daunting challenge.?

In particular he called attention to the work he had done to balance Ohio?s $8bn (?5.1bn) state budget deficit and his time in the US House of Representatives where he worked to balance the federal budget.

He also gave nod to his more progressive viewpoints and willingness to buck his party?s trends.

The governor called brief attention to the economic struggles and racial violence that many African Americans confront in US society.

?Think about the troubles that many of our African Americans still face today in a world where we have worked to provide equal rights and opportunities,? he implored the audience. ?Sometimes they are not so sure, and I don?t blame them?.

His speech was light on immigration and foreign policy, although he mentioned the so-called Islamic State, the recent shootings in Chattanooga and other threats.

?As serious as these are ? and they are very serious ? we have had a lot worse, much worse in this country,? he said. ?We?ve always got through it, because the testing is what makes you stronger.?

The governor has a reputation for being blunt without being combative.

During unofficial campaign events over the past few months, he has signalled his unwillingness to engage in the mudslinging that has become standard in presidential campaigns.

While in New Hampshire, he refused when asked to give three reasons that Hillary Clinton, the leading Democratic candidate, would make a bad president.

But in Ohio, labour unions accused Mr Kasich of diminishing the pay and benefits that workers in his state receive.

Critics have also said that his policies have hurt local government and schools within Ohio.

Mr Kasich enters the race where he will compete with an unusually crowded and diverse Republican field that includes two Hispanics, an African American, one woman, and a handful of younger candidates.

There are so many Republicans competing for their party?s nomination during this election cycle that it is not known whether Mr Kasich will be allowed to participate in the party?s first debate ? which is set to be held in Ohio next month.

BBC

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