Ohio Gov. John Kasich to deliver keynote speech at Newhouse-sponsored Toner Prize Celebration

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Syracuse University announced on Monday that Former Republican presidential candidate and Ohio Gov. John Kasich will be delivering a keynote speech at the Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting award ceremony in March.

Former Republican presidential candidate and Ohio Gov. John Kasich will be delivering the keynote speech at the Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting award ceremony in March, Syracuse University announced Monday.

Kasich will be speaking at the annual award ceremony organized by SU’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications in Washington, D.C., on March 27, according to a release from the Newhouse School. The award was established in 2009 to commemorate late Robin Toner, a Newhouse alumna and The New York Times political reporter who died from complications of colon cancer in 2008 at the age of 54. Toner was the first woman to be chief national political correspondent for The New York Times.

Former president Barack Obama spoke at the keynote address last year, in which he echoed the importance of journalists in holding politicians accountable and informing the public. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Vice President Joe Biden, who is an alumnus of the SU College of Law, were also past presenters of the keynote speech.

“We are honored to host Governor Kasich as the Toner speaker this year,” said Lorraine Branham, the dean of the Newhouse School, in a release. “As a former presidential candidate who has been outspoken about the role of the media, he brings an important voice to an event that highlights high-quality political journalism.”

The announcement of Kasich delivering the speech comes at a time when United States President Donald Trump, whom Kasich competed against in a fierce Republican primary race during 2016 presidential election, is in a contentious relationship with the press.

Trump tweeted last week the press is “the enemy of the American people.” He has also frequently referred to prominent media outlets such as The New York Times, NBC and CNN as “fake news.”

Kasich said during an interview with CNN’s “State of the Union” political show on Sunday that freedom of the press is “such an important part of democracy,” even though he said he doesn’t always agree with media’s reporting.

“They are vital,” he added.

Kasich, who has been the governor of Ohio since 2011, has distanced himself from Trump. An outspoken critic of Trump, he revealed in November that he voted for 2008 Republican presidential nominee and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) instead of Trump, according to CNN.

He also criticized Trump’s controversial executive order banning immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries and suspending refugees from entering the countries, according to The Washington Post. The order was later revoked by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Kasich’s bid to become the 45th president of the United States faltered in the 2016 Republican primaries. During his campaign, he won just one state — his home state of Ohio. Still, he stayed in the race until May 2016 and was the last major challenger to Trump to drop out of the race.

Toner, who graduated from SU in 1976, worked for publications such as the Charleston Daily Mail, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The New York Times. During her 25-year career as correspondent, she covered five presidential campaigns.

The Newhouse School awards the annual Toner Prize to political reporters who exhibit journalistic quality and standards on par with Toner. The prize includes a $5,000 cash reward. Alec MacGillis, a political and government reporter for the nonprofit newsroom ProPublica, won the award last year.

This year’s celebration will take place at 6 p.m. on March 27 at the Center for Strategic and International Studies building in downtown Washington, D.C.


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