John Kasich's Brother Reveals Why They Did Not Speak For 19 Years
Mental illness is a subject that Ohio Gov. John Kasich frequently mentions on the GOP presidential campaign trail.
He knows it well. Out of the limelight is his brother, Richard, who has struggled for decades with bipolar disorder, and to whom John did not speak for 19 years.
The two have reconciled, but they are not close, says Richard. "He doesn't have much to do with me, and I don't have much to say about him," he told The New York Times in his first extended interview with a reporter.
Richard, 59, lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and receives disability benefits. He has worked as a dishwasher at Wendy's and as a truck loader for the U.S. Postal Service.
The rift occurred in 1987 when their parents were killed by a drunken driver. Their will put John in charge of the sons' share of their estate, possibly because they were concerned about Richard's mental status.
Richard challenged the will and gained his share, part of which he used to buy a house. John, he says, stopped speaking to him after he sued over the inheritance. John Kasich declined to be interviewed by The Times about his brother, the paper said.
"We love Rick deeply and have shared the struggles that his disease brings with it," the Kasich campaign said in a statement. "As families with a loved one living with mental illness know, you take it one day at a time and some days are better than others.
"In the process, we have all become sensitive to and supportive of the needs of hose living with this disease. Among the ways we support him is by working hard to protect his privacy, and we hope others respect that also."
Richard had a breakdown in 1975, he said, while attending Penn State. He had planned to become an attorney, but after that incident "I knew I was not going to be a lawyer anymore."
He became a born-again Christian, which he credits with helping him to feel stabilized. He currently takes Abilify, an antipsychotic drug used to treat a variety of disorders including schizophrenia and Tourette syndrome.
"I got saved," he said. "It seemed to help."