Andy Taggart’s commitment to chair Ohio Governor John Kasich’s presidential campaign in Mississippi should surprise no one. It’s a match made in … well, you’ll see.
Kasich has been described as a “brash, bare-knuckled” leader. Taggart served as chief-of-staff for Mississippi’s beloved brash, bare-knuckled governor, Kirk Fordice.
Kasich has strong credentials as an effective conservative leader (meaning he’s not only conservative but gets things done). He served nine terms in Congress (1983 to 2001), including 18 years on the House Armed Services Committee where he was known as a national security hawk and ally of President Ronald Reagan. He also served six years as chairman of the House Budget Committee where he proved himself as a fiscal hawk, providing key leadership in passing welfare reform and balancing the national budget.
As Ohio’s governor, the small government champion turned an $8 billion shortfall into a $2 billion surplus, cut taxes $5 billion and made Ohio one of the top job-creating states in the nation.
Taggart is also an effective conservative leader. Before helping Fordice drive his conservative agenda as governor, Taggart worked in Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign. He has also served as Executive Director of the Mississippi GOP, Madison County supervisor, and advocate for numerous conservative candidates and causes. Most recently he co-chaired the Task Force on Contracting Procurement in the Mississippi Department of Corrections for Governor Phil Bryant. Taggart has championed business development as past chairman of the Greater Jackson Chamber Partnership and president and CEO of the Mississippi Technology Alliance.
But, here’s the real tie.
John Kasich is an unapologetic Christian. He unabashedly weaves his faith into his politics. He has written two books about his faith. In one he says, “I drifted away from religion as a young adult. Then I looked up one day, and there was a huge hole in my life where God and religion had been.” He turned back to faith, he said after tragedy struck his family. His parents were killed by a drunken driver.
Taggart is also an unapologetic Christian who fuses his faith into his political and professional activities. Federal Judge Leslie Southwick called him “one of the most faith-filled men I know.” Still, Taggart found his faith strengthened after the tragic death of his son. He and his wife Karen embraced a mission to speak of their tragedy and the need for strong faith to resist. “Satan picked our son,” Taggart told a group at Mississippi College. “His faith was not mature enough.”
In his endorsement of Kasich, Taggart said, Thirty five years ago, I quit my job to try to help elect a new president because I believed the nation needed Ronald Reagan’s leadership. Well, I’m not quitting my job, but I am going to work as hard as I did in those days to help John Kasich win in 2016, because I believe the nation needs his leadership just as badly.”
Leadership tied to faith is what he means.