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Karen Kasich reflects on eight years as Ohio's first lady

Posted at 8:38 PM, Jan 11, 2019

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Karen Kasich reflects on her eight years as first lady of Ohio with pride and looks ahead with political uncertainty.

With just days left to serve in her role, she is satisfied with the legacy she and her husband are leaving.

“I'd like to think we tried to include everyone and that we weren't too political,” Karen Kasich said in her final scheduled TV interview at the governor’s residence. “I'd like to think we made opportunities for all Ohioans and not just those of the Republican Party.”

The Kasichs did not live in the governor’s residence - they stayed in their own house to keep things as normal as possible for their growing girls.

“They turned out pretty normal kids. I think that personally I'm proud of that,” she said. “Eight years have gone so fast ... it's hard to believe my children were 9 and now they're freshmen in college.”

Photos in the governor’s residence highlight her contributions to the state. They show the first lady reading to kids, empowering women, and tackling the infant mortality rate -- something so important to Cincinnati.

“What I hope I achieved is helping to build awareness this is a problem and what we can do to solve it,” she said about the infant death rate. “One of the things we're working on, for example, is Safe Sleep.”

Other photos carry memories of happy times as first lady.

“Hand's down, number one, throwing out the first pitch at Great American Ball Park and having Johnny Bench there to catch for me,” she said.

“I took lessons,” she said about practicing for her big baseball moment.

She also shared fun pics with the governor.

“That's me beating my husband on the giant slide at the State Fair ... he's way back there,” she pointed out.

A picture from John Kasich's 2016 run for the White House run prompted us to ask:

“Do you see a 2020 run anywhere in the equation perhaps?”

Her husband has declared that he is considering it.

“Oh goodness, who knows?" Karen Kasich said. "People like to ask me that question all the time. I'll tell you, I was surprised when he ran for governor, so he could surprise me again.”

She said service to Ohio will always be part of their lives, but, for now, she hopes to travel a little more.

Mike DeWine will be sworn in as Ohio governor at 12:01 a.m. Monday.