Ted Strickland didn’t come to public service as a lawyer or an investor, but as the son of a steelworker. He was born on August 4, 1941 in Lucasville, Ohio, one of nine children. Like many children of Southeast Ohio, as a young man he never imagined he’d be able to go to college until a high school teacher took him on a trip to visit a small college in Kentucky. It was a visit that changed his life. Although he was the only child in his family to go to college he earned two masters degrees and a PhD. He received a Master of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary and a PhD. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Kentucky in 1980.
Professionally, Strickland has served as an ordained United Methodist minister, a psychologist, and a college professor. He was an administrator at a Methodist children’s home, an assistant professor of psychology at Shawnee State University, and a consulting psychologist at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility, a maximum security institution.
Strickland is married to Frances Smith Strickland. Frances is an educational psychologist and the author of a widely-used screening test for kindergarten-age children.
Elected to Congress in 1992, Strickland has represented twenty Ohio counties stretching from the Cincinnati suburbs to the suburbs of Youngstown. He narrowly lost reelection in 1994, only to be successfully re-elected in 1996 and to each subsequent congress before he ran successfully for governor in 2006.
During his six terms in Congress, Strickland built an impressive record on behalf of the people of Ohio. He was instrumental in expanding access to health insurance for children, ensuring that America kept its promises to our veterans, and in bringing home millions in investments for roads, technology, and economic development and health initiatives. He helped author the Children’s Health Insurance Program, a federal initiative that provides health insurance to millions of children nationwide.
Strickland was elected Ohio’s 68th governor and was sworn into office on January 8, 2007. As governor, he charted a steady course guided by his belief that there is nothing wrong with Ohio that can’t be fixed by what’s right with Ohio.
Strickland took office as the nation teetered on the brink of economic collapse. He worked to tackle this crisis with a plan to ensure Ohio emerged from the recession even stronger than it was before by laying a foundation for economic progress and a thriving middle class. He made strategic investments in job creation, improved Ohio’s business climate, reformed education, and he made government live within its means.
Brought together by a sense of common purpose, legislators from both parties worked closely with the governor to strengthen Ohio. He passed two balanced budgets, without raising taxes. His first budget – the slowest growth budget in 42 years – passed both the majority Republican Ohio House and Senate with only one dissenting vote.
Strickland passed legislation that gives the state the resources and authority to provide health care coverage to all Ohio children. He reduced property taxes for those on fixed incomes. He implemented the largest tax cut in Ohio history. He reduced the state workforce to its smallest size since Ronald Reagan was president. And in response to rapidly increasing tuition rates at Ohio’s public colleges and universities, he froze tuition for two years to help make college more affordable for the state’s residents.
In July 2009, Strickland signed a historic education reform bill to make Ohio’s funding system constitutional, and reform the way schools teach in order to prepare Ohio young people for the new kinds of jobs our economy is creating. His education reform plan was recognized by the Education Commission of the States with their innovation award for, “bold, courageous, and nonpartisan new policies.” And, during his four years as governor, Ohio leaped over 22 other states to claim a spot among the top five school systems in the country according to Education Week.
Strickland led the development of a strong and growing new energy economy in Ohio. He introduced and signed legislation that mandates that 25 percent of all electricity sold in Ohio must come from advanced energy sources by 2025 – which will make Ohio the 3rd largest producer of renewable energy in the nation. He signed a 1.57 billion dollar state stimulus package aimed at creating tens of thousands of new jobs in growth sectors like advanced energy. And he secured funding to accelerate the construction of 250 new elementary, middle and high schools in the state, all of which are being built to meet nationally recognized energy-efficiency standards.