For six terms, Democrat Ted Strickland represented Ohio's 6th Congressional District, an area that stretches from Appalachia to Northeastern Ohio. In November, he will face Secretary of State Ken Blackwell in what is expected to be one of the most contested gubernatorial races in the country.
says as governor he will focus on boosting Ohio's economy by creating
jobs and strengthening the state's education system and improving
health care. In his May announcement to run for governor, Strickland
said he will enter the race "ready to pour his heart and soul
into fighting for the dignity of families and all people of Ohio."
In July, Strickland began running ads on religious radio stations promoting his background as a Methodist minister. His campaign to "Turnaround Ohio" pledges to focus on better education and health care systems and to create and keep more jobs in the state. Officials estimate 175,000 manufacturing workers in Ohio have lost their jobs in the last decade.
He supports an Ohio ballot initiative to raise the minimum wage from $5.15 to $6.85, an issue Democrats hope will energize their base to vote.
Blackwell, who is black, has said Strickland lacks a political experience and does not understand the needs of Ohio's minority voters and predicts that he will win the black vote.
In an interview with National Public Radio, Strickland said, "Over the last 12 years I have represented an Appalachian district in Ohio that has very, very few minority constituents in it but the problems that are faced by poor Appalachians in Ohio and by poor members of the minority community are quite similar."
Strickland has won numerous National Rifle Association endorsements and has consistently supported gun ownership, making him a popular representative in his home district. "I have always believed that law-abiding citizens have a right to the freedoms outlined in the Second Amendment," Strickland said in a campaign statement.
In January, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio endorsed Strickland for his belief that abortion should be safe, legal and rare. "I would veto any legislation to further restrict access to reproductive health care including abortion," Strickland said.
Strickland's political career began in 1992 with his first term as the 6th District representative after unsuccessful bids for the seat in 1976, 1978 and 1980. He lost the 1994 election after pushing for tax increases to fund health care programs but narrowly regained the seat in 1996. Despite redistricting in 2001 that led to a change in the makeup of the 6th District, Strickland held his seat in 2002. He ran unopposed in 2004. In total, Strickland has represented 20 of Ohio's 88 counties.
In the U.S. Congress, Strickland was part of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and House Committee on Veteran's Affairs where he served as the ranking Democrat on its Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. He calls himself a champion of ensuring that America's troops are provided armor and equipment. He also is part of the Congressional Steel Caucus.
As a U.S. representative, Strickland voted against drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, making President Bush's tax cuts permanent and a bill providing $87 billion to fund the war in Iraq. He voted against the authorization of force in Iraq.
Strickland was born Aug. 4, 1941 in Lucasville, Ohio, home of a state prison. He was one of a steelworker's nine children. In 1963 he graduated with a B.A. from Asbury College and Theological Seminary in Kentucky and went on to receive a Master of Divinity from Asbury.
In 1980, he received a doctorate in counseling psychology. He was an administrator at a Methodist children's home, an assistant professor of psychology at Shawnee State University and a counseling psychologist at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility.
In the 2004 election, Strickland ran unopposed.
As his running mate for lieutenant governor, Strickland chose Lee Fisher, who ran for governor of Ohio in 1998 but lost to Republican Bob Taft. During his political career, Fisher served as Ohio's attorney general and as both a state senator and representative.
He is married to Frances Strickland, an educational psychologist who authored a widely used screening test for kindergarteners and wrote the book "The Little Girl Who Grew Up to Be Governor."
Campaign Web site: www.tedstrickland.com
House Web site: www.house.gov/strickland