Governor Strickland was a panelist for the Forum’s discussion on The Opioid Crisis.
Ted Strickland is running for the U.S. Senate to fight for Ohio’s working people because that’s where he comes from and that’s who he cares about. He is a former minister, prison psychologist, congressman and governor. But the most important thing to know about Ted is that he has lived the American Dream – struggles faced and overcome, perseverance in the face of adversity, and a deep commitment to helping people achieve their full potential.
The eighth of nine children, Ted was raised in rural Scioto County by his mother and steelworker father. His brothers quit school and went to work because money was always tight. But to really understand the values that guide Ted today, it helps to know the story of his family home.
Before Ted was born, his family lost their first house in Portsmouth to a flood. They moved to the country, where they lost their second house to the bank. And when Ted was about five, he woke up in the middle of the night to find his house engulfed in flames. Ted’s father returned after midnight from the steel mill to find his third home burned to the ground, his family standing outside, without a penny of insurance. The Strickland family had to start all over again, but they didn’t give up. Board by board, they converted their barn into a house. And Ted’s niece – a concrete finisher – lives in that home on Duck Run today.
It’s this understanding of struggle that drives Ted’s commitment to Ohio’s working people to this day.
With the help of his neighbors, friends and teachers, Ted became the only one in his family to go to college, earning degrees from Asbury College, a Masters of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary, and advanced degrees in psychology from the University of Kentucky, where he met his wife Frances.
He used his training as a psychologist to help individuals that society had cast aside: counseling inmates at a maximum-security prison and serving as the administrator of a Methodist children’s home.
In public service, Ted has put his values into action. As a congressman, he and his wife turned down subsidized healthcare because it wasn’t available to their constituents. Ted played an instrumental role in the passage of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, expanding access to healthcare for millions of children nationwide. He fought tirelessly for veterans, the Appalachian region and working families.
As governor, Ted championed the interests of Ohio’s working people at every turn. The Akron Beacon Journal wrote that Ted “moved the state ahead as governor,” the Dayton Daily News said Ted was “unabashed in his support of education,” and the Youngstown Vindicator proclaimed “Strickland has served the region and the state well.”
His priorities as governor were guided by the lessons he learned throughout his life. His accomplishments include creating one of the nation’s leading advanced energy laws which helped Ohioans save more than $1 billion on energy bills while reinvigorating Ohio’s economy through the creation of new clean energy jobs. Ted also helped more Ohioans get the kind of education that changed his own life: kicking open the doors to Ohio’s universities by freezing tuition, holding the cost of higher education down and offering free tuition to veterans. Ted’s historic reforms to the state’s K-12 education system made Ohio’s public schools amongst the best in the country. And by making government do more with less, Ted cut taxes for every Ohioan. When the global recession hit, Ted took aggressive action to fight back – and by the time he left office Ohio was the 5th fastest growing economy in the entire country.
Ted previously ran the Center for American Progress Action Fund where he spoke out on behalf of policies to strengthen America’s working families. He has been married to Frances Strickland for 28 years.