Former U.S. Senator, Ohio Governor, and Cleveland Mayor George Voinovich Dies
George Voinovich was born in Cleveland on July 15, 1936 and attended Collinwood High School. He passed away Sunday just a few weeks shy of his 80th birthday. Voinovich’s long political career started in state government. His first official position was as an Assistant Attorney General in 1963. From there he bounced between Ohio legislative posts and local government offices. Voinovich served as an Ohio State Representative (1967-1971), the Cuyahoga County Auditor (1971-1976), before he was elected a Cuyahoga County Commissioner in 1977. The rising Republican star only stayed in that office until 1978 when he was tapped as Lieutenant Governor of Ohio in 1979. Voinovich was elected to two terms as Mayor of Cleveland starting in 1980. His time as Mayor saw Voinovich preside over a complex decade that wrestled with balancing the city’s finances and igniting the fires that would bring back Cleveland decades later. Success in Cleveland raised Voinovich’s profile statewide and nationally, and propelled a successful run for Governor in 1990. Voinovich’s moderate political stance, combined with techniques used to balance Cleveland’s finances, enabled him to reduce Ohio’s budget. The Cleveland native also campaigned for the City’s recognition as the birth place of Rock and Roll.
Voinovich was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1999, replacing astronaut turned Senator John Glenn, and served until 2011. Governor John Kasich released the following statement on the passing of Senator Voinovich: “He was a unifier who thought outside the box, never gave up and worked hard for the ideas he believed in up until the very end of his life. Thanks to that leadership he saved Cleveland, governed Ohio compassionately and responsibly and was a candid voice for reason in the U.S. Senate. I am proud to have known him and grateful for what he did for our state and nation.”