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Former Ohio Gov. John Gilligan Dies at 92

John J. Gilligan was born in Cincinnati in 1921. He served in the Navy in World War II, earned his masters and started teaching and ran for Cincinnati City Council in 1953. From there he launched to Congress, and in 1970 won the governor’s office as a liberal Democrat.

It was his administration that passed the state income tax, for which he was vilified in 1974 by Republican James Rhodes. Rhodes ended up winning that race by 11,000 votes.

Republican U.S. House Speaker John Boehner of Cincinnati called Gilligan a committed public servant, and Democratic U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown says Gilligan fundamentally changed Ohio for the better.

Gilligan and his wife had four children -- among them Kathleen Sebelius, the former Kansas governor who is now President Obama’s Health and Human Services Secretary.

John Gilligan was 92.

Nick Castele was a senior reporter covering politics and government for Ideastream Public Media. He worked as a reporter for Ideastream from 2012-2022.